Follow a syllabus or your own path?
The first thing I think about when planning my classes is the syllabus I’m going to follow. Will I be proposing students to ballet exams this year? Wich grades? Because I’m a RAD registered teacher and, in my country, ballet exams are highly valorized, most of the time, I teach with that purpose.
I don’t think that teachers should think of the syllabus as a way to reach an end. I think that they should think of it as an end for wich we need to find our way. So, each time I’m going to teach a particular grade, I study the syllabus and then I creat my own exercises to introduce it to my students. I plan carefull goals for each grade and exercise and work with my students step by step. This way, the approach to the syllabus would be simpler and easier for them. They have already learned the technique and, therefore, they can concentrate on other aspects of their dancing.
On the other hand, if you don’t follow any syllabus in your ballet classes, don’t leave planning aside. It’s important for you and it’s important for your students. For you because it helps you to keep track of each class and the evolution of your dancers. And for them because, that way, they can understand the “whys” and “hows” of each step and their progressions. Their work will be much better :)