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Should Teacher Pick up on Student's Physical Pain?


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Hello! I've been lurking for about 8 months and I'm finally posting a question. I have an issue that I'd like some input on. My daughter is 12 and has been dancing for about 4 years. Just this past month she started having pain in her foot when she landed a jump. The problem was that she didn't tell anyone. I observed the last 15 minutes of her class a few weeks ago and realized there was a problem. I questioned her in the car and she told me her foot hurt. Since then we have seen a doctor and she was diagnosed with tendonitis. She is off of ballet right now. I am concerned as to why the teacher did not pull her aside and ask her why she wasn't completing combinations. When I called her teacher to tell her of my daughter's injury she told me that she noticed that she wasn't doing the combinations but thought that she just couldn't get them. Is it unrealistic of me to think she should have pulled my daughter aside and asked her what the problem was? I know that the ultimate responsibility for taking care of her body lies with my daughter but given this is her first injury she didn't know that if something hurts to stop doing it. I'm just wondering if this should make me concerned about the instruction she is recieving or if this is just a lesson both my daughter and I learned the hard way. :shrug:

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Unless a student is visibly pained (limping, grimacing, weeping), or actually complaining of pain, a teacher has no way of reading the mind to determine the cause of her not completing an exercise. It has a way of coming on, too, so that a little slack-off early leads to a little larger slack-off later on, and so on incrementally. The teacher simply becomes used to seeing the student not perform, but not complain. Tell your daughter not to be so long-suffering. If it hurts, she must tell someone!

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Hello blueskies, welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers :wacko:


While I agree that teachers can't be mind readers, the students need to be told, or taught, that they should not dance injured, and to let the teacher know. I think I know my students well enough to know when, if they are not completing an exercise, that something must be wrong. But, there are some students who don't always get the combinations right away, especially the jumping combinations, and if it is one of those students, I might not realize an injury either, if she covered it well and never said anything. :thumbsup:

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Thanks for your input Ms. Leigh. In the past, my daughter has seemed to learn things quite quickly. But she was moved to a harder level this fall and was definitely being challenged. I guess it could have been that the teacher felt things were not coming as easy to her because of this and therefore didn't question her as to why she wasn't completing the combinations. I know that she will remember this lesson for the rest of her life. It's been a hard few weeks for her as she waits to heal.


I'm very thankful for Ballet Talk. I've learned so much! :wacko:

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It's a difficult issue, blueskies, because, if the student does not tell the teacher, and doesn't show pain, then it is very hard to know. I know which students will do it all and get the combinations, and which ones don't. So, if one of the ones who usually does it all full out and always gets the combinations suddenly doesn't, then I will know something is wrong. But, if one of the ones who normally takes a few days to get it, tries, but shows no pain, just doesn't get the combination, I would have a hard time knowing if she didn't tell me. But still, the teacher of children that age should be tuned in and should have told the students to tell her if there is something wrong. If that has happened, and the student doesn't do it, then it's not the teacher's fault.

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Yes, it is difficult. Actually, I find everything about ballet difficult! :) My dd loves ballet and until the past few years I was clueless about it. I've tried to do my own research on ballet to help her. Sometimes I feel like I am not able to guide her in the right direction because of my lack of knowledge. But up until this injury I didn't feel like my lack of knowledge was hurting her.


Anyway, thanks again for your input.

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Blueskies -


I'm with you on being clueless in balletdom. I can say that I'm learning more and more each day ...and much from the moms on this board. I wish someone would write the "Ballet parenting for Dummies" just for me.


This board is a trememdous help and one of the things I appreciate is that no question is a dumb question. There are many members who truly have stumbled the same path and are willing to share their experiences and wisdom.


Glad you're here and hope your daughter feels better soon.

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blueskies, my bet is that about 98% of the parents out there all started out knowing nothing, so don't feel you're alone.


However since you're on the road to find out more, here's a thread that is a sticky at the top of the Pre Professional Ballet School's General Discussion forum that you might find helpful to take a look at: Good Books. :)

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