As I drove to one of my last days of school last Thursday, I was quite sad, crying behind my sunglasses. They weren’t tears of sadness – or even joy, but rather tears of dissatisfaction with how I played my year as a dance teacher in DC. I find the kids’ reaction at the end of the year is a clear way to gauge the impact I have made, and the entire week of goodbyes was extremely underwhelming. I wondered if I had really taught anything.
The school year was complete, there were no do-overs, and I got out of it exactly what I put into it. Of course, I could give you a list of excuses based on the very non-ideal circumstances I was in, but I won’t. If there is one thing that I learned from my friend Raul it is that circumstances don’t rule me, I rule them. :)
But you know, it is so easy to be so hard on yourself, find your faults and forget the good stuff. When I sat back and thought of all the things I took on this year (in addition to teaching at school) I realize it is the first year I:
-Taught yoga at a studio (at least 3 times a week)
-Taught yoga to an older generation during their lunch break
-Taught pre-school and pre-K (and LOVED it!)
-Taught pre-ballet after school (which was a success)
-Had a husband!
-Taught tap dance to middle school and high schoolers
That’s a lot, and it’s important to give myself credit for those new ways I branched out and learned from them. And if I look at how I taught dance from a different angle, I can find many moments of success as a dance teacher in the schools. I was a bright spot for most of those kids many of those days, I provided an opportunity for them to explore, create, and move! Although there weren’t any huge performances, or any real tangible evidence – I did make a difference, and maybe it was just smaller than I would have liked.
So now I get to have a second chance. I will be teaching a camp for three weeks that I am prepared to kick butt in and give it as much as I can. So I can leave those three weeks with an extreme sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. When I give it my all, that is when I find the most value in my work and in myself.