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Teaching from the Heart

Most little kids look at their parents and realize they want to be just like them. They think of interesting jobs they want to have when they are older, always thinking about making the world a better place. When I was little I was also changing what I wanted to do. I didn’t realize what I really wanted to do with life until about four years ago.
When I applied at my dance school, Trinity Academy of Irish Dance, to become a teacher I didn’t realize what was ahead of me. I thought a teacher must be patient and meet every dancer’s physical and mental needs. But I was wrong. A teacher is much more than that.
After applying for the position for my dance school, I received a phone call from my dance teacher. She explained out of the dozens of girls who applied, they chose me. Literally, my eyes widened and my jaw dropped. “Thank you!” I exclaimed.
The excitement was unbelievable. I was an instructor; working next to World Champions of Irish dance. A new experience was ahead of me and I was ready to learn as much I could, along with teaching everything that I knew.
The following week, I entered the classroom. I was welcomed and the lead instructor and I shared some words. I would be teaching with Anne, a previous teacher of my own. She quickly reminded me of some of my responsibilities and also the class plans for the day. After completing the tasks, the students slowly shuffled into the classroom. They started to run around and talk to each other, excited to be back from their summer break and see their friends.
Every week, the students came and I did the same. I enjoyed seeing the happiness and passion in the dancers’ eyes as they accomplished a step. Seeing them understand an exercise, two levels above them. Encouraging them to work harder. I learned different teaching methods for all the different ages. I taught them to be brave and not be afraid to fail, because it only means they were growing as a dancer. No matter whom I worked with I wanted him/her to feel part of the class and enjoy learning Irish dance. Every week was a new adventure and challenge.
Weeks and weeks went by and the year was coming to an end. It went by quickly. On the last day of class, each group had a party. For the last ten minutes, we were able to celebrate and talk about what a successful year we had. As I turned to see if any student had a question, a parent came up to me, tapped me on the shoulder and said, “I would like to thank you for everything you have done this past year. My daughter loves you.” I stood their stunned. Not really saying anything in response except a quick, “thank you.” A smile appeared across my face.
I made a difference in someone’s life. I not only was teaching the students everything I knew, but more importantly, I was sharing a part of who I am, as a person, and helping them shape who they will become. The times I showed them passion for dance. The times I encouraged them to work hard at anything that was put before them. The times I showed them courage to try new things. And finally the love I shared in the smiles and hugs. Helped me realize what an important job teacher’s have in this world.
As the last minutes of the class were coming to an end, one of the students asked for a hug. I automatically opened my arms. As soon as I did another student saw and screamed, “Group hug!” before I knew it the whole class was surrounding me. It was the best feeling in the world, to think to yourself that you were a big influence in so many lives. I smiled, thinking to myself, I did it.
I learned that year, as a teacher, that it isn’t about teaching the kids what or how much you know. It is touching a part of their heart and having them carry it with them for a lifetime. I am now in college studying Psychology and still teaching dance. I plan on continuing my education to teach college students. With the appreciation for teachers, the courage I took on to fulfill this role, and the wonderful children I teach has made this job very rewarding.





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