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  1. #1
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    Default Is it Proper to Complain About Students??

    I have noticed on some of the BD forums that I frequent (not particularly here) that teachers and so-called long timers often post things about their students and/or new dancers that I find somewhat discouraging and/or insulting. I wonder if other newbies have felt somewhat snubbed by teachers and dancers who seem to not value the opinions of new dancers or to think that new dancers have any worth... other than, of course, lining their pockets.

    I am a new dancer and read some rather negative comments from people in my area (and possibly the school where I am taking lessons) and even though they were not directed to me or about me, they were still rather hurtful and just discouraging in general since it was not the first time I have seen something like this. It is hurtful to think that I could be going to a class and trying my hardest (and paying for it!!!) and an instructor would come to a forum and complain or rant about something I am doing as if my feelings or wants are not valid because I have only been studying for "x" amount of time.

    I do realize that we all come here to share and that instructors do need to vent and to rant, but given that this community is very small (or so it appears to me thus far) it makes me wonder whether or not it appropriate to post things about students and/or new dancers on a public forum where that student, current students or future students can read it and become discourage? Is there really this level of cliqueishness in this community that says that your value is only based upon how long you have been studying and with whom?

    I realize that BD is a very complicated art that takes years to master and perfect and requires an amount of dedication and commitment and that those who are serious about it treat it, well, seriously, but I wonder how new dancers can feel welcomed.

  2. #2
    V.I.P. Moon's Avatar
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    I think it depends on what the teacher is complaining about. If a new student comes to class, takes 10 lessons and starts performing "professionally" or even starts teaching others herself, I think the teacher has a good reason to complain about this student.
    If a teacher says something like "This student is so stupid, she can't even do this move while I explained it a 100 times already.", now that would be wrong and mean IMO.

    I think a beginning student is free to show/teach her/his own friends some moves for free or perform for fun as an amature on a family party or something like that. But students claiming to be able to teach others or perform professionally after only a few lessons are doing something terribly wrong. Even if you're talented and the moves are really easy for you, there's just no way you can really understand the music and the deeper meaning of the dance after such a short time.

    I am not a teacher but a beginner student myself. I've been dancing for almost 2,5 years now. Some fellow students of mine started performing "professionally" after only a year and I don't want to sound arrogant, but these girls were the least talented of the whole group. I think this was wrong of them to do and I seriously think they are giving the dance a bad name. I would have agreed fully with my teacher if she would have said "You are not good enough yet and you are disrespecting the dance this way."
    Now on the other hand, I have absolutely no problems with performing in student recitals together with students who aren't so good yet and make a lot of mistakes. If I would have a teacher who would stay "You are not good enough to join this student performance." (which she doesn't say, fortunately) I would think she was being quite mean.

    So yeah, I think it depends on what exactly the teacher is complaining about.
    Last edited by Moon; 12-14-2007 at 08:00 PM.

  3. #3
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    I agree--It definately can get rather nasty. Most of the cliquishness or heirarchy that I've seen seems to be more writing-based for me than in person. When going to haflas, workshops, classes, etc, everyone I've ever danced with has been super friendly and helpful, not to mention inviting.

    The only thing that I've found troublesome that despite how well I can dance, if I haven't danced for X years, I might be refused lessons, performance slots, or be allowed to dance with certain people. That "corporate" feel is the only thing I feel out of place in a small community.

    Just as Moon said, I can understand feeling frustrated if I'm instructing students who feel they should go pro after taking a couple lessons. In those situations, I just would hope that those instructors would choose to take on an attitude of "what can I do to encourage these students to pursue bellydance but spend more time doing so?" rather than just venting about how immature they are acting. I'm sure if those students heard that, they would get pretty discouraged not to mention hurt.

    -- Eccaia

  4. #4
    V.I.P. Aziyade's Avatar
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    Teachers are students too -- in the constantly evolving "classroom" of the teaching environment. Teachers need a place to vent ocasionally and get advice and learn how to deal with students who present specific challenges.

