Back-to-Dance Meetings Done Right
You may be ready for the new dance season, but are your teachers?
Every year is a fresh chance to build on your strengths and shore up your weaknesses as a studio owner. Back-to-dance meetings are a prime opportunity to tweak policies, update curriculum, raise standards, communicate vision and re-energize your faculty for the long haul ahead.
Get everyone on your team marching to the same beat this year in with a “Three Layer Meeting.” This article will show you how.
“Three Layer Meeting” may sound like a Pinterest post, but in reality, it’s just a simple system I use to organize the volumes of information required to kick off the season into logical pieces for our teachers.
- Layer #1: Administrative
At my studio, Misty’s Dance Unlimited, we have a staff of 27 employees who serve 750 students that take over 3,000 class units per week. As you can probably guess, a lot of details go into pulling off that kind of schedule and I rely heavily on a well-informed and well-trained team to keep things running smoothly.
When we meet for our first round of back-to-dance meetings I begin by tackling the nuts and bolts of what being a rockstar employee looks at Misty’s Dance Unlimited. We cover policies and procedures during this time—paying special attention to the areas of dress code, attendance, timeliness, classroom safety, choreography standards, music choices and social media etiquette—areas that are very important to me as a studio owner.
- Layer #2: Classroom
We use the classroom portion to provide training in our curriculum and classroom management style. Every genre of dance offered at our studio has its own meeting time where teachers can learn from the most experienced teacher in that discipline. Peer teaching is a very powerful tool and a welcome break from listening to me!
We kick off the classroom portion of our meetings with a training session for our Children’s Curriculum. And, let me tell you, if you never seen a group of adults bouncing around the room on imaginary pogo sticks, you’ve missed out on something pretty special! But, for all the fun, there is a purpose behind every activity. Teachers are not only learning how to deliver content in a way that encourages creativity, they are also learning creative strategies to keep energetic little ones on task.
As we move into the curriculum for our older classes, the trainings begin to look more like a class. In the ballet training, for example, time is spent reviewing placement, the type of preparation we want to use for turns and the requirements for dancing en pointe.
- Layer #3: Vision-Casting
The vision-casting component of our tri-part meeting series is my favorite. You see, you can have all of the best policies and classroom practices, but if your employees don’t understand your vision for the studio, it’s likely to fall apart at some point.
An ancient proverb says, “Without vision, the people perish.” Now, I’m not suggesting that your people are going to keel over if you don’t communicate your vision, but I do know that if your teachers don’t understand what they are working towards or why are you doing things the way you are doing them, it can lead to slow death of a team or even a studio. Many a studio split could’ve been avoided by better communicating the vision of the studio and helping people understand how they fit into that vision.
We wrap up our back-to-dance meetings by asking teachers to share WHY they teach. This not only gives them a chance to remember what made them fall in love with teaching dance in the first place, but it allows me a chance to get a better idea of what motivates them and what’s important to them. My vision for my studio would be incomplete if I didn’t understand what was important to my employees.
For more information on creating meetings that engage and motivate employees, contact Misty Lown at www.morethanjustgreatdancing.com.
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The “Expert Advice from Misty Lown” series is brought to you by More Than Just Great Dancing™ and TutuTix.