Instructors - your HONEST opinion - how can they improve?

Discussion in 'Just Dance' started by Claire_Brummell, Jul 14, 2005.

  1. Hi Everyone,

    Another thread has prompted me to post this – being a salsa instructor myself, I’m always interested in people’s opinions of them in general. I’m always looking to improve my lessons and the experience that I’m giving my students and I always ask them for feedback and to come to me if they have any problems. BUT having been in this position myself I know that this is not always possible – and that some people are too shy / embarrassed / don’t want to cause offence so are reluctant to comment. So this is where you come in.

    I hope you don’t mind but I’d like to use you guys to get opinions, in general, on instructors – what do you like, what don’t you like, what do you wish they would do, what do you wish they wouldn’t do, what do you want to get out of a class / club, what are your reasons for taking salsa lessons – and how can the instructor help you to achieve these reasons, how could an instructor make the experience better for you, etc etc.

    We’ve all been there – I know for a fact that there are salsa instructors who I’ve absolutely loved – and others who I can’t stand for various reasons – personality, teaching style, ego etc. At the time I probably wouldn’t have said anything – but hopefully since I’m putting this in a general context rather than asking you to comment on specific teachers I’m hoping that this will make it easier for you to comment. I would like you to be as complete and honest in your responses as possible (I don’t think any of my students are on here, but if you are feel free to be as honest as you like!!)

    I hope that at least the fact that I care about the experience being a good one for my students and that they actually take something away from the classes, in terms of having a fun time (after all salsa over and above anything else is supposed to be enjoyable!) as well as being able to remember and re-create the moves when they head out on the dance floor, sets me apart from someone who is motivated solely by money or personal prestige, but I also know that you never stop learning – and that the only thing that will really make me a good instructor is to never stop seeking to improve myself for my students.

    Any advice / opinions / suggestions that you guys can offer me here would be greatly appreciated, by myself and I’m sure by extension my students in time!!


    Claire xx
  2. salseralon

    salseralon Sonero

    Hey Claire,

    My old instuctor didn't often ask us to pay for the classes because he taught for the love of salsa. This however meant he was so passionate about it he was very strict with the way he taught and if he sed spin you better hope you did it right, or he'd get visibly frustrated. At first ppl would get very offended, but when we all became friends it turned in to a bit of a ongoing joke between everyone. However it was very damaging for some beginners who didnt realise the kind of person he was(needless 2 say they didnt come back again).

    I like to able to tlk openly with my instrustor and ask them if i feel more comfortable doing this, is that ok etc... and get some feedback so i think as long as your open and approachable and maybe allow others to have input to the routine or let them tell u how they enjoy doing a certain move ppl will enjoy your lessons.
    I know u know Bar Salsa! and theres a woman i saw teaching there not so long ago, who was extremely unapproachable and got annoyed when ppl did not understand the moves, and i felt very sorry 4 those ppl.

    The fact your on here and obviously aware of the opposite perspective of yourself probably shows your ticking many of the right boxes. Im in london too remember so if your ever low on numbers or need some extra girls let me know, id love to come and see you teach and help out if i can :)
  3. Thanks for this feedback - it's much appreciated - and rest assured I'll take you up on the offer for help!! I actually teach in Milton Keynes, so it's quite a hike from London - but if you're happy to travel (I drive up, so am happy to give lifts!) then I will let you know if we're short on girls (at the moment we have the usual more opposite problem of having too many girls not enough leads....ever thought of leading ;) :lol: )
  4. salseralon

    salseralon Sonero

    yeah im happy to lead, a friend of mine whos a girl always ends up leading during salsa classes for some reason, but the amount of compliments she gets on her leading abilities some say shes better then the guys lol. so im sure she'd be up 4 it too at some point
  5. LOL - great - I'll keep you posted - whereabouts in London are you based?
  6. salseralon

    salseralon Sonero

    Im very central, live just a couple of streets away from russell square.
  7. Cool - I'm in Ealing :)
  8. salseralon

    salseralon Sonero

    cool, i mentioned in another post on here about ealing, i heard the salsa scene was gettin bigger there, is that correct?
  9. It's funny actually - I live here and yet I don't really salsa here, on Mon & Wed I'm teaching in MK, Tues I tend to support a friend of mine's night in Chiswick, Thurs sometimes Bar salsa and then most weekends I'm away salsa-ing...all a bit daft really! :lol:
  10. salseralon

    salseralon Sonero

    I can see why you dont get out around Ealing, your so busy! lol all that driving to places must wear you out, all for the love of salsa eh?? :D
  11. Absolutely - I'm mad - but I don't half enjoy myself!! :D
  12. Hey All,

    Just had to share this with you.

    The last couple of weeks my class has been going from strength to strength - not in terms of ability (though this has been coming on in leaps and bounds :)), but in terms of:

    - Gelling as a group
    - Having fun / laughing in the classes
    - Relaxing
    - Trusting / approaching me with questions, both during and after the class
    - Positive feedback on how much they're enjoying my classes and style of teaching

    I've had several compliments recently which have been great and really have cemented my belief that I'm on my way to giving the students what they want and need from a teacher. However I was really touched last night by something that one of my students said. He's been coming to the classes for a couple of months now but always used to come, do the classes and go home. He had no confidence in his ability (even though he was doing well) and he was not taking the next steps of actually getting out there and dancing - so while he could walk through the steps in class he wasn't actually putting them into practise so he wasn't enjoying the dancing element of learning salsa.

