When Lindy Fabyanic opened her school, Dance Conservatory of Charleston, she called on friends and former colleagues to find guest teachers and build her faculty. "I started texting my network to see if they wanted to come teach workshops or master classes," says Fabyanic, former dancer with San Francisco Ballet and New York City Ballet. "It was so heartwarming to get their positive responses and feel their support."
Whether your studio is new or well-established, the easiest and most effective way to find potential candidates is to reach out to people you already know. A strong, trusted faculty will ensure that students receive the best training and experience possible. But it can be challenging to recruit highly qualified teachers if you don't have direct access to a large network of professionals in your area. Even when you find the right people, how do you retain them in a competitive market? Try these creative and expense-free strategies to help build the right team for your school.
See Them in Action
Candidates for your faculty might look great on paper, but could flop in the classroom. A good way to vet new teachers is to invite them in for a trial class. "I look to see if the potential new hire is sensitive to students' needs, based on different levels within the room," says Rodriguez. "It's very important how they are able to adapt, create a healthy atmosphere both physically and emotionally, and be open to trying things different ways."
Shahani tests new instructors when his school needs a substitute. "I see if the students are engaged and study the teacher's body language. You can observe technical things as well, the same way you would assess a student, and see their training and teaching style." If you are interested in a candidate but still on the fence, invite them to teach for a week over the summer. This extended audition will give you more time to evaluate the person and give students the opportunity to have a guest instructor.