By now, you are probably a social media star, sharing your studio’s amazing personality with Instagram and Facebook. But, how do you manage communicating with your students and their parents outside of the studio beyond quick schedule updates and fun pictures?
It is important to draw a clear line when it comes to communicating with your dancers. Even though you love them all and want to have a personal connection with them, it is good to know how close is too close and make sure that they know it too.
Texting, Emails, and Phone Calls
Having access to your dancers 24/7 and giving them access to you might sound like a good thing, but after a while, you’ll probably grow tired of constant texts and random phone calls. For this reason, communicating a clear way for your dancers to contact you for anything from scheduling questions to dance tips between classes without interrupting your other responsibilities.
For this, we recommend a dedicated line of some sort just for questions. It might seem like texting would be a good way to keep in touch, but all of those numbers will add up, and so will the texts. The easiest and most organized way to keep up with questions is to set up an email that you give out to all of your students and their parents so they can send their questions and concerns when they need to without turning your phone into a constantly dinging mess. Make sure this email is something easy to remember and that states its purpose. For instance, you could use ask-YOURNAME@yourstudio.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Having the email separate from your regular email will keep you from missing important information due to an influx of questions!
Next, you’ll want to set aside a time that you will check this email regularly. This way, you can let students and their parents know and approximate time when their questions will be answered. Maybe you have a small period of time each day between classes that you need to fill or you want to add it to your lunch routine, answering emails while you eat. Just make sure that the time you choose is one you can keep up with, so your email will be a reliable way to answer your dancers’ everyday questions.
You might be tempted to RSVP for every big event a dancer invites you to, but a little careful consideration might change your mind. The most important thing to remember is that if you attend one, you have to attend them all.
Your dancers love you. Who wouldn’t? They spend hours in the studio with you pushing their limits and expanding their talents. You’re practically family. This is great! The only issue? This means that you will be invited to share important milestones with them like graduations and birthday parties. You may want to attend some of these events, but you don’t want to hurt the feelings of dancers whose events you can’t attend. To prevent this, it’s important to set some ground rules.
Rules may include that you don’t attend birthday parties (because there are simply too many of them). Maybe the only school events you attend are graduations for seniors that have been dancing with you for a long time. Make sure that your rules work for you and maximize your support for your students without exhausting you or your free time.
Thinking of You
When you can’t attend an event either because of a conflict of schedule or because it breaks some of your rules about personal interactions with your students, make sure your dancers know that you are still supportive of their achievements and thinking of them. You can do this by giving them a nice card with a note from you congratulating them or wishing them a happy birthday. Maybe you can put together a small gift bag for dancers graduating out of your studio. What you do isn’t quite as important as the sentiment behind it.
However you work out your guidelines for interacting with your dancers outside of the studio, make sure that they are comfortable for both you and your dancers. It is key that these guidelines maintain a respectful distance but don’t make you or your dancers feel disconnected from one another. You are a dance family after all!