Rediscovering Teaching

(Written December 6, 2015)

Waking up this morning feeling a familiar kind of fulfilment I have not felt for many, many years.

I starting officially teaching Middle Eastern dance in 1983. Opened Arabesque Academy in 1987. Back then I knew every student intimately and shared in their struggles and triumphs.

I never realized how lucky I was to experience this privilege.

Our art form was obscure and on the fringes until all of a sudden our two studios were jam packed and a line-up down the hall having to turn some students away. At one point we counted 400 students went through Arabesque in a given week. Where I was once the only teacher, now Arabesque had 10. I was also now teaching all around the world in a different city each weekend.

Students faces and hips had become a blurr. I had long since given up remembering their names.

Eventually there was a Bellydance teacher in every community centre and schools opening up regularly. Now we had something called competition and I was forced to face a reality that I actually owned a business that was responsible for many people’s incomes. Something I had not signed up for and even rebelled against. Nonetheless, I found myself sitting for years at a desk in a back office working hard and promoting to keep the office staff and teachers employed. There was no time for myself to teach regular classes anymore. Many attending my school did not know who I was. My time was spent promoting other teachers under the umbrella of Arabesque.

When a parent dies, one reflects on ones priorities. Now I have one small studio with little overhead. I still travel to teach but never more than once a month. I am teaching nine classes a week and coaching 4 ensembles in my own studio at home in Toronto.

I know my students names, am aware of and deeply invested in their individual progress. Teaching Beginner again, I get to contribute to lighting those initial fires of inspiration.

Never more than last night at the gala did I realize that I am home again and feeling fulfilled as I really love teaching and never want to be a business woman ever again.

This pic is backstage with Beginner students. Their names are Susheela, Sophia, Loretta, Nasreen, Paniz, Lisa, Mahsa and Christine. When they came off the stage of their first performance last night they were ecstatic and I was there to share with them. I am in heaven.