I wonder if anyone has ever thought of the difference between the quickstep and the waltz in dancing, and applied it to their students? The quickstep seems to rise above the music, hardly landing before it moves on to the next place. Yet it is enthusiastic, pulling people along into its vacuum of action like a tornado. It moves and grabs, moves and grabs.
The waltz, conversely, takes its time and allows one to savor the sound, be intentional in the movement, and drift deeper into the meaning of the music. I enjoy both dances, having watched them often enough on Dancing With the Stars, and don't want to choose a favorite. They both possess unique attributes. I work hard to have my appreciation for different kinds of students be applied in the same way. Each has his or her own lovely ways about them.
Additionally, thinking of my conversations with students as I evaluate their work, for some very odd reason, when Dancing With The Stars started a new season this week, I began to hear the judges’ words in a different way. This time, because it was the first performance, I heard them be cautious with their assessment, trying to offer at least a little credence to the dancers’ efforts. The judges wanted to help motivate the dancers to improve, certainly not to give up hope after only the first program! (It’s not economically advisable.) I thought for the most part that they were sensitive, supportive, and motivating—how I’d like to be as a teacher.
I rarely look at the differences in order to judge who might be the better learner, only to see how someone learns better. This is a bit awkwardly put, but I really mean that as everyone is different, each teacher has to use the personal ways students learn, and learn to teach that way. Some students might have more challenges at first than others, in order to meet some criteria, but really, we all don't have to get to the same destination by the same path ever. As I watch the dancing week by week, I see those who may have been struggling mightily at first actually present lovely dances in later performances. As our students are all so different, I wonder about us teachers as we ask them to do the same thing, and excel the same way; and I continue to wonder and question why. And I wonder if it’s economically advisable?