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Ballet Talk for Dancers

SI supervision and discipline issues


Avalon

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Avalon,

 

Stick to your principles and gut instinct! :thumbsup: It seems that most of my stories revolve around 18 yo non ds but I also pulled the plug on an activity after he did not live up to our expectations of behavior. When he was 13, he was supposed to fly to see his best friend for his birthday after we had moved to another city. Not only did he not believe that I would watch the money up in thin air but many of my friends thought I was too harsh. He learned that we will not reward bad behavior the hard way; we let him know he disappointed us, himself and his best friend. How did it turn out? He is a young adult and still learning but he graduated from high school a couple of weeks ago. I cannot begin to count the number of times I have heard what a fine young man he is! He is off to a very good college with a scholarship. It takes time and committment and a lot of love but consistent and enforced expectations do pay off!

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Careful! Avalon has mentioned her "DK", which could be either a DS or a DD (and I changed my post above to reflect that). I would hate to cast aspersions on either sex, as we all know that either one can get into trouble equally easily -- and either one can act responsibly, for that matter. Whether DS or DD, I still say Avalon's DK acted very maturely.

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It's not just the boys who push the envelope. Talented girls with bad attitudes out of control will push the envelope even more than the boys in my experience.

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Our family also had an experience like this a couple of years ago. First time summer school for my DD and the thrill of her first mobile (cell) phone. We got lots of short calls during meal breaks and just put this down to the novelty of having her phone. General news and a few complaints that she felt she was in a group too low for her abilities, nothing too dramatic though.

 

However, after a couple of days we got a tearful call at about 11.00 pm. Would we go and pick her up straight away, she couldn't bear it any longer. As this was several hours drive we said no way immediately, we would talk in the morning and decide then.

 

She carried on to say that she couldn't get any sleep - I could actually hear the riot going on in the background. Although the students were supposed to be in bed and lights out earlier, everyone was up, running around and there was total mayhem. I told her to go to the house mother (equivalent to your RA?)and put her on the phone. I told her how unhappy I was with the situation, and she promised to enforce discipline better. My DD was given a single quiet room for the night, and the following morning after a good sleep she decided she would like to stay. From then on she enjoyed the course. She did report that bad behaviour continued for several nights and that eventually the director went up to the dorms and laid down the law.

 

I had wondered whether to post this on the thread about tearful phone calls - I'm sure often its made worse by lack of sleep, due to new surroundings and possibly to much going on.

 

Our children are precious to us, so yes I think parents should intervene if there are any doubts about what is happening.

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mylildancer

Avalon, I was not making any judgemental statements about your DK. Never would I do such a thing lest someone would want to judge mine. :thumbsup:

I was only making a general statement because it always seems to be the same complaint my DD makes summer after summer.

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mylildancer,

 

No offense taken at all. I have been very careful with gender issues here, as Treefrog noted, because I, too, am sensitive to the judgements that are often made about male dancers. DK in this situaiton is indeed my son, and having had a son in dance for seven years I have learned some of the ropes the hard way. It is often the perception that boys in dance "get away with murder." I have heard this loudly from other parents, for example, when DS was promoted, or given a piece in the Nut that had been previously reserved for guest artists. I saw some of this behavior myself in some of the male dancers at RDA. I was also trying to protect the privacy of the other dancers involved, and since I had referred to "mixed gender" incidents, this identified some of them as female.

 

My husband and I have always reinforced the idea with DS (perhaps ad nauseam) that his success with his company depends in large measure on his reputation as a hard working and respectful gentleman. As with swanchat, we often hear what a great young man he is. The current experience is certainly disappointing to us in terms of his behavior, but he appears to have been given full lattitude to exercise his bad judgement by the near total absence of supervision. And yes, vagansmom, we learned in our conversation with her today that the RA is a young student taking classes in the program as well. I will certainly explore whether she is being overseen by a more experienced and mature person. My husband inquired of her what were the rules about boys and girls being in rooms together and she said, "It is no problem if the door is open." Husband then quoted the rules directly: No male visitors in the dorm rooms except parents or siblings. He asked that this be enforced as stated in our signed contract.

 

And LMCtech - you don't know how on target you are! DS has totally been taken in by an apparently very troubled, unscrupulous, dramatic teen who has no intention of observing the rules. It was she at his door with her "crisis" on the first night of classes that initiated the whole series of events. There have been other grossly inappropriate infractions that I cannot share here.

