Understand your material three levels deeper than you plan to teach it.
There’s so much that philosophy does for me. From the student side, it ensures that I can answer basically any question a student may come up with in class. It’s hard, as instructors, to anticipate those questions individually, but if you have a thorough understanding of your subject material, you’ll find that you know the information you need to answer questions. But just knowing everything you plan to teach isn’t thorough enough. Your students don’t think the same way as you. They’ll look at what you’re presenting sideways, from different places, with different background knowledge, and with different purpose than you. By understanding more of your material than you plan to teach, you can catch all those differences.
From the teacher side, working with this philosophy inspires a sense of exploration. It gives us an excuse to geek out over the material we’re going to teach, even if it’s something mundane. We can ask ourselves questions like: how does every bit of our body move, how does it line up with the music, what's happening to our partner, what happens if we add/remove rotation, etc. The more we delve into our topic, the more we discover there is to know, and the more thoroughly we understand whatever we're teaching in our own bodies and our own dance. It inspires our passion and learning. It improves us as dancers, not just teachers.
So understand your material three levels deeper than you need to. Not just for your students, but for yourself too.
by Nicole Trissell