Joy in the Journey

August 21, 2009

I have noticed lately that my students are getting more selfish.  They used to be such a close-knit team, helping and supporting one another.  It’s been really disheartening to hear the following phrases:

“I feel like you’re giving more attention to so-and-so than me/my daughter”

“They all hate me because I’m doing better in competition than them”

“It’s just not worth the time and effort if we’re not even going to recall”

“Not everyone is committed”

“I just want to focus on my solo dancing”

For a while, I tried to fix every problem for everyone.  I gave extra lessons, worked them so hard in rehearsal, gave criticism and ultimatums.  But it is not the right thing.

1.  I want the kids to get to the end of their dancing career (be it at 15 or 85) feeling like they didn’t waste time, money and emotional investments.   And not because they made it to worlds, but because they felt like dancing and learning changed them for the better.   That the friendships they nurtured will make it further than the failed Oireachtas team, because people matter, not placements.

2.  I’m sick of the selfishness this has created.  Each class is like a battle for my attention, either outright or through guilt trips from parents.  The dancers don’t talk to each other anymore.  They don’t try in team class anymore (“What’s the point if not everyone is giving 100%” they say).  I wish they could support each other again.

I would welcome comments about how I can bring the Joy in the Journey back to these kids, before they get where they thought they wanted to go and look back at what could have been.  Thanks.

One Response to “Joy in the Journey”

  1. US Feis Mom said

    I am sure I need not tell you that the Joy in the Journey comes from the inside…they either love it or they don’t. The best you can do as a teacher is nurture the love of the dance for those who “show up”, both mentally and physically. Perhaps a discussion about regret with your prelim / open championship level dancers will help – the “Regret” speech always did it for me – somehow, the thought of living with regret was too much for me to contemplate!

    Thanks for the postings – gaining a view into the TCRG world is quite insightful!

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