In an effort to take better care of ourselves, my husband and I recently joined a gym. It’s a pretty standard gym, and they have some classes. Originally I didn’t think I would take any of them, I figured I would just use the treadmill and weight machines, but then a few weeks ago I thought I would give the Zumba class a try.
Let me point out – I am not coordinated. I can’t even clap along with the beat at a concert without watching other people. And I definitely can’t dance. It’s a little sad, actually.
I guess I avoid dancing like some kids avoid homework.
But I do tell my students that it’s good to push yourself out of your comfort zone from time to time, and to try new things, and to not be afraid to fail. So I figured I would try it.
The first time I went, I was not great. But the instructor did say, “There’s no wrong moves, as long as you’re moving” – so I took her at her word. Partway through the class, I wondered if I was feeling what my kids sometimes feel, like I was not quite getting it. But I looked around, and I certainly wasn’t the only one messing up, so I kept going.
And I went back. And I will continue to go back. Each time I go, I feel like it does get easier. I am still not great, but I get better, and I am having more fun.
I think it helps me relate to my students better. Most dance-type situations do not come easily to me – I get self-conscious, I make mistakes. I am sure some of my students feel like this sometimes, and I have been trying to remember this feeling when I have students that are stuck or frustrated or want to quit on a problem. I hope this increased empathy on my part helps me be better able to help them, and helps me remember to keep telling them that it’s ok to try and it’s ok to make a mistake – just keep trying!