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Missing class due to homework load


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About once every two weeks my dd needs to miss a night of dance due to her homework load. She is in 6th grade, which is the first year of middle school. She is in all gifted/excellerated classes. I am really proud of the effort she puts in trying to stay organized, and trying to balance everything. She does lots of homework and studying on the weekend, so that she won't have to do it during the week. But some nights her dance schedule is three hours of class, and if a teacher assigns a project or reading with very little turn around time, she will stay home to get it done. At the age of 11 I don't think it is smart for her to dance until 8:30 then come home for dinner and a shower and stay up until 11:30 to get it all done. I try to get her into bed no later than 10:00.


This came up because one of her teachers said that if you miss one class you can't be in recital. The teacher said homework is not a valid excuse for missing class. I don't think this is the position of the school. I am thinking of talking to the school director. I'm pretty mad. For anyone in a position of authority to suggest that something extracurricular should take priority over school is just outrageous.


I am open to suggestions of how to handle this.

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I think if I had a student missing class once every 2 weeks I would not allow them to take exams or dance in the recital either. Thats a lot of missed classes in a session. We allow 3 missed classes per session in order to remain eligible to remain in the program and participate in exams or performances.

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Let me clarify what I was saying. She is missing a class once every two weeks at most, and it is not always this teacher's class. This particular class is a modern class.

Our school has no stated policy regarding the number of absences. And she never misses a rehearsal. We don't do exams.

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then as a studio owner I would suggest she drop the modern class in order to make her schedule more regular or tell the teacher you will not sign her up for the recital if the teacher will allow her to take the class when her homework load is managable.

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Sorry I agree - that is too often to expect to take part in recitals etc. If it were once or twice a term (semester?) then OK as long as it wasn't at a crucial stage (i.e. immediately prior to a performance).


I agree that you'll have to reduce her regular hours or fit homework in elsewhere. Sorry :o

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Sixth grade is a tough year--my DD, who is in 6th grade, gets up at 6 AM to make a 6:58 AM bus, gets home at 2:45, and is at dance from 4:30-7:30 3 nights a week, and also on Saturday. I have kept her home to do homework on some days (see link to thread above), because there is just no way everything can get done, without keeping her up until very late. You do what you have to do--I agree with the posts above that you should touch base with the AD about what the modern teacher said about the recital and class attendance. At our studio, while consistent attendance is expected, there is no set policy about missing classes, and being able to perform in the recital. Of course, there is a strict policy about attending rehearsals.


You know what is best for your daughter--suggestions to drop a class to make the schedule more workable for an academically gifted child, makes a lot of sense. In the long run, academics are more important than a modern dance class (with all due respect to the lovely art form of modern dance!).

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I am a little surprised that the response has been more towards my daughter's absences, than towards the teacher's attitude. I think she may have missed this teacher's class three times this year. I suppose I should speak to the AD to see if I should take her out of the class. If he had said that if you miss three classes you can't be in the recital, I wouldn't have had this reaction. But he expects zero absences.

But ultimately I don't think I want her in a class with an authority figure who would teach her that her education should ever come in second place to anything extracurricular.

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trythis--as one who has begun helping a friend run her front desk at her school until she finds a new long term manager and has been in one or the other dance school with my children for over 17 years now.... I understand your frustration, however, ask that you consider the teachers themselves and the expectations the school must enforce. If they get into the whys a student misses rather than just the absense itself they are in for a handful of issues. I think it is better for them to take a hard stance and then expect you to do what you will. She is your child and you have to do what is best for her. Missing recital is not the end of the world likely. The reason for a stern stand is: what constitutes a good excuse? and to take it further, how many times can this excuse be used acceptably? Illness, a visit to Greece, tired, homework, a party all are reasons the teacher has to deal with. Your assumption that something is wrong would only work if every parent went in and told the truth about why their child was missing and just took the punches for it whatever reason they gave. But that is not the case in many, many of the cases. Many folks will pick the excuse they believe the teachers will accept without question. Yes, we are our own worst enemy alot of times. So while you may not be willing to compromise yourself by being dishonest, don't negate the other 50% of the studio who just might. DD had one dance teacher who choreographed all dancers out of sections of the recital dance if they missed. They were still in the piece, but not on stage during what was learned that day. She said it was the best of both worlds, she didn't have to chastise a student for missing while she was choreographing and the student still got to dance. Guess what happened though, once a child was written out of a section....they never missed again and learned to prioritize and organize because what was taught in their absense was always "the coolest part". It was alot of work on her behalf but worked for her.


Let's see, I've only been at this particular school desk 1 1/2 months and already had my eyes open wide and lost much of my belief that everyone who walks up is honest about missing and why. I understand the reason, well not really but I accept the reason that some will say anything to avoid the loss of some special privilege. My biggest issue is those who come up and say my child had two field trips and couldn't come so why do I have to pay tuition? Well, let's see if you vacation for a month in June do you still have to pay your mortgage or receive a stiff penalty? I don't say it, but that is what is going through my head.


