Five Things That Fred Astaire and Great Teachers Have In Common

He glides, he floats, he makes it look so easy.  Fred Astaire just makes me relax and be happy when I watch this beautiful scene.  But, Fred Astaire and great teachers have some things in common.

1 – They Make It Look Easy
Did it really take that long to get ready for this scene?  It looks effortless and easy!
Does it really take that long to plan for that lesson?  It looks like they are just “winging it” and going with the flow?

Yes.  It takes a long time.  Lots of knowhow, experience and practice.

2 – Deep Knowledge of Their Subject
It is easy to see that Fred Astaire knew how to dance.  He knew it inside and out.  Great teachers do too.

3 – Enjoyment of the Dance
Fred Astaire loved dance like a great teacher loves teaching.  It is in their blood, life, and bones.  To stop dancing (or teaching) would mean that life was over.  It is what we're born to do.

4 – A few tricks
Of course, there were four separate rooms for this scene and some camera trickery as well.  Likewise, good teachers know shortcuts and tricks to make things work.  They know how to silence a student goofing off with a raised eyebrow or can warm up the sad child with a gleaming eye.

5 – Desire to Innovate
Fred Astaire had such a long and illustrious career because he never stopped innovating.  He never stopped dancing.  He tried new things.  He pushed the envelope.  Likewise, great teachers like Louise Maine and Ernie Easter, reinvent themselves.  They push, they do more.  They never settle.  I want to be like them.

So, today as you dance around your classroom, do a little two step.  Dance a little lighter.  You are the Fred Astaire of your classroom.  Dance (and teach) like you mean it!

You've got the most noble calling on earth — live like it!

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Vicki Davis

Vicki Davis is a full-time classroom teacher and IT Director in Georgia, USA. She is Mom of three, wife of one, and loves talking about the wise, transformational use of technology for teaching and doing good in the world. She hosts the 10 Minute Teacher Podcast which interviews teachers around the world about remarkable classroom practices to inspire and help teachers. Vicki focuses on what unites us -- a quest for truly remarkable life-changing teaching and learning. The goal of her work is to provide actionable, encouraging, relevant ideas for teachers that are grounded in the truth and shared with love. Vicki has been teaching since 2002 and blogging since 2005. Vicki has spoken around the world to inspire and help teachers reach their students. She is passionate about helping every child find purpose, passion, and meaning in life with a lifelong commitment to the joy and responsibility of learning. If you talk to Vicki for very long, she will encourage you to "Relate to Educate" or "innovate like a turtle" or to be "a remarkable teacher." She loves to talk to teachers who love their students and are trying to do their best. Twitter is her favorite place to share and she loves to make homemade sourdough bread and cinnamon rolls and enjoys running half marathons with her sisters. You can usually find her laughing with her students or digging into a book.

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1 comment

pvtiptop@gmail.com August 26, 2008 - 2:47 pm

As a former dancer, and now a teacher, I can tell you another thing teachers have in common with Fred Astaire. One of the secrets to being a great dancer is to always make your partner look good. So whether Fred is dancing with Ginger or a mop or a couch, his partner looks great. And whether we are teaching the Bluebird group or the Buzzard group – it’s our job to make our students feel that they are soaring.

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The Cool Cat Teacher Blog
Vicki Davis writes The Cool Cat Teacher Blog for classroom teachers everywhere