For those of you who've never seen or heard of Zumba, it's a Latin dance based cardio workout. My favorite instructors remind everybody that the point of Zumba is to get moving and having fun. We aren't supposed to look like the instructor or like each other. While every class and instructor is a little bit different, Zumba looks something like this:
So you might be wondering how Zumba is going to help my students besides giving me the stamina to keep up with them!
One of the things I have noticed is that many Zumba instructors attend other instructors' classes. I haven't researched to see if this is actually a requirement for new instructors to get certified, but I see it just about every single week. Imagine if teachers, new or veteran, had the opportunity to go and not only observe but participate in other teachers' classes! What could we learn from each other? What kinds of suggestions could we make to help each other better meet our students' needs? What little things would we notice about the kids that would help our colleagues build better relationships with their students? Really, the possibilities to this kind of learning are endless. I need to figure out a way to make this work for me during the upcoming school year.
That isn't the only thing from tonight's class that will help my students. This evening one of those new instructors was participating in class. He, yes HE - very few male instructors in this area, was an enthusiastic participant, and I'm looking forward to going to one of his classes. After class I ended up in one of those awkward "I'm walking one direction, he's walking in the other and we end up in the same spot" situations with him. As we started to move around each other he looked me in the eye and said, "Hey - great job tonight!" I had never talked to him prior to this moment, but he took just a second to acknowledge my hard work in class and give me a compliment.
His positive comment has stuck with me all night long. It reinforced my feelings of enjoyment and confidence, and it made me more interested in attending one of his classes. How often do we teachers take every opportunity we can to compliment our students, to point out the positive effort they are putting into a task or the the positive choices they are making? Even if it is a priority for you, I bet we could find even more opportunities to positively support our students. And if four little words can make such a big impact on a 38 year old, imagine what those four little words could do for a 7, 9 or 13 year old!
So how will Zumba help my students? Tonight it reminded me that my coworkers are great learning resources, and it reminded me that I need to catch my students "doing good" as often as possible.