The school should globally discourage missing class since being in class is important to the student. That doesn't mean your dancer can't miss, but I think to expect them to be okay with it is a different story. If missing for homework is what needs to happen then do it. But realize that someone who said it was homework was at the local rock concert and said homework. Then the kids make no bones about sharing that with each other so the kid who missed for homework's parents are angry at the one who missed for the rock concert. So a stance of "no excuse is a good excuse" might be the best way to handle it from a business perspective.


The school's have a hard row to hoe in this. Over my years working with a high school dance group I learned that hurt feelings happened when my personal beliefs got into the "missing class" equation. So I devised "Get out of Jail Free cards" for them. Each dancer got a few. 1-2 gotta be late with no question cards, 1-2 miss rehearsal cards, I think there was a a wild card also and the kids names were put on each card which was laminated. I really asked no questions if they handed me a card that was my pledge to them. But in exchange they got absolutely no excused absenses without a card. The kids loved them, but rarely used them since they kept saving them for some big event at the end of the year. They learned from them as well, to organize their time since they HAD to give me a card in advance of an absense or on the 1st return from an absens. They learned that not every excuse is really a good one, they kept saving the cards for a good one. If they turned the cards in to me unused at the end of the year, I gave them a special gift. The cards didn't work the rehearsal before a performance or for the week prior to our competitions. But in exchange, I no longer had to choose between a "sort of" sick child, a child with a big test, a child who wanted to go to the Coldplay concert or the child whose parents won a free trip to Rome for the 3rd time that year and felt that this was educationally a more sound reason for missing than the next child's front row seats and backstage pass to see whoever was the rock star at the moment. It leveled the playing field and hurt feelings stopped. While this "get out of jail free card" would likely not work in a studio, what you have run up against is the teacher taking the same stance, and that is no excuse is a good excuse here.


Since I have to make the calls when a dancer misses the 2nd class, it is amazing what I hear in the background of a "very sick child". Let's see.......soccer games, football games, Thank you for shopping at Walmart followed by mom why is Ms. Susie calling you? ahh, sick IN Walmart. Then, honey are you ready the concert starts in 5 minutes...... But for your particular example, your daughter will in fact have homework every night so is the expectation that whenever she needs to miss it's okay because it's her education? I do think one absense every two weeks is too much to expect the teacher to be okay with, not just your teacher, any teacher. That doesn't mean you change and make dance more important than school, but you accept that it is what it is and work within the system by teaching organizational skills, how important dance will be and when it's taking precedence stops for your family.

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Not to pile on, but it really is a perfect teaching moment for your daughter's life skills: No one can do everything all the time. Choices have to be made. Sometimes, choices have to be made every day. It is a fact of life.


Non-dd, a junior in high school, has had to face that life lesson just recently. Granted it is a lesson she's had to face over and over again over the years, but this time it just seems so, so , . . . ." Unfair, hrrrmph! "

(says she :wub: ). She is an elite-level athlete, involved in a club sport for which she leaves school an hour early each day, practices 5 hours daily during the week and 3 on Saturday. She's done this for, literally, years. She also participates in the high school's season for this sport---but her high school coach credits her for her club practice, and in exchange, she goes to 5:30 a.m. practice three times a week and afternoon practice once a week plus meets.


As a junior looking toward college, she wants to be involved in high school clubs. She has worked out a couple that interest her and that she figured out she could participate in without compromising her club sport practice schedule (with an occassional conflict). As a junior, there is a very special activity that only juniors do that is a BIG event each year and used to raise prom money. It is a real honor (and so very cool) to participate in this. She desperately wanted to do so along with her group of friends. They worked it out so that she would have a limited role and thus wouldn't have as many attendance commitments. Well, as things go on, more rehearsals are being called, nerves are running high (it's an adjudicated sketch deal), mandatory rehearsal decrees are being implemented (all within the student group), and conflicts are arising right and left.


Non-dd called me (as she walked to her car from school to head to club practice) and wanted to discuss her problem: How to resolve the conflict between high school diving, club diving, and this special junior activity. I let her hash it out, listened as she went through all the scenarios, and which excuses she could give to which coach or activity leader and then I told her: "Kiddo, you will simply have to choose. It does sound like you are in over your head in time commitments and you can't be three places at once. I know you really want to do the junior activity, but you simply may not be able to. People have to make choices all the time. We can't always do everything we want. I think you are at that point now."


I know she was going to talk to the junior activity leader to see if there was any wiggle room for her attendance in these now mandatory rehearsals. I don't know how that worked out.


One of daughter's potential fix-it scenarios was to tell the high school coach she was sick (which she is, with a cold, the type that really makes you tired and sleepy), and then go to the junior activity rehearsal. I told her that wouldn't cut it with the high school coach: if she's too sick to come to practice, she shouldn't be at another school activity.


