Q: I'm having such a love-hate relationship with mirrors right now. They can be distracting, as well as cause emotional distress for my students. At the same time, they're a really useful tool. I know some teachers remove theirs altogether. Is this something you recommend?
Q: How do you approach conflict between students in your class? I don't accept bullying of any kind, but I also don't want to draw unnecessary attention to something and detract from the rest of class.
Q: I need advice on proper classroom management for dancers in K–12—I can't get them to focus.
A: Classroom management in a K–12 setting is no different than in a studio. No matter where you teach, I recommend using a positive-reinforcement approach first. As a general rule, what you pay attention to is what you get. When a student acts out, it's generally done in order to gain attention. Rather than giving attention to them for inappropriate behavior, call out other students who are exhibiting the positive behaviors you desire. Name the good actions, and all of your students will quickly learn what it takes to be noticed.
Q: Do you approach your K–12 classes differently than when you teach at a studio?
A: When shifting from teaching at a private studio to a public or private school, people need to rethink what the function of their class is. In a studio, the goal is most likely to teach technique, but that is not necessarily the case in K–12. Here, much of the students' days are filled with critical thinking, and my classes offer a chance for creative exploration.