 

We are now trying to make arrangements for the unexpected travel back to the SI Friday evening to pick up DS for the weekend. While there, we may ask to examine the sign-out records of the RA, as it is clearly stated that students must sign out and sign back in when they leave the dorm and return. DS has been out to dinner and to several other locations and has never, to the best of our knowledge, signed out or in with his RA. As I've said before, I feel stupid and negligent for not looking more carfully before we lept into the SI experience. Thanks, Fendrock, for the link to a similar thread. I will read it very carefully now that I am in the midst of this.

 

Oh, and mylildancer - one other thing: My own DS complains about his male roommates in much the same way as your DD does. Again, no offense taken.

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balletbooster

Avalon, are there any written rules about being in a group of 2 or 3 when they sign out? I think this also makes it harder for one to sort of go off on their own, doing what they should not and/or to forget to sign out! And, of course, there is safety in numbers! :( Many programs have such a rule and I just wonder if this program has that rule or is simply not enforcing it?

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dancerdriver

I don't know if I agree that the boys get away with murder. At each SI my son has attended there were students expelled for breaking the rules, and they were always boys. And I know of a residency program that threw out 6 boys weeks before a performance for breaking rules. And my son was in a program last summer that had very loose adherence to the rules and far too little supervision but it was not only boys who were breaking rules.

 

As parents we must be realistic about a summer away from home. Dancers are teens too and it is a normal thing for them to push the envelope and experiment and being away from home provides more opportunity. It puts the responsibility on us as parents to know what is going on and take action if necessary, like Avalon very properly did. But committed dancer or not, they are teens first and open communication and standards are more important when they are away. They will grow from their experience and learn from their mistakes but is very upsetting to be wondering what is happening.

 

This summer my son is in a very strict environment and has not left campus except for chaperoned trips. I am happier but I know that each year older brings new temptations.

 

Be brave and know what is happening. Everything will be fine.

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mylildancer

Thank you Avalon for not taking offense. Sometimes I will post something assuming that it will be taken in the light hearted way that it was meant. I do need to be a little more careful. Hopefully I didn't offend other parents of young men for both DD and I know more than a few male dance students and dancers alike and they are all wonderful people and gentlemen! :(

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Avalon, I know exectly how right I am. I was the administrator whose office those out-of-line kids ended up in. 75% of the time they were girls not boys. When I had boys show up in my office my boss (male) would but the fear of false accusation into their heads. You know the he-said-she-said-he-gets-sent-home-even-though-he-didn't-do-anything-accept-tick-off-a-queen-bee situation. We told the boys they had to protect themselves by never putting themselves in a compromising or questionsable situation.

 

We usually had the most militant of the chaperones assigned to the boys and the "nicest" one assigned to the 13 yr old girls. That also seemed to help situations. We also only used non-dancing chaperones and preferably parents.

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  • Administrators
Victoria Leigh

We have a "3 strikes and you're out" policy....EXCEPT when it comes to anything illegal, like drugs or alcohol, and then it's ONE strike and you're out. That is spelled out and stated loud and clear in the first meeting at the dorm, and the first day at the school. What the kids don't seem to realize is that there are more people than chaperones paying attention to these kids. They talk in Starbucks and they are VERY likely to be overheard by someone connected to WSB staff. Some of the male students learned that today and received a major warning....from me! Our chaperones, and especially our head chaperone, are "Nazis" when it comes to enforcing the rules! :thumbsup: I call the head chaperone "Sargeant", as she has been with us for several years and really lays down the law.

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mylildancer

Ms. Leigh, I'm chuckling over your post because my DD complained to me last night that she has to call one of her RAs "Sir". :thumbsup:

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Summer and teens is always a scary combination for parents whether their child is at home or across the country. I am actually feeling that my DD is safer at her SI because she does have good rules to follow and she feels so privilaged to be there that she wouldn't want to mess up. However, I will be very upset if she isn't following the travel in 3's rule, etc. And, I have learned from my oldest that teens will always surprise us with their poor judgement!

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  • Administrators
Victoria Leigh

Yes, that is what the first strike was for yesterday. Two girls out without a third, and they also forgot to sign out. They were 17 and 18, but still, rules are rules.

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Ms. Leigh,

 

DS was injured and missed the audition for your school. Can I tell you now how sorry I am after reading your last two posts? If we survive this, perhaps I can send him to WSB next summer and actually have a few restful nights. I am grateful to know that some directors have your no-nonsense attitude.

 

Thanks, LMCtech, for your reflections and experiences. They are similar to my own in this situation.

 

Husband is making plans to arrive at SI just after Saturday's class ends to bring DS home for a holiday weekend - and for some intensive conversation about expectations and judgement. I am "trusting my gut" here and something is defintiely amiss.

 

Many thanks to all for your support and encouragement.

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