    Anyway a few weeks ago after the class he stayed chatting to someone, so I grabbed the opportunity and got him onto the dancefloor, where he looked like a rabbit caught in headlights. I said "it doesn't matter what you do, even if you only do mambo, coocaracha (sp?!), back basic, and a basic CBL just do what you're comfortable with, and you lead."

    As we danced I encouraged him, and told him when he was doing well and then explained to him that this was what he needed, to get out and practise, that his problem was that he didn't have the confidence in himself, even though he's a very nice dancer and that by getting out there and dancing he would be able to improve that confidence. He laughed it off, but I told him that I was serious and that he'd soon see the difference if he danced more. At the end of the night he came and thanked me for taking the time with him to talk to him.

    Over the last few weeks I've seen him dancing more and I've noticed his dancing improving, but also his personality coming out more and his general confidence growing.

    So last night I was sat chatting to a couple of students when he came up and asked if he could have a word. He told me that he owed me a big thankyou and that he'd really listened to what I'd said to him and that I'd been totally right, that a lack of confidence had been his problem and that now he felt so much happier dancing, that he felt his dancing was improving and that his confidence had improved loads - mainly he's actually started to enjoy dancing and putting into practise what he's learning in the lessons. I told him that that was all down to him, that he was the one who'd made the effort and now he was seeing the benefit of it, I'd just given him a shove in the right direction. He said that he knew that he'd had to make the change in himself, but that it was because I'd taken the time and cared enough to talk to him about it that he'd gone about starting to make that change and for that he was thanking me.

    I said that it wasn't necessary to thank me, that I was just so pleased that he was improving and that he was really starting to enjoy salsa - and that as long as he's getting what he wants to out of my classes, then that's what's important to me, but that I appreciated him taking the time to thank me and that I'm very proud of him for how well he's doing. I gave him a hug and he toddled off home a very happy bunny.

    I can't tell you how good this felt - I was positively beaming. Not because it was an achievement for me (although that felt great too! :wink: ) but that I am doing what I set out to do, which is to encourage and introduce people to the world of salsa that I know, helping them to improve their dancing and confidence, and getting them to enjoy salsa as much as I do.

    I'm so thrilled because this is the reason that I teach, and I can't tell you just how rewarding it is to see it happening before my eyes.

    Just wanted to share this with you all :D
  13. peachexploration

    peachexploration Maestro 'Timbalero' Puente

    That is wonderful Claire! :D I'm not a dance instructor but as a trainer of sorts, I can relate to how you must feel when a student progresses and how greatful they (and you) are for their accomplishments. Truly awesome, Claire! :cheers: :D :banana: :bouncy: :D
  14. Thanks Peach :D i'm still beaming now ;) :lol:
  15. peachexploration

    peachexploration Maestro 'Timbalero' Puente

    Yeah, this is a good quality for the instructor to have I think. Quite a few instructors really don't care as much as you do about your students. My instructor is the same. Last week I saw a mad man come out of him. :lol: The class was full and energy was high. I don't think I've ever seen him that happy or energetic since I started! :lol: He was happier than we were that no matter what he threw at us, we got it. Every time we got a step, he would shout "Yeah!, Yeah! That's great! I like that! etc.... We were like, :shock: "What is wrong with him!?!" BUT we felt great and it was great to see him that way. :D It's amazing how it only takes a few kind words and a little encouragement from the instructor to produce progressive students. :D I'm happy for you, Claire. :)
  16. Thanks Peach - It's funny, last night I was getting them to do shine mirroring as a group and I was a bit nervous about it - as it sounds difficult when you explain it and it can be hard for the followers to get used to it, but not only did they get it, but I had them doing it with no calls whatsoever, simply following the leads within the space of 20 mins - I was so proud of them and got them all to give themselves a big round of applause for doing so well! :D
  17. pr

    pr Capitán Del Estilo

    Thanks for sharing Claire_Brummell! :D :cheers:
  18. peachexploration

    peachexploration Maestro 'Timbalero' Puente

    Re: Instructors - your HONEST opinion - how can they improve

    Just wanted to add one more. Instructors: Please, Please, Please come to class with an idea of what you're going to teach. Nothing worse than an unprepared instructor. It confuses the students when you (the instructor) can't remember your own material. :?
  19. You know what is awesome about good salsa instructors, they are not just teaching how to be good dancers, but how to have a better quality of life. The atmosphere in my very first salsa class was like a family, it seriously broke my heart when my instructor moved. It was great that I learned this dance, but I my self confidence grew in leaps and bounds. My instructor would always encourage me, and make me dance with her at the clubs. It is hard for a lot of guys to start dancing, especially white guys, b/c it doesnt always come natural (i say guys b/c it seems to come a bit more naturally to girls, atleast this is the case in Memphis). Nobody likes to do something they dont feel like they are good at, especially not in front of a bunch of other people. Dont really know what I'm getting at, but it takes alot of encouraging to build the character in a person to be able to learn this dance and that takes an instructor with alot of character.

    I also love brutal honesty, the first private I took with Edie she told me my lead was selfish and I danced mostly for myself. She was still encouraging though, and she asked me to dance at a club a couple nights later. Imagine how that impacted me, this world-renown salsa professional asking me to dance, some guy who had only been dancing like 8 months at the time, and she smiled the entire time :lol:

    My instructor now is awesome, however, I wish he would show his stuff more. When instructors get out there and give it there all it is so inspiring, I think I learn more watching good dancers than taking their classes.
  20. Re: Instructors - your HONEST opinion - how can they improve

    Thanks for this Peach - I ALWAYS know what I'm teaching before I get there - normally I have 2/3 options so I can very depending on class level and how well they 'get it' but I always plan.

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