Say the steps, learn the steps

There are Little Ballerina Dance Recitalsome teachers who have the magic skill of making students understand dance steps with just a moment of explanation. Such is not the case for me. Often, I find myself demonstrating the same step for the millionth time to a sea of blank faces and still feet. This sometimes works with the visual learners. When the music starts, their faces remain blank and their motionless feet are replaced with the randomness of Mexican jumping beans. 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

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


You left us. 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!”