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Multiple ballet teachers vs single teacher

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DanceDaddy

Unfortunately, my daughter ended up with 4 different teachers at various times, teaching 2 classes in prep for her exam. I would be okay with that if they focused on different things. But, it has really turned into a lot of conflicting information. So 1 teacher will say "releve on beat 8" and the other will say "hop on beat 8".

I know nothing about ballet, but I know this has caused confusion! My dd will do fine on her exam.

There will need to be some consistency from the teachers in the future!

 

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Noodles

Parent of a dd over 13 here...we left a studio because she was having 5 different teachers over 6 days per week. The lack of consistency was the problem, and lots of conflicting information does not help a dancer grow and improve (in my opinion)

Now she has two teachers who complement each other every well and always know what is going on in class. The growth has been incredible.

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DanceDaddy

Out of curiosity, what age was DD when you did that?

Personally, I think it's VERY important when they are younger to have a consistent message. But, I cringe at the thought of next year (DD will be 10) having to go through this again.

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ballet1310

another parent of over 13 but I think we have some perspective to help the parents of under 13....  I agree with Noodles, too many teachers leaves the student confused, always trying to please whichever teacher they have etc.  It's one of the "issues" I believe we have in the US regarding training but that's another thread :)    

dancedaddy, do you have access to a school that has more consistent training?    Also was it a RAD exam ?   

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DanceDaddy

We're starting to do some research. Supposedly, they are hiring a new teacher next year. And I'm hoping that my DD gets her consistently. If this inconsistency continues next year, then we will need to make a change. Even with DD having friends there.

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Noodles

The studio that dd was at had always had a variety of teachers but usually she had 3. Once it got up to 5 (age 13 and 14) she was extremely frustrated by the different opinions and teaching by the various teachers. We left this fall when she was 15. Truth be told, she told me when she was 14 that this studio was not working for her but we stayed another year for various reasons.

 

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DanceMumNYC

I'm in a similar situation and need some advice.

My dd has ballet 2 days per week. A week or so before the school year began, parents were notified that each day would have a different teacher. We were also told that in the spring semester (Jan.-May), the "day 2" teacher would change. I didn't think having 3 teachers in a year would be ideal, as dd always had only 1 ballet teacher per year. But it didn't bother me too much because there was still some sort of consistency in having the same "day 1" teacher all year, and the "day 2" teachers would each be there for a full semester. 

The problem is that the "day 1" teacher is affiliated with a prof company, and she's been out for weeks at a time. In the fall, she was out here- and-there, but in the spring semester, she's been out so much that they have the sub more than her. They have the same sub each time she's out, but the sub is now teacher #4 for the year. The sub is great, but parents are very upset. If the school knew that the regular teacher couldn't commit to the full school year, then why did they give her the job? Why didn't they just make the sub permanent for "day 1" since the beginning of the year, or at least for the spring semester? Having 4 teachers is a lot, but parents and students would've been happier if there were 2 teachers in the fall and 2 other teachers in the spring rather than having the "day 1" teacher alternate with the sub every few weeks. 

All of this also affects the year-end performance. The "day 2" teacher cannot choreograph something due to scheduling (the class ends when the school closes, so there can't be a rehearsal added on day 2). Since the "day 1" teacher has become inconsistent, they had to bring in a 5TH person for rehearsals on "day 1" to choreograph a piece.

Another thing is that parents were never notified about any of this (the need for a sub for weeks at a time or the choreographer being brought in). We all found out through our kids after class. Now, some parents are looking to see who takes the kids down to the studio and keep track of how often we have the sub. 

What are your thoughts on all of this? Do you think we should say something to the school?

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DanceDaddy

Yes, and it maybe easier if it is a group of parents.

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DanceMumNYC

Thank you, I was thinking that it may be easier that way. But I also don't want the school staff to feel "attacked" by so many parents complaining at once. Also, I mentioned this to my dd and she doesn't want me to get involved. She said she's "scared they'll be mad at her." I know some studios have taken parents' actions out on their kids. I don't think this will necessarily be the case, but I hope she isn't penalized in some small way if I decided to speak up. Would it be healthier to go as an individual? 

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dancemaven

Yes, I would go as an individual and just inquire as to the long-range plans for the scheduling.  Then, depending on the AD’s answer, you can make a decision whether this school will or won’t continue to meet the needs of your student.  In the end, the parents do NOT run the school or make school policy; that is up to the owner and/or AD.  So, once the policy is stated, there is really nothing you, as a parent, can do to change it.  Those policies are made, for better or worse, by the owner and/or AD and reflect what they think is best for their personal business vision.

I would not get riled up or start an uproar.  I would simply endeavor to find out what the long-range plans are for scheduling, the philosophy behind the scheduling and then using that knowledge decide whether to stay or go—-quietly and without rancor and without stirring the pot (or the parents’ lobby).  The exit explanation, should that become the decision, is simply “I am just following what I think my DD/family needs are at this time.  Thank you for everything you’ve done for her.” :)

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DanceMumNYC

Thank you for your input. I wouldn’t let this particular situation affect our decision to be at this school. This is the first (and hopefully last) year we had to deal with multiple/inconsistent teachers. But the way everything was handled makes me concerned and I’d like to share those concerns with the school.  I honestly didn’t consider speaking to the AD. I was going to speak with the school’s coordinator/director, who is our direct person of contact and main line of communication. 

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dancemaven

I only meant to discuss it with whomever is in charge.  For DD’s home studio, it was the AD.  It is just whatever person answers to whatever title in your school for those decisions.  Your school’s coordinator/director would be that person, it appears.  :)  Best wishes.

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DanceMumNYC

Thank you! 

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lyricalp

This is an interesting topic. My daughter has had one teacher consistently through her four years. This teacher is excellent and focuses deeply on form, and of course movement tends to be slower in lower levels. 

However, in her two ballet intensives and subbed and makeup classes thus far, she has had the opportunity to experience other teachers’ styles and teaching methods. They have different bodies, different speeds, and sometimes different or alternative meaning in terminology. 

She just adjusts and absorbs the new methods, and enjoys the variety. 

I think as long as the ballet method is not  different in essence, once they have some solid technique, it is probably a good thing. 

Younger children who cling to familiarity might have trouble adjusting, but my daughter has never had trouble with acclimating. She often wishes she could have those different teachers sometimes during the year for new types of choreography and to change up routine. 

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Sunnygirl

I think four teachers is excessive.  On a weekly basis I think the teaching style would need to be very consistent.  It has caused problems with my daughter over the years when she's had multiple teachers.  She would say that one teacher says I should do it this way and one says I should do it another way.  She got to where she had to dance all kinds of different ways to please the teacher she was with. While this made her quicker at learning and applying corrections, I don't  think it helped her get ahead. She is currently at a school with two teachers that are on the same page and she's really flourished. The consistency has helped her advance very rapidly.

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