What makes a great teacher?

Jane 1What makes a great teacher? What makes the best singing teachers or the best drama teachers?

You will always remember the teachers that had the biggest influence on your life from school and other activities as a child. In my opinion those teachers are the most important and probably the best. Just take a moment now to think about the teacher that had the biggest positive impact on you? Who was he/she, why does he/she stick clearly in your mind when most teachers fade into the distant memory?

I think that they had certain qualities that are imperative and when I started Little Voices the fundamentally most important criteria was to have tutors working with us in our performing arts family that had those special qualities as well as the background in performing arts, of course.

Letters after you name and all the education/academia in the world in my opinion does not make a great teacher.

The word education comes from the latin verb educare which means ‘to draw out’. Teachers are educating our children, Little Voices Tutors are drawing out the very best from our pupils. Working with individual pupils and their needs is what it is all about – not imprinting and instructing them but working with them, caring and supporting them.

So what do I think makes a great teacher?

  • An Inspirational person – someone who you look up to, admire and respect. Perhaps you want to be like them? Especially in performing arts they need to practise what they preach!
  • Someone who genuinely cares and is interested in you – it is really important that a teacher understands you and knows your strengths and weaknesses, can help build your confidence and we know at Little Voices that when a child feels happy their confidence will blossom.
  • Someone who can effectively communicate to you – they can change the ways and means in which they present information to you and can help you to explore your own ideas and understand how to do something! Everyone is a different type of learner; auditory, visual, kinaesthetic or a mixture of those and a great teacher will facilitate ever type of learner
  • A great teacher obviously knows their subject and is constantly learning and developing to enhance their knowledge base. They keep themselves current and are hungry for new learning and embrace new ideas.
  • They are passionate, bubbly and approachable but coupled with being highly organised and reliable. Well these are certainly attributes that I look for. Our entire Little Voices organisation is built with these qualities in mind.


Does this sound like you? OR does it sound like the people that you would want to work with? Learn how it could fit in with your life and in your area.


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Contact Jane 01254 207516 or email jane@littlevoices.org.uk

“Which teacher influenced you the most?”

JaneWe all have a teacher or teachers that stick out in our memory as being influential in our lives. Equally there is always a teacher that we would rather forget too! Can you remember their names? I am sure that you can.

A teacher’s role is so important in a child’s education. It can sometimes have such a dramatic effect as to affect how successful we are in a particular subject. It is important that the surroundings are conducive to learning and that enjoyment is a hugely influential factor. I remember my own school music lessons and drama lessons at school – they were usually far from orderly, most often complete chaos with most students not wanting to be there.

Drama and singing training, as an additional hobby, plays such an important role in a child’s life. Teachers out of school for these subjects know their pupils really well and as a result have a positive impact on all areas of a child’s life.

Children also meet new friends away from the school environment, work with like-minded pupils in a fun yet structured way that enables them to learn and develop at an appropriate pace.

We know at Little Voices that the teacher, the group and environment that your child works in is crucial. It is why we have a unique framework. Our tutors have to be able to inspire, draw out and encourage the development of your child’s skills. I believe that they can only have a dramatic affect if they really know each individual pupil and they can work with them in a small group. Respect and trust also have a pivotal role to play.

The biggest challenges of running your own teaching business in drama and singing

Jane 1What are the biggest challenges about running your own business in Performing Arts?
The five things that spring to mind for me are:

  • Understanding how to market your business and not just rely on word of mouth
  • Operating safely
  • Recruiting and growing so that it doesn’t all rely on you
  • Getting through the month of August
  • Doing every aspect of the business alone


So taking each point step by step

  • What is your market? And to say “children’ really isn’t good enough. There are approximately 9.1 million children in the UK today however not all of those are going to be your target market. You really need to understand who your market is, where they are and what sort of messages through which sorts of media they will be most open to listening too. You cannot build a business on reputation and recommendation alone – certainly not a sustainable one that meets all of your goals. Once you have set this plan in place you then need to start crafting your marketing strategy and it really isn’t as scary as it sounds.
  • Operating safely is IMPERATIVE! There are so many teachers that set themselves up in their own homes, within schools or community buildings that really do not have all the relevant documentation in place. A bullet proof risk assessment is a must and insurance as a bare minimum. Anyone could fall on your front steps or going up to the toilet before a lesson. You have to protect yourself and those that you teach. Equally it is important to understand what your responsibility is after an accident happens. Policies and procedures are so often overlooked and ‘passing the blame’ or presuming that that element is not your responsibility is the irresponsible way of running your business.
  • What do you want to achieve? What is your ultimate goal? Living day to day and week to week, month to month and year to year is brilliant and serves a great purpose but ultimately knowing your end goal is absolutely eye opening and helps you to get really focussed. It also means that if the goals are sizeable then you can start to plan how the teaching will not all be conducted by you. As much as we love teaching you only have so many hours in the day and there is a limit to what you can charge so you will need to get a system in place. It is why joining a supportive, systemised network can help. I was watching the programme about “Dominoes” pizzas last night and it was fascinating to watch their most successful millionaire franchisee! Franchises make millionaires so if you have big goals perhaps looking at a franchise network is a good idea.
  • This comes down to having a system again because you need to make money all the way through the year and ensuring that you have courses on in the holidays will help to sustain the business and avoid seasonality. Brainstorming ideas of what you could deliver in a short course is a great place to start.
  • It is lonely being self employed and running your own business. If you feel this way you should look at the options available to you in terms of a franchise because as they say ‘birds of a feather flock together’ and a team of people working towards the same end goal provides priceless support for you. The theory is that you become the average of the 5 people that you hang about most with – so surrounding yourself with the right people is crucial and it would be my biggest piece of advice for anyone setting out to achieve their dreams!
    Feel free to contact me and discuss anything that is of interest in my blogs jane@littlevoices.org.uk 01254 207516 www.littlevoices.org.uk