(This letter is actually two letters. I started dancing in 1995, when I was six years old. My teachers were a mother/daughter team, and they often alternated classes. I can’t remember who taught my very first class, so I’ve written a letter to each of them for this post)
An Open Letter To My First Dance Teacher
When I came to you for dance classes, I was a day-dreaming, imaginative, chatty little girl. As a dance teacher, I now know that I must have been rather annoying to teach. You may have found me cute, but I wouldn’t have been one of those kids who were a pleasure to teach. I wasn’t focused, I wasn’t all that interested in improving. I just came to dancing to have fun. To be honest, I was probably quite painful to teach.
But you delighted in me. You encouraged me. You laughed with me. Never once did you give me the impression that I was annoying, that you’d rather spend your time with a child who was serious about dancing. You taught me that I was wonderful. Twice a week, I came into your dance class and had my self-esteem topped up by you, who appreciated me and loved me the way I was. You were always kind, always patient.
Though I was probably the last student you would ever expect to have a career related to dance, I am now a dance teacher. I teach some of the most wonderful girls and boys, many of them just like me. Because I remember how good you helped me to feel about myself, I am determined to enjoy every single child that I teach. You have inspired me.
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Dear Mrs Hodson,
You were a fantastic dance teacher. Strict, but fun. As a dance teacher now, I appreciate how hard it must have been to enforce the rules you did. I find myself saying “When I was a child, we would NEVER have…” to my students all the time. How did you get everyone to take off their shoes and put on a jumper before leaving the building? How did you do costumes without having any one complain? How did you get us all to practice?
Thank you for teaching me discipline. Thank you for expecting me to be well-groomed and well behaved. Thank you for always trying to get the best out of me. And thank you for managing to be kind while doing so.