To Teach or Not to Teach (Write31Days Day 27)

I had no idea what to write for today. I had a list of topics, but none of them were speaking to me. Then I took a phone call, and inspiration finally came to me.

And then it left, right after I wrote “inspiration finally came to me.”

Clearly, something is blocking my creative flow (stress, maybe!). Well, since I already wrote the title, I’ll do my best to put something together. If it doesn’t work out well, you can always catch up on the rest of my posts for the 31 Day Writing Challenge!

The idea of teaching ballroom has been brought up to me a lot, but more frequently in the last couple of weeks. Many people go this route as a way to continue dancing and help support the habit at the same time. So given my constant financial tight rope act, others think it is a natural step for me to take and that I’d be a great teacher. I am on the fence.

On the positive side, it would be another way for me to help people pursue their dance passion and work past fears. When I’ve played a lead in a group class, I’ve been told that I lead very well. Earning a little extra for my dance fund is always welcome. And I’ve been told that if I work as a junior or assistant teacher, I can keep my amateur status and continue to compete with Teacher.

If I’m completely honest, the main reason I hesitate is a lack of confidence. My first reaction to being told I’d be a great teacher is denial and dismissal: “really? no…” It’s hard for me to see what I have to give that people would be willing to pay for. I’ve written about it and I’ve experienced it firsthand. People don’t like parting with their hard-earned cash. They may fully support your venture with encouragement, but tunes change when you ask for monetary support. I don’t blame them! I think of the level of teaching I’d be willing to pay for, and I know I’m not at that level.

But it’s not like I’d jump in and start teaching silver-level amateurs with competition goals. I’d work with beginners, people who were just starting to dip their toes in the ballroom pool. One friend told me she’d be willing to pay me just to teach her the steps, without any coaching on technique. Ok, I guess I could maybe do that.

The other demon playing a role here is the extremely high level of expectations and pressure I put on myself. I’m only considering the idea of teaching, and part of me is rejecting it already because I currently couldn’t teach at the same level as my own teacher who has been dancing ballroom for close to 20 years. Sure, that’s a logical comparison.

If I ignore the lack of confidence and the absurd expectation level, what’s left to hold me back? The last thing would be my introverted nature. Dancing definitely brings me to life and rejuvenates my spirit. But the social interactions still use my energy, as opposed to restoring it. I love spending time with my friends at the studio and dancing at socials, but I can’t do it every day. I need quiet time at home to recharge. So I worry that I wouldn’t be able to be “on” all the time, that I would get burned out, and I would end up letting people down. I can show up to a lesson as a student in a depressed mood because Teacher takes the lead and can carry me through. I depend on that sometimes. I can’t do the same as an instructor. People will be looking to me for guidance and direction. People will be depending on me to carry them through. Ok, that’s me putting extra pressure on myself again.

If I’ve learned anything from ballroom, it’s that I am capable of much more than I ever imagined. Time and time again, I think I can’t do something in ballroom and then I go and do it. So while I’m not sure if I can teach or if I would be a good teacher, the opportunity to learn something about teaching ballroom has been presented to me and I’m going to hesitantly take it. It won’t cost me any extra money, so why not, right?

Just like when Teacher asks me if I’m ready to try something, I’m going to say “no, but let’s do it anyway.”


11 thoughts on “To Teach or Not to Teach (Write31Days Day 27)

  1. Natalie says:

    As a fellow introvert, I know the feeling of being drained. Would it be possible to teach ballroom part-time to give yourself a break? The studio near my house is open in the afternoons and evenings only; maybe full-time wouldn’t be so bad if you knew you had the morning off.


    • TheGirlWithTheTreeTattoo says:

      The opportunity literally just came up in the last couple days and the idea is to train me to be able to help teach group classes. So it wouldn’t be a big time commitment but I also work full time as a technical editor (lots of brain power required!). So time will tell if I can manage a day job, my own dancing and teaching others! One step at a time though 🙂


    • TheGirlWithTheTreeTattoo says:

      Thank you so much! It’s good to hear you didn’t find teaching too draining. I feel more comfortable with the idea of teaching just one or two people vs. a whole group but I don’t have any formal experience. I hated having to get up in front of class to give a speech in school, but maybe it won’t be so bad since it’s ballroom and I wouldn’t just be standing there lecturing. We shall see!


  2. BCBallroomdancer says:

    I am certainly not trying to discourage, but you should be aware that according to the NDCA rules you cannot teach, or even assist and still compete pro/am. You could still compete as part of an amateur couple, but pro/am students are prohibited from teaching dance in any capacity–I have even heard we cannot volunteer as an unpaid practice partner or assistant! There has been a lot of talk about it on the forums, especially since it seems the only people not allowed to make money from dancing are those who pay the most. I am not sure how much of an issue it is in your area–but it is just something I caution you to check out the full facts on. I am also considering training to teach at one point, but the main thing holding me back is that I would not be able to compete Pro/am anymore if I did and I have no desire to find an amateur partner.

    I do think you would make an awesome teacher though–I just don’t want to see you lose the opportunity to compete doing so 🙂


      • BCBallroomdancer says:

        Here is what the NDCA official rulebook says with a link to it:


        a. The term “Pro/Am” refers to a professional dancer/teacher dancing with their student. In this case the student will be known as a “Pro/Am Student Dancer”. A Pro/Am Student Dancer competes with a professional partner.

        b. A Pro/Am Student Dancer competes in Ballroom dance purely as an avocation.

        c. A Pro/Am Student Dancer does not teach Ballroom dance under any circumstances.

        d. A Pro/Am Student Dancer may neither demonstrate nor give shows for compensation in any style of Ballroom dance.

        e. A Pro/Am Student Dancer is permitted to enter Ballroom dance “Pro/Am Scholarship Events” which offer monetary prizes. In this case, any prize money awarded belongs to the Pro./Am Student Dancer, not to the professional, and the Pro/Am Student Dancer may decide how it is to be used.

        f. Pro/Am Student Dancers who are found to be in violation of any of the above definitions, will not be permitted to continue to compete in NDCA sanctioned competitions or championships, and the organizers of all NDCA sanctioned competitions and championships will be so notified. Should the Pro/Am Student Dancer cease the activity that violated the above definitions, his or her right to compete as a Pro/Am Student Dancer in NDCA sanctioned competitions and championships may be restored upon application to the NDCA. A waiting period may or may not be required when such reinstatements are made.

        (1) It is within the province of the Ballroom department to discipline by way of suspension and/or fines the professional partner of an amateur competing in pro/am competitions who is found to be teaching ballroom dance lessons.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Christy says:

    Many moons ago in a land far away from where I now live, the pros also competed with each other. Is it not that way any longer? I’ve been out of the business for many years.


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