Blanche Posted July 25, 2013 Report Share Posted July 25, 2013 I have been letting this incident settle for a few days, but I still am at a loss as to how to proceed... At the end of each year (June), in the letter which notifies parents of their student's placement for the following year, comments are included, along with a note that says something to the effect of, "please direct any questions you have to your child's teacher." At the end of every year for the past three years (since starting pointe), older DD's comments always mention that they are concerned about the "stiffness" in her left ankle. Our studio, as another parent once put it, is "all about the feet," and DD does not have the wonky feet that many others have. Obviously, as the studio has allowed her on pointe and promoted her each year for the past three years (this year to a "pro" level which requires her to leave school early), her feet must be good enough. We have even had evaluations done by two physical therapists, both with extensive dance credentials (one is PT to a number of local companies and the "local" PT for several big companies when they are in town on tour; the other trained at SAB, has a sister and daughter who were/are professional dancers, and has trained at Harkness). Both of them told DD that her feet were "beyond adequate" for pointe work, and that she does not have any physical limitations that would prevent her from successful training and dancing. They both suggested the "usual" foot strengthening/articulation exercises, telling her the better she can use her feet the better they will look. Again this year, she got the same comment. She asked me if I could find out what they (the studio) suggested she should do to improve since she didn't feel that she got specific corrections during the year, just the same comment. I asked at the office who I should speak to since she had three different teachers this past year, and if I should meet with or without DD (she just turned 15, so I have been nudging her toward asking her own questions). I was told that her main teacher was the school principal and that I should talk to her and that it would be fine for me to talk to her first and then have a second meeting with DD, if necessary. The meeting was on Tuesday, and it quickly took a very strange turn. I told her teacher I wanted to discuss her evaluation, particularly what DD could do to work on her feet. She corrected me to say, "foot--it's just her left foot." So I asked what she suggested DD do to improve what they are calling the "stiffness" in her foot. She said that there was nothing DD could do. I asked if strengthening or stretching might help, and if so which one. She then said that she works to the best of her ability, and that her left foot will never improve; it is what it is. At this point, I was a little taken aback, so I reiterated the information as a question, "So there is nothing she can work on or do?" Her response was that DD is clearly in constant pain. I asked for clarification saying that DD had never complained of pain on a regular basis, and on the occasion she did (has been maybe once or twice a year), we have had it checked out, but that it has never been her left foot. She then said that she is indeed in constant pain and that all of her teachers are aware of this. I said, "then why isn't she telling me? She has told me about other aches and pains." She said, "well, why would she tell you? She's not going to tell you that!" She went on to say that they know that she is in such pain that it is only a matter of time before the pain becomes so unbearable that she can no longer dance. I was at a loss for words at that point, thanked her for her time and quickly left, feeling like she had not only questioned my parenting but also implied that my child was keeping a secret from me/lying. My concerns are that, given this conversation, the current studio has written her off and that even though the ballet training has been extremely good, there is an attitude that is not conducive to excellent overall training from a psychological perspective, at least for my daughter. In our texts Tuesday evening, I asked DD sort of vaguely about pain/discomfort, and she said, "noooooo.....why?" I told her that her year round teachers think that she's always in pain. She wondered if she makes "weird" faces during class. I will add that she had already texted me multiple times around the beginning of week 4 of her SI that her right ankle was a little swollen but didn't hurt, and which classes should she sit out of, and what should she do as far as icing, etc. Normally this is the child who screams that her toe is broken when she stubs it, so I have a hard time believing that she could be in constant pain and not show it. I am not sure at this point what to do. I am highly disappointed that the studio has this attitude, but I got the impression that they have their opinions and that's it. Since there is no one higher up at the school to speak with, I don't know if I should schedule another meeting to clarify, or if I should try to speak with another one of her teachers (though I don't want to appear to be either pitting one teacher against another or looking for validation of my own point). If I do schedule another meeting, should DD be there to "defend" herself, or will they just say that she won't be honest in front of me? DD doesn't know the details of the conversation, and I do not plan on sharing them with her. I am trying not to feel offended that they have implied that I do not know my own child, but I am feeling a little "mama bear-ish" in that it is my job to look out for my child. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated as maybe I am not seeing the "big" picture. Quote Link to comment
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