Blog · Teaching

My Latin heart

Another reason to be done with remote learning.

Sometimes, when you are teaching, you have lovely little moments that happen. Random surprises that come your way that make your heart smile. They usually happen spontaneously when you are face to face with your students, so being back in remote learning sort of dampens the shared communal experience. You don’t get the same sense of participation in remote classes, so as I teach the way I normally do, I act as though they are all following along, as though we were in front of the big mirror in the dance studio. 

In my Multicultural Dance class, we started an extended Latin dance unit. Normally I cover it all in a couple of days, but while we were in remote, I decided to do one dance style per day. This way, I could take my time, stretch a unit that usually goes over very well, and lead us back to the school building in another month. This was day 2, where we covered a lesson on the Merengue, a good intro into using the hips freely while you are dancing.  After an overview and quick basic skills demonstration, I taught the class a short combination to practice. “We” danced it several times over (we are remote, so I really have no idea what the kids are actually doing behind the avatars and initials onscreen), then one of my students wrote in the chat, “Mrs Tirro! You are invited to carne asada!”

What a curious message. Confused, I asked her to clarify. It seemed like a nice thought, and I love the idea of eating carne asada, but I didn’t really understand the reference.

She unmuted and said I was invited to have carne asada at her house. Apparently, she appreciated my dance performance of a style she was familiar with. 

“I’m Mexican and you are a really good dancer! I wish we were in school because now you are playing the good music!”

I smiled big as my heart fluttered. This totally made my day. It’s not often that you can impress an adolescent when you are teaching the stuff they are most familiar with. It also made me a little bit sad because we all want so much to be dancing together. Remote learning is for the birds.

I mentioned our previous class, where we did Bachata, and she lamented how she missed it because she had a doctor’s appointment. Of course, I wasn’t going to let her down, so we reviewed that choreography and danced it through. 

Photo by Designecologist on Pexels.com

“Mrs. Tirro you are on fireeeee!! Are you Latina?” (Best compliment ever, btw.)

“No, I’m Jewish, but my husband is half-Cuban.” (This is true.)

“Well, you have a Latin heart. I love this class!!!”

Made. My. Year. 

This Jewish girl has a Latin heart. I hope I actually do get invited for carne asada. And maybe some homemade guacamole. Then we can dance around the kitchen together to burn the calories off.

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