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Funfetti

Strict vs Bully: 10 Warning Signs of Bullying Teachers

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Funfetti

We've talked about Red Flags in studios. I found this article very helpful in summarizing some of those Red Flags that you might find in a toxic environment. Especially when we so often hear that the "dance world" is ruthless. But this helps make a distinction so we can better navigate the dance world while our dancers are still at home.

https://www.dancemagazine.com/bullying-teachers-2581811648.html?utm_campaign=RebelMouse&socialux=facebook&share_id=4595605&utm_medium=social&utm_content=Dance+Magazine&utm_source=facebook

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Victoria Leigh

Thank you for posting this, Funfetti. It is important information. 

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txballetmom

I read the above article and it was so helpful.  Sometimes we think maybe we were overreacting, but it turns out we are not.  We made the decision to leave our studio, but the above article has helped us realize we made the right decision.  Unfortunately we are not in an area where there is a lot available.

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J66B11J06

Unfortunately it doesn't give you advice on WHAT to do about it and how to handle it when they are away.  Soooo many bully teachers in ballet.  My dancer is suffering through this now. We can't say anything...makes it worse. Director never watches classes, so they may be unaware of the problem. I doubt it though. Should have changed schools 2 years ago. Teacher bashes dancer & parents even though we have had no contact for over a year.  Just counting the days until it is over.

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bluemountain

I don't think there is much you can do besides taking your DK from this poisonous environment and finding a supportive and nurturing place for him.

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J66B11J06

Working on it! Thankfully he already has 2 company offers...trainee & 2nd company. Grateful for options.

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nynydancer

Yikes. Our studio has great, great teachers and one, well according to this article, bully.

 I can say definite yes to several of these red flags. My DKs are the chosen ones to be picked on by Mr. Bully, so much so that other kids tell me about it. My DKs tell me they want to stay regardless because the other teachers are good and do build them up. Also, their fellow dancers recognize the unfairness and try to support them. They do not want me to talk about it to the AD. I have a friend whose child boycotts this teacher’s classes, but I’ve heard the AD will side on the teacher if someone complains. So we as a family talk through these episodes and try to keep perspective, and even laugh it off and make jokes about Mr Bully needing his snickers bar.  But it is distracting in class, so not sure how much longer we can take it.

J66B11J06, boy I get you and I am so pleased your DS is on the way to something better. It is terrible when your kid is the object of someone’s irrational wrath.  I wish there was an article that had the right words or actions to do when in this situation. 

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Funfetti

Now that we are finally out of the toxic environment I regret that we didn't leave sooner. I know we worry that we are sacrificing "good training" and put up with toxic teachers and bullies, but the emotional toll has not been worth it. It ultimately turned 2 of my dancers away from dance. My third dancer is now at a studio that has made a huge difference in every way. And despite the warnings and threats that if we left, then her training would suffer, the opposite has been the case. So, my unsolicited advice? Get.out.

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Eligus

Agreed whole-heartedly, Funfetti.

A quiet word of unsolicited, but heartfelt advice to you and yours, however... be prepared for the YEARS it may take for your dancer to recover emotionally and mentally from the time spent in the toxic environment.  It can affect them in long term, unanticipated and unimagined ways.  Recovery (even for mentally strong and stable kids) is an ongoing journey. 

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Polar

Eligus, can you elaborate at all? It's impossible for me to share much without feeling like I'll undoubtedly blow up any hope of anonymity, but while my dancer is now out of a most decidedly toxic situation your post has me concerned about what I'm not anticipating. 

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Winterqueen

I pulled my daughter out of a toxic school this year and she actually misses it.  She thinks the training was better and thinks she was capable of handling the horrible environment (she was there for 9 years).  I’m worried that I made a bad choice by choosing a closer school instead of sending her to one in the nearest city where she was invited to attend after their SI.  My fingers are crossed that she will grow into this school but I’m afraid she has Stockholm Syndrome.  

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Polar

Winterqueen, in my experience it takes two things to really process and be done with the toxic studio if your dancer is still inttoxicated by the old. No. 1 is the dancer has a strong belief in the capabilities and potential for improvement wherever they are now studying. Until they believe that the work they are putting in is worthwhile it will be hard to move forward from the toxic environment. Even if it's just once a week driving to a private lesson or an intense class, you have to find challenging and worthwhile training if you are ever going to get your dancer the perspective they need to separate the toxic behavior from training. They need to see quality training somewhere else, quality training coupled with an absence of abuse. No. 2 is time to establish new habits. Until new behaviors and plans and schedules begin to replace the old, and especially after 9 years, your dancer's entire calendar is still hardwired into their brain. This is the time of the year for auditions, this is when we get costumes, this is when the holiday party is, etc. . It will take a good year or so of just walking through a new environment until that new environment becomes the new mental calendar. Until those things happen it's going to be difficult, but you've done the right thing.

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Winterqueen

Polar ❤️ I wish I could like your response (ala facebook).  My daughter is actually taking 2 privates a week.  One with a very contemporary style teacher (which was a style not available to her at her other school) and one with an awesome yet strict classical style teacher who teaches the advanced classes at her new school.  (My daughter is in the intermediate level so doesn’t get to train with this woman regularly.)  Nutcracker auditions were this past weekend which was kind of exciting.  Their version of it is very different from the Mariinsky style my daughter is accustomed to, but it’s still kind of exciting.  She has been cast in the ensemble piece the school is bringing to YAGP and she is also performing 2 solos so these are all things for her to look forward to.  I really appreciate everything you’ve shared.  Thank you so much!!

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Polar

Winterqueen it all sounds very positive. I hope it's an amazing year. We need to check in with each other at year's end. I'm quite sure we have no idea where things will take us this year, but I'm also quite sure it's going to be so much better.

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Pinkytoes

I second what Polar says about the need to re-program over an extended period of time.

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