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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Teacher Credentials


dmcclure

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Ok, we registered for this year last week. DD was moved up into Sr. I, which is our second to highest level, and will be taking 5 classes a week. This is a heavy schedule at our studio, which is good, but rural.

 

I was up at the studio later that day for a private pointe lesson and noticed the schedule again. I hadn't looked at who was teaching, assuming it was the AD and Asst. AD, as in the past. Turns out it isn't. She will be taking 40% of her classes from someone she really disliked last year. DD has never complained about any instructor for any class, including guest artists, SI, auditioners, etc. ever before, except for this teacher. We just grinned and beared it last year, knowing she would probably move up. Now, DD is distraught! yes, I know she is 12 and at that stage, but she is usually very calm about it all.

 

Teacher has no real credentials. She was a good dancer herself, for our company, but has no professional or educational credentials! Is there ANY diplomatic way to address this? Remember, small studio....

 

She would be teaching one session of Tech and Beg, Pointe. All other classes would be taught by the Asst. AD, who is GREAT.

 

Also, we got the first ever PE exemption for DD this year. Our district had never granted one before. We used the resumes of the AD and Asst. AD for proving that it would be "professional instruction". Should we bring up to the AD the fact that the uncredentialed teacher could put our PE exemption in jepordy?

 

EEEK and Nut auditions are coming up in 2 weeks.......not a great time to rock the boat.

 

Any feedback or advice would be greatly appreciated.

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  • Administrators

It is only one tech and pointe class out of 5 days? I say don't rock the boat. The PE dept. is not going to examine the credentials. And, a professional background is not an absolute essential to be a good teacher. If you trust the school and the directors, then trust them to provide the best education for your daughter. If you don't, then find a more professional school. Complaining about one teacher could create a LOT of problems.

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If you have a fairly good relationship with the director, I would suggest that you speak with her. I would not mention the teacher's "lack of qualifications", only that dd has enjoyed taking classes with AD before, and expected to continue with her. See how the director responds.

 

If you could give us more details about what exactly it is your dd dislikes about this teacher, you may get more advice. Could she tolerate the 2 classes/week with her? If not, is there an alternative studio?

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In my observation at a previous school, it was simply not a good thing for parents to complain about a particular teacher. In a small school this is very problematic. Unless you have an exceptional rapport with the AD, and have 100% confidence that it would never filter back to the teacher it simply is not worth it.

 

As dancingdaughters posted, if you could give a little feedback on the issues, maybe there could be some helpful advice about how your dd can overcome the specific issues in class.

 

We never complained about the teacher in our situation, but various others did. It always filtered back to the teacher, and created bad feelings - not just for the folks directly involved - but for other participants, too.

 

Yikes! I hope you can find a way to work through this. 40% is significant - it appears this would be 2 out of the 5 days?

 

mc

:angry:

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I can't answer to the teacher's qualifications, but I can say that the teacher my daughter was not happy with at 12 is her beloved mentor three years later.

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As I'm working this out in my head, I'm thinking that the five classes must be four technique and one Beg. Pointe, OR three technique and two pointe. I was thinking you might consider simply dropping the classes in question, but I see now that in either scenario that would mean no pointe at all. Probably not an acceptable solution.

 

It sounds as though you are stuck with this teacher, in which case probably the best thing is to simply realize that in life you get mostly decent teachers (or bosses, supervisors, employees, or whatever), a few paragons, and a few duds. As long as she isn't likely to cause actual harm, bear with her. Forty percent sounds like a lot, but in reality it's one day out of three or four.

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Is there one day of the week where your DD could take the tech class with the level below her current level and have the AD or assist AD teachers– this would decrease her time with the new teacher. Since your DD just got moved up hopefully this lower level class will still be challenging and increase the time she has with teachers she enjoys while decreasing the time she has to spend with the new teacher. You could make the request by saying the lower level class fits better into your DD’s schedule. Just a suggestion – good luck!

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Now that I've slept on this, I do have something to add.

 

If the problem has to do with the technical ability of the teacher, or something that feels unsafe in class, that is a different matter. If it is simply a personality conflict, working through it is my suggestion.

 

If there is a risk of injury, clearly you must deal with it in some way - Either by rearranging the schedule, or by direct discussion with the Director. However, as I mentioned in a previous post, because of past experience, I cannot imagine a good outcome. Essentially you are questioning the judgement of the Director in placing that person in such an important position - teaching first year pointe students. No matter how diplomatic you are, this is simply a difficult discussion to have - especially if you are dealing with someone who does not accept criticism well. You have not implied this is the case so ignore my comments if you are dealing with someone who can take it, and hold it in confidence.

 

All this to say....you cannot possibly OVER-analyze this situation. If this situation cannot be resolved to your satisfaction, you may need to consider other schools. I know this is a problem where you live, but you must consider the alternatives. In the end it may not be worth it to make waves at this time.

 

When I reach this point in a dilema, I usually reach for prayerful consideration. It is hard to get over being spooked when your confidence has been shaken, but it is not impossible.

 

I truly hope things turn out well.

 

mc

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Sleeping on these things definately helps. Thanks Ms. Leigh for your insight. I was more concerned that she will not advance much with this teacher, but with a great teacher for 3/5 classes and an okay teacher for 2/5 classes, she should be fine.

 

Teacher is not bad, just a college student who I don't feel has great credentials for me to be paying just as much for a class as the Asst. AD who has a BA in ballet and danced pro.

 

DD can't explain why she doesn't care for this teacher, but the other girls explain that she never smiles and looks mad all the time. Oh well.... :wacko:

 

We will just put :angry: on our faces and keep our mouths shut. DD can spend the classes with AD growing and the classes with other teacher perfecting :D

 

REALLY appreciate the advice. Helps us crazy moms put things back into perspective some times.

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This does give you good talking points about how and why we react to things. Also, it can give your dd an opportunity to look for things in her good class that she could apply in the not so good class.

 

It's tough when there is this sort of negativity. Maybe the two of you can think of a way to break it down. I hope all goes well this semester!

 

mc

:thumbsup:

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  • Administrators

Another thought here. Sometimes one's reaction to a teacher has to do with newness, and/or how the dancer did in the class the first few times and the teacher's reaction to her. Perhaps the teacher was new and nervous, and not confident enough to know how to create a rapport with the students. It could be that she will be much better this year, and your daughter could even end up liking her! :thumbsup:

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DD had the "less liked" teacher for all of last year. She taught one of her three tech classes. In talking to DD more, it seems that she is just "sour." Also, during recital time, she would change the choreography from week to week constantly, even changing what the other teachers had taught, then get upset when the girls didn't pick up the changes immediately.

 

However, on the bright side .... :P

 

We discussed how the class dynamics would be very different this year due to the change in level, and new upper level classmates that were not in her class last year. DD is excited about dancing with these older girls, and has decided to start fresh with the new year. :thumbsup:

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This really sounds more like a personality conflict than an actual deficiency in teaching. Your daughter needs to see how this year goes. You should definitely not rock the boat in the first few months. It will only cause bad feelings and could label you and your daughter as whiners.

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