So the thing about being a dance teacher in a public school is that many people, myself included, often think that we dance teachers (or wood shop teachers, Home Ec teachers, etc.) are not real teachers.  We often don’t have desks in our unconventional classrooms.  We don’t usually have many worksheets to complete either.  Since September, when I dove back in to the world of school dance again, I’ve caught myself spiraling down the never ending story of, “Is what I’m doing fully meeting or exceeding my potential as an educator?” Essentially, I’ve been wondering if I’m selling myself short of my talents and gifts as an educator by deciding to jump out of the academic classroom and back in to the studio.  Am I wasting my skill set?  Maybe I’m just not smart enough to teach in the academic classroom? Is my decision to teach dance an indication that I’m actually just a totally lazy person?

Let me be real with you here – these wonderings and fears are very legitimate for me.  I struggle with wanting to be the best at everything, including the best version of myself…always.  So it comes to no surprise that these feelings of inadequacy have resurfaced because teaching dance is totally natural and not very hard for me.  I am not struggling to keep up with the workload every single day.  I love my job almost every single moment.  This job is joyful and it’s fun; therefore, I must be doing something wrong, right?  I don’t have stacks of papers to mark every night, and I don’t really bring work home anymore, so I must be slacking off and; therefore, not really earning this joy, right?  These days this is what I think about at night when I can’t sleep. I admit that I also have a bit of an Imposter Syndrome going on in that I feel like because this dance job is so fun, that means I must not be working hard enough, which means someone is ought to catch me “slacking” sometime soon and then the whole thing will fall apart.  One might say I need to change my mindset. Let me assure you, people, that I wholeheartedly agree and I am working on it.  I promise.dance

I’m almost done my first term in my “new” job; I am trying really hard to be present in my work.  I am trying to really see the joy and beauty of teaching dance, an unconventional subject in the conventional public school.  I’m constantly sharing the winning moments of our work in the studio with my colleagues and I think that’s because a small part of me is inwardly shouting, “THIS IS REAL! MY JOB IS LEGIT, PEOPLE!”  I hustle so hard at school (in a windowless room) that most days I don’t even know if it’s raining or shining until I finish my day at 2pm.  I am working hard, just in a very different way these days.

And honestly, I need to get over myself.  This morning I taught my high school dance class from 7.15-8.15am and as we worked on our choreography my crew of 20 girls and I laughed, sweated, grooved and played together.  I ran to the sound system to pause our music and I could hear the girls conversing with each other about a tricky, fast move.  They were laughing and they were LOUD! They were having fun and it was a moment of clarity for me.  I’m in the right place.  I’m doing what I am meant to do in this season of life.  This is the love of dance that I’m working with…what a gift!

Karley