Remember the bumper sticker that read, “Have You Thanked a Green Plant Today?” Here’s a Scottish country dancer version of that sticker: “Have you thanked your teacher today?”
Because we pay for classes and sometimes travel long distances in inclement weather to get there, it’s easy to take the class experience for granted. Your teachers work as volunteers, often throughout the year. They show up in all weather, even when they are “too busy” to teach, or have a cold or a family event. When students “don’t feel like going out tonight,” their teachers show up, even if they feel the same way. They get to class early, unlock, help move furniture, carry heavy equipment and then organize locking up and carrying the equipment back. Those classes, which seem effortless, are actually well thought-out exercises, with music to match and a smooth build-up to the complex material. They take a lot longer to create than many folks realize. Many teachers spend more time creating a class than they do teaching it.
Just to earn starting credentials, your teachers took rigorous courses and daunting exams, at considerable expense to themselves. They maintain large collections of written instructions for dances and music too—at their own expense.
They greet people, learn folks’ names and are constantly having to adjust their lesson plans because of peculiar numbers, or the sudden arrival of a new student. If someone gets hurt, everyone turns to the teacher for guidance.
The Branch teachers work very hard to bring you the best in Scottish country dancing. I encourage everyone to take that little bit of time to say ‘Thanks’ at the end of a lesson, to lead a round of applause for the teacher, or to send them a note of thanks at the year’s end, or perhaps bring in a small bouquet or baked item as a token of appreciation. The Delaware Valley Branch teachers are a dedicated and talented lot. Please take a moment to appreciate them every now and then.