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  1. #1
    Junior Member shaki_fan's Avatar
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    Default Polyinstructors, Loyalty, Subs, and Morals...

    Hey ladies, I have a moral dilemma and feel lost.

    I've been a regular for over 4 years with a great teacher. I was "monoinstructorous" until a year ago when I started with another fabulous teacher, and when my old teacher found out, she was apprehensive despite my reassurance that I was still committed. My new teacher knew I had another and still took me in with wide open arms.

    At one point my old teacher surprisingly asked me never to teach because I would be competing with her. At that stage, teaching was beyond my wildest imagination and I wouldn't want to step on her toes, so I agreed wholeheartedly.

    Since then, my new teacher has asked me to cover for her... I've declined despite being honoured to have even been asked, but I'm starting to really want to say yes... I'm no teacher, of course, but an ok substitute? Well, she thinks so... and although I remain humble and realistic about my level, the only reason I still say no is because it's forbidden (and I've subbed for my old teacher before!).

    All my friends say that I should just teach and not say anything, arguing that no one can tell me what not to do, but my morals are giving me a hard time.

    I want to substitute-teach because it's a whole new level in my belly dance journey. I don't want to sub-teach because bellymom says no, and if she found out, she'd likely disown me (it's happened to others). What do I do?!? Do I teach and not tell? Teach and tell? Not teach and keep my head down? In theory, I'm competition, but in practice? I'd just sub for a day here and there, and there is no student overlap other than myself... who is in the wrong? I feel a bit choked. Teachers, how would you react to a student in my position?

    Thanks so much for any feedback!!
    Last edited by shaki_fan; 03-31-2011 at 02:46 AM. Reason: typeos

  2. #2
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    Completely inappropriate for original teacher to demand, ask or even mention not wanting you to teach for her own personal selfish reasons.

    You have been paying her for her services and do not owe her anything but your honesty. There is no such thing as owing someone your "loyalty" when you are paying them for something.

    I do not agree however, that should you chose to teach, you should keep quiet about it. Even though it was wrong for your original teacher to request this of you, you still made a promise and if you chose to break it (which I think is fine given the circumstance) you should tell her.

    Good luck
    Last edited by Belly Love; 04-02-2011 at 09:31 AM.

  3. #3
    V.I.P. da Sage's Avatar
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    It was not fair for Oldteacher to ask you not to teach. She asked you to *never* teach? That's a LOT to ask of someone who has been studying dance seriously. It was not fair for her to ask this of you.

    You should not refuse to help out Newteacher because of this agreement. As you said, you are subbing only - this is not competition that creates new classes, or will draw students to a "new" teacher.

    Honestly, you would be well within your rights to change your mind about running your own classes at some future date...maybe a year or few down the road. The politic way to do this would be to locate your classes as far from hers as possible, teach on different days/times, and give her a polite heads-up.

    Seriously, what if you someday move to a town with no teacher, or if Oldteacher moves away (or passes away) herself? Don't deny yourself the opportunity to build your teaching skills now. Subbing is different than competition, or else Oldteacher would not have asked you to sub for her in the first place.

    And if Oldteacher is hurt or angry...let her live with it. Don't make it your issue.

  4. #4
    V.I.P. Yame's Avatar
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    You don't owe this person ANYTHING!!! My god, how DARE she tell you never to teach because you would be competing with her. Who does she think she is to make you PROMISE something like that? That is waaayyy, waaaayyy out of line, way beyond her authority as a teacher, that is so out of line I've never even heard of anyone doing that before, and trust me, I've hear some horror stories.

    I am sorry, but this just made me very angry... teachers like that-- who will keep their students at a low level forever, taking their money for regular classes for years but refusing to challenge them and to allow them to grow as dancers... purposely making them stagnant so that they can keep taking their money without ever creating competition--really piss me off.

