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nynydancer

Need wise words-- weird comment from SI teacher

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nynydancer

My DD13 called to tell me that one of her SI teachers, one who is known to be a little salty, looked her in the eye and said she wouldn't be a professional dancer.  It's a well known SI, and we were actually considering it for year round.  My DS15 has an offer with them.  

Now so far she has had nice feedback from other teachers at the SI, she is there in scholarship, but she is only 13 and a comment like that really hurt her confidence.  I don't believe a kid needs constant stroking and positive words, but this was a comment that's kinda hard to ignore.  It was made in the middle of class.  She's had tough teachers before, but no one has ever flat out said this.  I had to remind her of all of the teachers who do believe in her, and that I believe in her, but now she wonders if everyone was just being nice and this teacher is just being honest.

I need some wise words to tell DD beyond @#$!#@ her teacher.  I am a little surprised.  And disappointed.  Is this just a tactic meant to toughen kids up or is it normal for teachers to issue verdicts like this?  I think she's had her 3 times in 3 weeks.   My logic tells me to ignore.

This is her third SI and she's had some tough teachers, but no ones ever said anything like this.

 

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Noodles

WOW! Just wow. 

How terribly harsh, your poor kid, I am so sorry. 

I suggest that you read  The Periwinkle Dress if you have not already.

I am not even sure that story fits...but it is a good example about how everyone views things through their own personal lens.

I can not even imagine what would posses an adult to say that to a child that she obviously does not even know. Your kiddo deserves so much better than that.

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slhogan

It's so difficult when our kids report things to us, but we weren't there to hear it ourselves.  A teacher can say one thing and the student hear something else.  For example, the teacher may say something like, "If you don't start taking corrections better, you'll never be a professional dancer" and all the student remembers is "You'll never be a professional dancer".  

It could be that this statement was part of a larger thought that actually shows that the teacher actually sees professional potential in your daughter.  It could also be that this teacher is a jerk.  It's difficult to know from a distance.  

Regardless, your daughter received a scholarship. She is getting good feedback from other teachers.  I recommend just ignoring it.  Over the next five years on her path to professional, your daughter is going to hear a lot of praise and confidence-building words, and she's going to hear things that make her cry.  You just take what motivates you and leave the rest behind.

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Mathilde

I'm sorry this happened. It sounds like you said all the right things to her.

Did your DD provide any context?

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mcjagger

slhogan, That's really good advice. A professional training path is definitely a learning curve and some of it not comfortable, as I am learning.

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nynydancer

Okay thanks guys, I appreciate the feedback.  I am less annoyed now and also less inclined to take this comment as the be all end all of verdicts.   I am also a little less inclined to accept the year round offer, but we'll see how the remaining weeks go.

I asked her exactly what she said-- honestly my assumption at first was that she heard wrong.  She said it was during some class corrections.  The teacher then looked at HER in her eyes and said she would not be a professional, but maybe she can be a teacher.  I was like, are you SURE, and DD believes strongly she was speaking to her because she was looking at her directly when she said that.  She is not sure what she did wrong, as she is trying very hard in class.  She is the youngest and smallest in her level so maybe the teacher thinks she is a very teeny older person and thus unlikely to be a dancer????   Then a classmate later told her this same teacher was making fun of DD's bun after class.   The bun comment doesn't actually offend me or her-- she does have a big bun on her small head, but it doesn't seem like DD is this lady's shade of Periwinkle (love that post btw).  It could also be it was just a thoughtless remark meant for the class, but decided to stare at DD because of her crazy bun.  This teacher is not a native english speaker, that could be it too.  Regardless, it just seems like a stupid comment to a kid, or even a group of kids who are working very hard at a 6 week intensive.

So we've agreed to heck with her and take the nuggets she can get from her and move on.  Well easier said than done, but I will stick to that story.

As you say Slhogan, if she stays on this path, it's going to get wilder so better to develop a thick skin.  

Thanks all for support and perspective.   You guys are really great!

