It’s Halftime: Mid-Season Dance Teacher Reviews
It’s halftime! No, I’m not talking about football (and I call the Packers’ mid-game break “intermission” anyway). I’m talking about halftime of the DANCE SEASON—the midway point for studio owners between the first days of class and the finish line of recital.
By now you are far enough into classes to be past the busyness of the season opener and into a routine of the season. Your time is likely stretched carefully between the behind the scenes work that keeps the business going during the day and the actual work of serving your clients in the evenings. Running a dance studio is a delicate balancing act of time management, often with no margin for error.
Time may be at a premium, but don’t let that be an excuse to overlook one of the most critical pieces of your business: meaningful communication with your teachers. As a studio owner, this is an ongoing challenge for me. I have five kids under the age of 14 and I am no longer in the classroom on a regular basis. I work on the studio every day, but because I’m not always at the studio when the teachers are, it’s really important to establish routines to keep communication flowing.
There are all sorts of tools that we use at the studio to keep in touch with teachers on a regular basis such as weekly emails, private Facebook groups for staff and quarterly meetings with the whole group.
For as great as all of those things are, nothing replaces the importance of meeting a teacher face to face in the middle of the season to give and receive feedback before recital and competition season kicks in.
If you are ready to step up your communication with your teachers, keep reading for 5 Ideas for Mid-Season Dance Teacher Reviews.
- Have a clear definition of what winning looks like on your teaching team. At my studio every studio knows that we have five firm expectations of teachers:
- Have an organized and well-disciplined classroom.
- Cover the entire curriculum by the end of the year.
- Follow dress code for yourself and students.
- Have a well-rehearsed, age-appropriate dance for recital.
- Continue to learn and grow as a dancer yourself.
These clear expectations become the basis of our Mid-Season Teacher Review.
- Keep it simple. In each of these areas we ask teachers, “Where are you winning? Where are you striking out? What ideas do you have to make it better?”
- Listen before offering advice. Start by asking the teacher these questions before you give any feedback. Only after they have had a chance to give their feedback, do we give our feedback as leaders.
- Ditch the papers. Have a conversation. In my early years of studio ownership, I tried to develop an elaborate scoring system for classroom performance. I hated sitting there grading teachers and I don’t think they liked it much either. I have found it is much more effective to have a clear definition of what it looks like to be a great teacher at our studio and then to have a conversation with teachers about how they are doing upholding those standards. These conversations focus on the positive and on finding solutions for problems. The mark of a good review is when both people leave feeling equipped to better do their jobs.
- Follow up. Does your teacher need support in a particular area to succeed with a difficult class or a challenging situation? Follow up with the coaching, resources or tools your teachers need to succeed.
Our main job as leaders is to equip the people we lead for success. A Mid-Season Review goes a long way towards making that possible!
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The “Expert Advice from Misty Lown” series is brought to you by More Than Just Great Dancing™ and TutuTix.