Learning to Lead

Teaching a recent core program, one of my students, K, would gradually drift away from the circle during the lesson. I couldn’t tell at first what was going on for him – was he disinterested? Or shy? But I continued to invite him back into the circle to come join us.

We got to the lesson for swing, and to my surprise, K stayed in the circle that day. Something clicked for him and I could see him light up. Many students have trouble with the swing basic at first, getting a handle on the syncopated rhythm and stretching the movement away and then toward their partner. K was the first in the class to get it!

 In preparing for competition, I assigned K the swing dance, figuring if he had a dance he really liked, he would really focus on it. K exceeded my expectations – not only practicing with enthusiasm, but also being a leader on the team and helping other students who were having trouble with the steps. On competition day, there was a long wait before his time onstage, he told me he just wanted to get out there and dance. I told him to save up all his energy and put it out there onstage – and he did!

 I was impressed by my student’s performance, and so were his family and regular teachers. I learned from them that K really struggled to pay attention in his other classes. I have people close to me who had trouble paying attention in school due to ADHD and other issues, and they often felt like “the bad kid” in school and struggled with feeling different. I’m so glad K learned the dance, but I am even happier he had a positive learning experience connecting with something he enjoyed, and was able to take on a new role as a successful leader.

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