You do more than just teach dance
In addition to technical dance instruction, dance teachers are responsible for providing a positive and safe learning environment. This includes prioritizing the social, emotional, and physical well-being of their students—elements that must be fostered as well as protected. Preventing Dance Injuries highlights that when teachers are respectful of their students, positive body image and self-esteem are positively impacted. Effective teachers establish norms of safety in their studios and do not tolerate teasing, harassment, or any form of maltreatment by students’ peers.
Such an environment requires adequate and appropriate supervision. It is important to outline a clear definition of the responsibilities that go along with supervising. The Coalition of Americans to Protect Sports (CAPS) recommends that every coach establish a set of clearly defined duties owed to their athletes (students). These include:
- Properly planning the activity
- Providing proper instruction
- Providing a safe physical environment
- Providing adequate and proper equipment
- Matching athletes by ability, age, and size
- Evaluating athletes for injury or incapacity
- Supervising the activity closely
- Warning of inherent risks
- Providing appropriate emergency assistance
Supervision during pre- and post- class times is equally important as the supervision during the actual program activity. When parents drop off their child, communicate the importance of being on time. Additionally explain that being on time does not mean dropping the child off and leaving before instruction starts. You are not a babysitting service and these unstructured times can open the door for accidents to occur.
Follow the all-important rule: Never leave a child alone with another adult, unless it is their parent, adult sibling, or guardian. If you transport children, always require two adults be present in the vehicle and on-site until the last child is picked up by his/her parents. Provide parents with a trip plan outlining your schedule, and share contact numbers in the event of delays due to unforeseen issues that may arise.