 

 

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mom2two

I particularly like the recent article from dance magazine that outlines the differences between a strict teacher and an actual bully.  The type of behavior you describe definitely falls in the bully category.  I wouldn't let this comment color your DD's overall good experience.  

https://www.dancemagazine.com/bullying-teachers-2581811648.html

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labrador

Nynydancer,

 I don’t want to digress into discussing the supernatural. I just haven’t seen clear evidence that people can fortell the future, except for unique circumstances.

I believe some of the seasoned members of this forum know of a good number of dancers who were written off by teachers. 

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clara99

My daughter has had a few instructors over her many years of various master classes and intensives that have been very "salty" to her in this same exact way. It motivates her even more to succeed to prove these people wrong. One particular "salty" teacher she has had for many years, and in a way she thinks she says stuff like that to push her buttons to see what she is made of because she sees potential in her. Actually, there have been several times she was very kind to her. Its like a "love/hate" relationship. My DD just copes and it makes her better. It is cruel, but the dancer HAS to truly believe in themselves after the initial pain of the words pass to be successful. Sorry your DD experienced this sort of thing too. 

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cat11

I have a slightly different angle to consider, and that is for your older DD and her consideration of accepting a position into the year-round program of this school.  If this teacher is part of the year round program, and not a guest teacher, then there may be a culture at the school that you want to dig a little deeper into before committing.  My own DD had an experience with a "salty" teacher in a summer program, then ended up having a few friends accept positions into the year round program, only to learn that the "salty" side of this teacher really got rolling during the school year.  The bigger issue was that this seemed to be an acceptable approach for other teachers in the program as well, who were more on their 'best behavior' during the summer.

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ballet1310

Nynydancer,  there are many tough ballet teachers but this ones comments are neither helpful, nor inspiring.  I would call the bun comment plain old nastiness. As we talk about a lot here, it’s a lesson in life that you are going to have to deal with nasty people .... Tell your dd tk keep her chin up and try to ignore and keep working hard 💗

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MelissaGA

Mine was told the same thing a few years ago, that she would not dance but would be an excellent teacher.  I believe the latter is still correct but she has proven that prognostication to be incorrect. 

A few months later, at a faculty conference at a different ballet school, I had to interrupt for a moment for clarification when it sounded like the faculty members were not talking about SIs they thought would be a good fit, but companies. They thought it was time for her to begin company auditions.  In a matter of months, it was very strange to go from one school where she was told in no uncertain words that she was not meant to dance professionally by one teacher and then be in a room with several teachers who presumed we were all on the same page and. of course, dd would dance professionally. That initially comment had such an impact on dd that she truly did not believe she was ready for company auditions and put them off for another year. 

I agree with the others to advise her to ignore, recognizing how powerful the sting of those words are and to rise above them.  

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Momof3darlings

Almost every dancer will run into a teacher who is a little salty.  Almost every dancer will run into a teacher they don't think believes in them.  But they will also run into teachers who do.  Take 1 as 1 and work within that.  Take as much good from the salty teacher as you can and let the rest roll off your back.  She could have that perfecting crystal ball of an eye that is in fact determining.  Or she could simply be commenting, as slhogan stated, making commentary that did not come across to the dancer as it was meant from the lips.  She could also just be salty.  

 

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vrsfanatic

Often teachers are trying to teach students how hard they really have to work. When I discuss what it takes to be a professional ballet dancer I try very hard to look into the sky and not look any one person in the eye. No one has a crystal ball. The best I can say is, " Perhaps our school is not a good fit at this time." Maybe you might call the director of the program to inquire about what you daughter heard, as no school wants to loose talented students and a scholarship does indicate interest on the part of the school. Ask them to lay the cards on the table as sending a child to a year round program is a very serious consideration.

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ballet1310

wanted to add - when the comments are said from someone the dancer knows well, understands where the comments are coming from and understands the motivation behind them , it's a whole different thing... I just thought this sounded strange in this particular situation ...  

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