Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Struggle to Teach

I teach an occasional tango class.

This has been true for a couple of years, as friends have needed someone to fill in, or wanted help with a particular topic. However, I recently started hosting my own monthly milonga in Bellingham (with a lovely partner!), including a pre-dance lesson.

It turns out (this is not actually a surprise, I have experience teaching other things as well) that teaching i hard to get just right. Aside from all the difficulties of communicating ideas clearly, evaluating student needs and progress, and planning appropriate or helpful lessons, I find myself with an additional, specific problem:

How does one deal with a drop-in, one-off class?

The drop-in nature is tricky, because the people who show up have a wide variety of experience and skill; the one-off nature is difficult because I can't really 'build' on what has happened previously; one hour, and that's all!

I think for myself, I have answered this question by focusing on basic technique, embrace, and listening to the music.

How does anyone else manage that sort of circumstance?

1 comment:

  1. Well, it's a good question. Not having taught tango, I can only comment as a person sometimes going to "one off" lessons. The times when I feel I have gained something from the class has been when the teacher is really observant, from both embrace and from watching from the outside. The best teachers in these. circumstances are the realists. A teacher who is open to the students personality, and can help them to sort out the difference between their own physical problems in the dance, (which need to be fixed) and the problems that they will have to live with. Observation and being in the moment with the student seems the best way to deal with a one time lesson (and to make it likely to be something that the student will want to repeat.)