Finding a work life balance as a dance teacher can be tricky. This isn’t just a job, but a passion, one many of us have nurtured from a very young age and it is intrinsically part of who we are. We start our schools or teaching careers with dreams of creating the memories we had growing up and creating opportunities for children to find a love of dance we had too.
But then along comes life. Partners, children, pets, life commitments, bills to pay and the negative side of the dance school world – pushy parents, non payers and unsociable working hours.
So with New Year’s resolutions already waining, what can we do to really take control and have a healthier work/ life balance.
Social media, accounting, costumes, admin, tuck shop!!! Make use of the fantastic freelancers around you. Social media is a valuable marketing tool, but can be a time drainer, look for a freelancer or small business to do this for you. Accounting, find a reputable bookkeeper and let them take over this side, even better put them in charge of dealing with late payments. You may have to pay for services, but you may find they pay for themselves! Someone dedicated to marketing will bring in more pupils and a bookkeeper may bring in late fees you’re reluctant to chase, so save money just by having a proper understanding of your business finances.
If you are lucky enough to have some dedicated teenagers in your school make the most of them. Involve them in all aspects of the school. Show prep, costume organisation, poster design, helping in baby classes, tuck shop or uniform order collection! Its great experience for them and helpful for you!
Get a second phone! Be clear about your working hours, even better if you have someone else to man the phone and emails.
“Working nine to five …”
Set working hours for admin and class planning. Plan a working week rather than just winging it. Make Monday 9-12 admin time, and Wednesday choreography time. Plan your week and stick to it.
Take breaks and time away from work. Properly away! Put the phone down. It’s difficult not to think “I’ll quickly reply to that text or email.” But if you do – BAM – you’re back into work brain, thinking about exams and shows and not present in family or you time.
Set Boundaries for yourself
Don’t get too attached- the toughest of them all. As dance teachers we are in an unusual position of sometimes teaching children from age 2 to 18, we watch them grow, we get to know their families. It is this that makes a dance teacher/pupil relationship so special. But it can play emotional havoc. If the regular child whose talent you’ve nurtured for 5 years ups and goes to another teacher, or suddenly a relationship with a parent sours it’s difficult to not take it personally and can make you feel miserable at home too.
Time for you!
Time for you! Take a walk outside, have a long bath, find a good dance class just for you! Whatever it is and even if it’s an hour a week find something you love and do it just for you! Put away the mum guilt/ the ‘I should be doing this or that’ and focus on something fun for you. It will make all the difference.
We’ve always been good at balancing on our toes, let 2023 be the year you can balance work and life too.
Team IDR x