Candy buy me love

ImageI teach a class of just three girls on Friday nights. I have been forced to find a substitute for this class twice already, even though the class only began in January. Bad Miss Nadine.

Unfortunately, things come up and other jobs require my time, but to my dancers, this is irrelevant. I abandoned them. After returning to my dancers from being gone, I walk into the room and they just glare at me. Well, two of them glare at me, and the other one runs to me saying


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Need to know


 “Miss Nadine, yesterday at school we had a tornado drill.”

“Miss Nadine, my tooth is loose.”

“Miss Nadine, I have a rat named Stella.”

“Miss Nadine, my dog died last year.”


In the context of small children, these statements may seem normal, expected even. However, it continues to baffle me that my students insist on bringing these things up in the middle of class. We’ve just started plies. A student raises her hand. I point to her and say “yes, Susie? She proceeds to tell me about her sister’s new shoes. WHY? Why do I need to know this? Of course, being the concerned, interested, involved teacher that I am, I want to know. But, now? Do I need to know this now?

Unfortunately, this puts me in a pickle. When Susie raises her hand, is it not the teacher’s responsibility to satisfy her inquiring mind?  Does Susie not deserve my attention?  But, what if Susie’s mind is not inquiring?

I came up with a solution. When Susie raises her hand, I simply ask her, “is this a question about Dance class miss Susie?”  This way, class time is devoted to dance related conversation and not on the equally important, but unrelated declarations.

But here is the problem. Susie lies. After I ask my carefully crafted question, Susie solemnly nods her head and begins to speak.

“Miss Nadine, I had pizza for lunch!”

Simply Magical

I would like to take a Imagemoment to explain my favorite part of being a dance teacher.

Every year, something magical happens. My students give me stuff.  That’s right, my favorite part is the presents.  Christmas was over a month ago, but I am still enjoying all the wonderful chocolate, candy, cookies and fuzzy teddy bears that were bestowed upon me simply because I’m a dance teacher.

As is usually the case when dealing with 5-year-olds, the presents are not really coming from the students. The gift is coming from their parents as if to say, “Thank you for putting up with my crazy kid.”

Most of the time, these little peace offerings are edible.

Every year I collect a stash of candy and cookies along with the occasional homemade loaf of bread. I’m entirely convinced this is why I come back after Christmas looking more like a loaf of bread than a dance teacher. Now this may not seem like a very magical occurrence, but I assure you it is. Everyone gets presents at Christmas, right? But how many people can say that they get a whole slew of presents from people who expect no present in return? Traditional policy, when it comes to gift giving and receiving, states that if someone gets you a present you should get them one as well. This policy does not apply to dance teachers, or any teachers for that matter. As far as the parents are concerned, teaching their child how to move without looking like a cave-dweller is present enough.  It’s irrelevant to them that you get paid a decent chunk of money to show up every week.

That, my friends, is magical.