    If you take dance seriously enough that you want to do more with it than just this person's weekly class, then it's time to let go of her. How to do so will be up to you... you can try to be diplomatic and reason with her, but clearly she is too immature and selfish to get it. Personally, I would go on with my life and not give her any explanation. I wouldn't try to fuel the drama or burn any bridges. Credit her whenever relevant, speak to her when you see her, thank her for all she has taught you. But do not bow down to her ridiculous orders, do not succumb to her jealousy and insecurity. You went to her classes, you paid her for them, and that is the extent of your obligations towards her.
    Last edited by Yame; 03-31-2011 at 03:06 AM.

  5. #5
    Junior Member shaki_fan's Avatar
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    Wow, big thanks to the three of you for such detailed and encouraging replies. I knew I wasn't crazy to feel that her request was a bit unreasonable. (To clarify, she said not to teach at least till she retires but that still feels like never, especially when you are ambitious and wish to learn more!)

    You're absolutely right, Belly Love. If I teach, I should tell, and whatever happens will happen. The thought of being disowned saddens me but I'm also tired of holding myself back because of this. I won't do it under the table, but as da Sage said, I shouldn't pass up the opportunity to grow! She's not the email type so maybe I'll call or approach her after class? "Umm... about me not teaching till you're done...." o.O;

    And thanks so much for your passionate reply, Yame! Especially the last bit. I will try to be diplomatic first, and if she's not understanding, I'll just thanks her for everything she's taught me and take a bow. There's nothing more I can do!

    Thanks again, ladies, it feels good to be told that, although I can appreciate all I've learned from her, I did pay my dues and am not in any debt.
    Last edited by shaki_fan; 03-31-2011 at 04:02 AM.

  6. #6
    V.I.P. da Sage's Avatar
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    Good for you, shakifan!

    I would not tell her that you are "teaching". I would tell her that you are "subbing". If she pulls out the "you said you wouldn't" card, just tell her that you didn't think she would object to you subbing occasionally, since in the past she has asked you to do that herself. And that you never agreed not to sub.

    Happy subbing!

  7. #7
    Senior Member goddessyasaman's Avatar
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    I second what the ladys here have said, I have been teaching for four years (I have taken a break, starting back up soon) But that is so wrong of her to say that to you, I had a awsome student that I was teaching for a year so learned so well I even started training her to teach I would let her show a move to the class with me and such, so a teacher should never say something like this.

    And you having another teacher is fine, I know many woman learning belly dance who have more then one teacher, reasons being that one teacher may not teach but one style and said woman or man may want to learn a different style but als stay with first teacher.

    You must do what is best for you and your training in this Art of dance, If you want to teach in the future then teaching a class for your other teacher would be good Exp for you. Your first teacher should know this, I just don't know what to think of her mind set.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Mosaic's Avatar
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    All great replies, and I agree with them, Tell your old teacher you are considering subbing with new teacher as she has asked you to do so on the odd occasion & that you'd "love" to continue to sub for her (old teacher) as you know that subbing adds to your bellydance journey. Maybe let it drop that 'sometime in the future you may consider teaching in area that may not have access to teachers'.

    In the long run as goddessyasaman said, you must do what is best for you.
    ~Mosaic
    Dance is like glitter, it not only colours your life, it makes you sparkle, you find it everywhere and in everything and it's near impossible to get rid of. (unknown)


  9. #9
    Super Moderator gisela's Avatar
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    Wow, yes I agree with the others here. Way out of line. I understand teachers that don't want students to start teaching TOO EARLY, but making you take a pledge of never teaching?! Inappropriate! If someone wants to teach they really should do it because they like to see their students bloom into wonderful dancers. That in turn will make the teacher look good. To hold someone back like this is not ok!

  10. #10
    Moderator Darshiva's Avatar
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    I really don't get the whole grooming a student to teach & then getting all snotty when they do. I've been (the student) in that situation myself, and it is very ugly.

    Chances are your teacher won't get all bent out of shape about it because she has you subbing in her class and understands why you've been asked to sub for another teacher. If she does get all snotty about you subbing for another teacher, she's a freaking hypocrite & it's probably time to move on.

    Shaki_fan, if your soul calls you to teach, then teach. There's no point in holding yourself back because of a promise made under threat.
    Bellydance in Kyabram!
    Skype classes a specialty.
    Email kyabrambellydance@gmail.com for more information.

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