But in the end, it is much like your daughter's. She would like to take modern and be in the recital piece AND she would like to take the more academically challenging courses, but those courses require more of her discretionary time. Well, either decision she makes is perfectly fine. But, she does need to understand that IF she wants to be in the modern recital piece, there are obligations that go with that. Rehearsals are not the only place the modern students are learning what they need for the piece. They learn technique every week in class. By learning that technique, they are then able to handle the specific choreography set for the recital piece. By not being in class week after week after week, your daughter is simply not learning (muscle memory) the technique requisite for the upcoming choreography. So, she really won't be in a position to be included.


Choices. Unfortunately, we all have to make them. And they all have consequences associated with them. But, that doesn't mean they shouldn't have to be made.


Best wishes to your daughter on hers! :thumbsup::devil:

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I agree with all that is said above, but am sympathetic to trythis's point that part of the issue was the apparent arbitrary nature of the dance instructor's comment regarding missing classes and being in the recital.


Clear policies about class attendance and recital opportunities should be laid out so there are no surprises. THen, dancers will know what they are trading off by missing a class for whatever reason.

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I think she may have missed this teacher's class three times this year.

I am symphathetic also, if my post came across as unsympathetic it was unintended. But was this arbitrary or was this was to be the 4th absense and a teacher who meant if you miss one more class? It is only November, so if this is the 3rd or 4th absense in as many months then the teacher has a responsibility to address it especially if an extra class is required of the dancers outside of ballet and other students attend more regularly. Maybe more tact was needed and a more clear cut policy needed as well. But not being in the modern piece in exchange for good grades is a choice I would make while understanding the teacher's position.


The teachers who teach other classes at Ballet oriented schools have problems in general with attendance in their classes. It is the "other" classes that children will miss because they are not attached to company casting or favor in the ballet teachers eye. Just as teachers in Jazz based schools have trouble with dancers missing ballet, the extra but required class. Would the ballet teacher allow 3-4 absenses in a 3-4 months without saying something? The policy does need to be written in stone, but I'm not seeing arbitrary in the description of what occured. If I'm wrong in reading the original post, I hope trythis will let me know that this was in fact the 1st absense and not the 4th as described here. That may be why she's surprised at our response.


We all have to make choices for our children, and learning from those choices can sometimes be tough.

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I do understand your frustrations but I still believe that the instructor was right in what he said - although perhaps it could have been done more tactfully, it's hard to say.


There is nothing more frustrating than teaching something new one week and having to re-teach it the following week because somebody had missed the original class. It's not fair to the students that were there and is a waste of a class. Even if it's not the actual recital work and they don't use a syllabus as such presumably some of the same exercises are covered from one week to the next - and even if they're not there could have been a long time spent going through how to do a particular step which would then need to be repeated for your daughter.


You say that your daughter has missed 3 classes this year - do you mean 2008? In which case fair enough, that's not excessive. Or do you mean this school year? - since August/September? In which case that really is a lot as it's only November now.


You are clearly annoyed with the Instructor but don't take it as him telling them that dance is more important than education. He is simply demonstrating that full commitment is required - which it is and enormous problems are caused through student absences. If you can't get your daughter to the class virtually every week then don't have her do it.

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I am sure that all are sympathetic with these tough issues--sorry, I did not mean to imply any lack of sympathy on anyone's part. I was trying to address what I think was a major part of the concern voiced by of the original poster, which was the (perceived or real) lack of communication between the teacher and dancer-parent. However one views absences from class (zero tolerance or more flexible) it is nice to have a clearly stated general policy towards it so parents and dancers can make informed choices without hurt feelings in the end.


I think an entire thread could be created on communication between teachers-dancers-parents. Sometimes it seems like that old game we played as kids, when one whispered something in your ear, and you passed it along. By the time it got to the last person, the statement was completely unrecognizable! Sometimes I feel this is how communication occurs in our dance studio.

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I am very sympathetic to the issue of homework with little turn-around time. Last year, my daughter had weekly homework, which allowed us to schedule homework time where it fit during the week and on weekends. This year, it switched to daily homework, which sometimes did not fit into the schedule. I explained to the teacher that dd was having to choose between her other commitments and homework because she was too tired after her scheduled activity to be able to do the homework efficiently by the next day and really learn from it. Fortunately the teacher was understanding, and was willing to give her more time to do the work once she understood the actual demands of dd's schedule, which days the work could fit, and which days it was really difficult to have time and energy. Maybe at least some of your child's teachers would be willing to work with you to allow her to get work done over the next weekend or give her the work the Friday beforehand if she needs to do it ahead. Academics are important, but it's also important that homework shouldn't be so heavy or scheduled so last minute that it costs kids in terms of sleep and health.

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