Sunday, August 26, 2012

Thoughts on my teaching...

So this weekend I taught a dance class at the Ithra held in Terra Pomeria.  Ithra is a highly organized, kingdom wide "college" that has funding and management set up to help groups put together classes based events.  It has aspects both admirable and annoying, but this isn't really the time to go into it.

The class I taught was "Easy English Country Dance: Three Dance to get Your Feet Wet."  I taught three of the easiest dances I know, all from Playford.  I chose Rufty Tufty, Black Nag, and Gathering Peascods.  These dances are relatively simple, all have similar structures.  The handouts I put together included a brief set of definitions, some information about where the dances came from, and cheat sheets created by a Laurel in the East.  Along with the handout, I gave out a CD with the music for the three dances on it.  The Boy helped me teach, which was so helpful, not only because he compliments my teaching style, but we only had four students, and needed six people for the last two dances.  The four students represented a wide range of interest and experience in dance, but they all worked hard to learn the dances, and performed them well.  We went through the steps first, explaining what was common and what I would be likely to say when calling the parts of the dances.  We then set up the first dance, walked through the steps, then ran through with music and minimal calling.  Once they performed the dance without trouble, we went on to the second dance and treated it the same way.  They also danced that one well without my needing to call the steps after a few runs through, and we danced the third dance.  After running through the third dance we ran through all three dances as though they were a set at a ball.  The students were awesome!  They got the dances pretty easily, and seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Ithra has a student evaluation form so the class can let those running Ithra know if a teacher is any good.  Since it wasn't a secure method, I got to sneak a peek and my students thought I was a good teacher, so that made me happy.  However, one of the students asked me about something I hadn't considered, but when I told her I'd be happy to send the information her way, she told me she just wasn't that interested in the subject.  I'm running into that quite a bit in the SCA, plenty of people enjoy dancing, they're just not interested in actually learning the dances.  They're fine with a run through right before doing the dance, instead of actually knowing how to do it, and I'm not sure there's a way to change that.  I have one or two people that really want to practice dances until they know them.  But there aren't enough to change the local group.

Ah well.  I'm excited to continue teaching, and I'll do my best to be upbeat and high energy whenever I'm dancing or teaching dance.  I'm just feeling the frustration that my interests aren't shared by a majority of people.

The other subject I keep trying to teach about is hair styling.  I haven't had much turnout for hair classes lately, but it's a topic that I'm passionate about.  I realize that my specialty is Roman and therefore not everyone's interest, but I haven't taught a class on Roman hairstyles.  I'm hoping to branch out into more specific hairstyles instead of generic medieval and renaissance styles, but without someone's impetus, I'm likely to look into it.  I need to work on prepping more step by step tutorials for this blog, it's a way of getting info out without specific teaching events.  I'm working on a step by step for my method of Italian Hairtaping.  If anyone has any artwork or images they'd like help deciphering the hairstyles, shoot me a copy of the picture, I'd love to help!

I've also got an idea for a class taught in tandem with Miriam from The Sinister Spinster.  She's known in the area for info about the Cap of Saint Brigit, and I thought it would be interesting to teach a class on Hairstyle and Headdresses.  I'd work on hairstyles that form the base of some common styles, and she'd talk about the caps and veils used to create that style.  I'm hoping that we'll get cross interest from each other's subject matter.  I'm just not sure when we'll get to teach this, there's a bit of an upheaval going on in my mundane life.

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