When I was in high school, I used to get magazines like Seventeen and Teen. They always had an advice column, and the answers were largely the same, no matter what was asked. They almost always included the line “can you find a trusted adult that you could share this problem with?” For some reason that always stuck with me. I remember thinking about who my “trusted adult” would be if I ever needed one, and it was without hesitation my dance teacher, Melinda.
Now having taught for over 12 years, probably hundreds of kiddos have come in and out of my studio and I hope that for some of them I am that trusted adult that the magazines referred to. It’s not a responsibility that I take lightly. I remember one memorable moment where a student asked for advice about being asked to prom-I was beyond flattered that I was the person she asked. Plus I got to tell her the story of how a boy I went to school with called and asked me to prom and I hung up the phone on him because I was so shocked (true story, and one of my most favorite awkward high school stories to tell!).
For me, being that trusted adult means being supportive and not judgmental. It means being a good listener and being trustworthy. It means talking to your parents if necessary. When I say my door is always open, I mean it. Being a dance teacher means taking on the responsibility of being that trusted adult, and honestly it’s possibly the most important part of the job.