PS...... I never teach side steps to beginners, in matter of fact, I'm not a lover of them as they are more complex rhythmically and technically than they appear to be .
I understand of course that they are different in technique, however I find with forward/back steps beginners are more likely to not even shift weight, whereas with side steps they do it more easily. So they learn the side step more easily than the salsa fwd/back step, and the only issue is usually that their side step are too big (as are the fwd/back steps), which can be fixed with repetition that the step should be small. The side step seems to help people to understand the concept of weight shifting more easily than the fwd/back step, where they often keep the body centered and just lean forward and back without shifting weight (I'm sure we've all seen this on dance floors).