Passing Along Respect

*Today’s blog post written by Lonestar instructor Alexis Parmentier.

Aretha Franklin said it pretty well.

“R-E-S-P-E-C-T”

The second thing that is expected of my students is respect. Having respect for your teacher but also the other peers in your dance class. Walking in as a first time dance student, dance is brand new to you. You could know a few others in the class OR you could feel completely alone. Regardless, you have to build a new relationship with the others you are in the class with and your teacher. You don’t know if the friends you are about to meet are introverts or extroverts. You don’t know what their home life is.

All you should know is that you need to have respect for them.

With that said, respect flows both ways in a classroom. As a teacher, I know that if I am respectful to my dancers, I expect the same from them. fullsizerender-4Respect is the most important quality to have as a teacher. Having respect for other dancers skill level and their experience is also key to being a dancer. One dancer may have more skills than the others, but being respectful and patient is so important. It is a healthy quality to have as a teacher!

As a dancer, you also have to have respect for yourself. Respect to take care of your body in and out of the studio. Respectful to what you are feeding your body before & after dancing. Respecting the advice your dance teacher is giving to you. You are in charge of you and you have to take care of your muscles in and out of the studio.

Respect is one of the core values here at Lonestar, and is another one of the traits we want our dancers to walk away with after taking classes with us. Ready to join us? Click here for a free trial class.

Passing Along Promptness

**This week’s blog post written by Lonestar Instructor Alexis Parmentier.

As a kid I knew that if God wanted me to do something with my life, it would be a blessing I felt he was leading me towards. As an adult, I can full heartedly say that God has blessed me with dancing as a gift and he has lead me to teach dance to the younger generation. The traits that I have learned growing up as a dancer will be traits I carry with me my whole life, and something I will pass down to future generations.

Thinking back to when I was a student, I learned the value of responsibility, promptness, respect, teamwork, and so many other qualities that have made me who I am today. By learning these things, I now know what I’d like to expect from my own students.img_6444

As I grew up, I learned more and more about what each of my teachers appreciated. Whether it be dress code, respect, or promptness, I started to note how I could serve them in little ways when I was going to dance class.

For me, as a teacher, promptness is the first thing I pay attention to when it comes to class. Being on time and ready to dance when the class is starting is so important. I take time every day to lesson plan before coming to the studio to teach my dancers.  In order to knock out stretching, improving on skills, learning new ones, & working on choreography, we have to start right when the start of class comes around. If a dancer comes late to class, it takes away from the other dancers when I have to ensure the late dancer is warm and focused. If I am giving undivided attention to one dancer by warming them up or reviewing what has already been taught, it takes away from the class as a whole.

From walking in the door, to taking attendance & wanting to knock out all of my plans, I have to be punctual, and I expect the same from those I mentor! Just another thing dance is teaching our students each and every week. Interested in joining us? Click here for a free trial.

At the End of the Day

**Today’s Blog Post written by Lonestar Dance Center instructor Kolbey Gonzales.

After the work day is all said and done, most people go home to relax, cook dinner, spend time with loved ones, and empty their mind from experiences that happened throughout the day. When it comes to educators- the end of our day doesn’t exactly fall into that description. At the end of my day, I find myself driving home and immediately thinking about my kids. I sit and ponder to myself, “What could I have done better today?,” “Was he or she okay?,” “Did I give my best?”, “I wonder what they thought about my lesson?” There are so many questions that I ask myself concerning the children that I teach and it never stops.

As an educator you don’t come home and shut your brain off. Believe me, there are so many times I wish I could do that. It’s such a blessing in disguise that I can’t though, because at the end of the day, the kids that walk in and out of my classroom are so important to me. I consistently want to be my best for them. When I come home, I take the time to say hello to my boyfriend and our dog, cook dinner (if he hasn’t already), and jump back into work. I’ll tell him stories that happened during my classes, cut music, look for recital or competition costumes, and figure out what I plan to do the next day. fullsizerender-3It seriously never stops. I honestly get so tickled at myself when I go shopping for makeup and remember that one of my students likes a certain eyeshadow palate that she showed me on her phone, or when I see something bright pink I casually think, “Oh, she would love this!” I know one of my students loves when I wear highlighter on my cheekbones, so I’ll throw some on to see if she notices, and it almost turns into a game.

It’s the small things like this that makes being a teacher so special. Not only are you putting your skill to use by teaching, but at the end of the day your kids end up teaching you just a little bit more- in such an extraordinary way. There are days when I walk out of the studio and think, “Man I nailed that lesson plan today!” But after slowly reconsidering my boastfulness, I think again “was it me, or my students who brought it the extra mile?” I don’t think there are enough words to describe what it’s like being a dance educator, or an educator period. Every day is a different day and like Forrest Gump himself said, “You never know what you’re going to get.” That’s what makes what we do so amazing, and we have so much potential to change a child’s life. Just like our former teachers did for us; ultimately they were the reason we wanted to pick such an honorable career.

Being an educator isn’t about having summers off, school vacation scheduling, or even the perk of a stable job choice. It’s about making a difference not only for the kids that you see daily, but for yourself. Sure, there are days you won’t be thanked,  days you’ll wonder if you’re in the right profession, and days that you feel like giving up. When that happens, think of the child you could possibly be letting down. As teachers, our attitude is a direct reflection of our classroom and all it takes is one negative comment to turn a hard working kid into one who doesn’t care. So at the end of the day, the best thing to do is remember they are JUST kids. They may be going through some things that we will never understand or ever know about. They will forgive you, as long as you forgive them because every day is a new day for opportunity. An opportunity for enlightenment, that “Ah, hah” moment, or when you get to see pure excitement and passion written all over your kiddos faces when they finally understand, or excel at something. At the end of the day, think of those moments and realize that what we are doing now isn’t just some temporary affair. We are establishing values and characteristics of good people that can be exerted for a lifetime. So think, at the end of the day how do you want to be remembered by the kids, who you remember constantly?

Collaborating with your Competitors

Dance studios are an interesting business plan. Not only are your time investors not your monetary investors, but you are trying to apply value to something that has a lot of hidden, intrinsic values that aren’t always seen right away. Another way that it is unique is how we interact with our direct competitors. You see, at the end of the day, we are all extremely passionate about the same thing.

936_7k4a0405I do care very much how my business performs; I need to pay my bills and my employees and pay myself enough to feel valued in my workplace. I do want to attract clients to my studio over another studio so we can continue providing this service. But in the dance community we would all rather a student be dancing somewhere and growing as a person through the art of dance than not dancing at all.

At conventions we studio owners and directors take classes and improve ourselves together. At competitions we cheer each other on. We even collaborate in shows for the greater good. We build bridges across these boundaries in hopes that our dancers learn how to network, make friends and use their art and their passions in an amazing way. Interested in starting your dance journey? Click here for a free trial.