In the past, I’ve pointed out some annoying habits of tango dancers. Now it’s time for me to pick on teachers a little. And as a teacher myself, I assure you that they make mistakes, too.
I really liked the vast majority of my tango instructors and am grateful for all the knowledge they’ve shared. But even the most dedicated teachers sometimes do stuff that’s unintentionally counterproductive to learning. Here are a few annoying behaviors that should be adjusted, or perhaps dropped altogether:
STARTING THE WORKSHOP WITH A LECTURE
A short introduction is fine, but anything more than that will make us impatient. We’re sure that hearing about all your insights would be interesting (at a bar). But in the context of a workshop, the sooner we start moving around, the better.
TRYING TOO HARD TO BE FUNNY OR ENTERTAINING
Making us laugh and joking around a little is fine. But that should take a back seat to the substance of the lesson.
NOT STARTING/ENDING THE WORKSHOP ON TIME
Running a few minutes late is fine, and one’s sense of punctuality can differ depending on culture and upbringing. I appreciate passionate teachers and understand why they can get carried away with a lesson, but starting/ending workshops on time isn’t just about being organized…it’s about respecting the student’s schedule as well.
COMING UP WITH ACTIVITIES THAT APPEAL ONLY TO OUTGOING PEOPLE
A large number of tango students are shy and introverted. Just because they’re not outwardly jumping with joy doesn’t mean they’re not excited or need extra motivation.
INTRODUCING TOO MUCH MATERIAL
Teachers have all kinds of great ideas, and that’s generally a good thing. But our brains (and bodies) can only handle so much. It’s better to focus in-depth on a few topics, than to cram every minute of the workshop with new stuff.
If you’re thinking of becoming a tango teacher, or just want to be better at aiding fellow beginners during a práctica, hopefully this article was helpful.
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