Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Here's My Zumba Post, Y'all

I think about teaching a lot when I'm in Zumba. Probably because I'm in a constant state of learning: concentrating really hard, failing really hard,having fun, getting frustrated, laughing at myself, trying new stuff. And I've learned a LOT from my zumba teachers about what makes a good teacher, what makes a pretty good teacher, and what makes a teacher who is still figuring it out. (And yes, I'm slightly embarrassed to love Zumba so much. Is it the name? Is it the crazy outfits? Is it the dancing in the middle of the day under fluorescent lights? Whatever.)
Here are some basic observations about teaching that I have gleaned from Zumba. 1. Enthusiasm goes a long way. If the teacher is into it--I am into it. if she is half assing it--or worse seems embarrassed--then I am dying. 2.I need to admire my teacher.My favorite teachers are really strong dancers and it is evident that they have lots of dance training. I like to admire the person at the front of the room. I like to aspire. I don't want to be a show off but I do want to be--wholly and heartily--myself. I can show them who I am. Some will like it, some won't. So maybe what I learned it don't hold back from showing what you love and have invested your time and talents in. 3.Similarly, the best teachers do hard stuff sometimes. It doesn't always feel achievable.I have one teacher who will sometimes just dance to herself--it's clear we aren't going to be able to follow,but the music just takes her and she goes Sometimes I just watch in admiration and think How the hell does she do that? (I haven't quite figured out how to translate this to an English class.Heh.) 4. Love. A few of my Zumba teachers have told the class that they love us. The first time it happened, I was kind of...embarrassed? But I also kind of loved it. And then it happened again with a different teacher and I thought it was awesome. And then..I tried it with my students. I quickly said, at the end of class, "I love you guys" and it felt amazing. There's something really powerful about talking about love. It kind of changes everything. And it makes me feel vulnerable, which is good, but also powerful in a weird way.I also tell my students that I love my job, because I want them to know that. And I do. Truly, madly, deeply.


  1. Like! Wait... Love!
    My aunt Cheryl (you may have met her at the ceremony) is a Zumba Jammer and trains instructors. I bet she's amazing. I'll let you know if she teaches a class here :-)

  2. I can't remember where I heard this, at some conference. The presenter reminded us that as the teachers, we are the best writers in the room.And students need to see us do the hard stuff - to feel the burn alongside and in front of them. You also remind me how how important love is . . . being an ally is about loving, investing in each others' growth. Figuring out how to express that love is something else again, but love is definitely a pillar for teaching. Super glad you're blogging.

  3. WHAT IS A ZUMBA JAMMER and how do I become one