That One Kid: How to Deal

temper tantrum

Every dance teacher, at one time or another, has taught that one kid. Whether it’s a one-time occurrence, or a weekly problem, it never ceases to amaze me how one child can disrupt the flow of an entire dance class. This little disruption can take many forms. Continue reading



ImageYesterday afternoon, I was assisting the director of Academy of Dance, Kim Rowley, with a class of 4-yr-olds. It’s a full moon week, so the girls were especially silly. Kim was instructing the girls to do ballet runs. In doing so, she lowered her voice to a whisper and told the girls that they mustn’t scare the fairies away. I watched, amazed, as the once rowdy group of toddlers ran back and forth in complete silence. Continue reading

1, 2…5!

1, 2, 5!

1, 2, 5!

Children are loud. Often, it’s not that they’re willfully disobeying the direct order to “GO TO YOUR LINE,” it’s just that they can’t hear you over their own chatter. However, almost all children, without fail, know what counting means. When they start to hear “One…Two…” they know that “Three” is coming. What is coming after three? I don’t really know. They don’t really know. But, neither of us really wants to find out. They almost always get to that line before three. Continue reading

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!”