    I've had an issue of one student I've asked for help about, who has simply decided (despite all advice given to her so far) that after 5-6 months of classes, she should teach. I've asked for help on how to deal with this, because I do not believe she should be teaching yet. I haven't been rude, but honest, and if she sees these boards, she may get mad. I can't help that.

    That said, there is no excuse for rudeness or sniping about a person on a public forum.


    Quote Originally Posted by CurlyBellyGirl View Post
    I wonder if other newbies have felt somewhat snubbed by teachers and dancers who seem to not value the opinions of new dancers or to think that new dancers have any worth... other than, of course, lining their pockets.
    The thing is, and please don't take this the wrong way ... a whole LOT of times, well -- it's not that the new dancer doesn't have valid opinions, but rather maybe she just lacks the experience to understand WHY things are the way they are. Does that make sense?

    It is hurtful to think that I could be going to a class and trying my hardest (and paying for it!!!) and an instructor would come to a forum and complain or rant about something I am doing as if my feelings or wants are not valid because I have only been studying for "x" amount of time.
    Again, please don't take this the wrong way, but I've known a lot of newer dancers who are very excited about (for example) their idea to fuse bellydance with bhangra, and they put together what is essentially a disaster and then get upset when the teacher says, "I really don't think you should do that for the show." I've also seen newer students VASTLY overrate their own skill level -- believe me, I did this MYSELF in my Spanish dance class. I'm all like "oh yeah, I can do this" and my instructor is like "oh no, you are SO not doing what I showed you."

    And something we often say is that newer dancers don't know what it is they don't know. A lot of people feel like once you've learned a few moves, you've got it all because they don't KNOW any better. But again, there's no excuse for outright rudeness, and there are specific forums that exist for teachers that are hidden to students.

    Is there really this level of cliqueishness in this community that says that your value is only based upon how long you have been studying and with whom?
    Okay, think of it this way:
    Say you're having marital problems after 7 years of marriage. Who's opinions are you going to value more -- your friend who's been married 6 months, or your friend who's been married 16 years?

    Or maybe it's like getting advice on how to discipline your child from somebody who HAS no children -- you'd have to think "why on earth do you think you know more about this than someone WITH children?"

    WHO you've studied with is a tricky issue, especially if you want to go pro or be taken seriously as a dancer. If you have no such aspirations, then as long as your instructor is teaching good form and safe form, you should be able to enjoy what you're learning without any pressure.

    I realize that BD is a very complicated art that takes years to master and perfect and requires an amount of dedication and commitment and that those who are serious about it treat it, well, seriously, but I wonder how new dancers can feel welcomed.
    I know. It can be the same way with any kind of recreational dance. Lots of times adult ballet students feel like they're toadstools compared to the "Serious" students who have studied it all their life. Heck, I even experience this in the knitting community (knitters are very cut-throat, you know!).

    There are know-it-alls in every facet of life. Surround yourself with people you can learn from and people who share your enthusiasm. Ignore rude people (cause they are EVERYWHERE) and be PICKY about where you place your loyalty and trust. Try to understand the opinions of people you don't agree with, but don't put too much energy into arguing. And just remember -- everybody vents.

    My favorite quote from Baruch Spinoza:
    "Do not weep; do not wax indignant. Understand"

  5. #5
    V.I.P. Jane's Avatar
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    I try to be very careful about hurting students feelings, that's why I use a pseudonym on this list. I can vent a bit and ask other dancers and teachers for advice without causing friction and becoming a politically charged @$$hole in my community.

  6. #6
    V.I.P. janaki's Avatar
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    IMO, a teacher is an instrcutor, a leader, a guide sometimes a parent... all in one. A lot of responsibilty. It is NOT acceptable for me that teachers criticise, vent, rant about students. As a good teachers you layout all the rules from the day one about learning, performing and teaching etc., etc.,....like how much there is to learn, how long it takes to learn, good example of performing and teaching, and also the examples of disasters if you are not qualified enough. I spend 10 min in every class just doing this, educating them and quoting examples and listening to their feed back. I also encourage students to come and talk to me about eveything and anything to do with bellydancing. A good relationship, good communication and good education about the dance ( just not the dance steps) will eliminate lot of problems and complaints. If have any troubles with the students, I useally ask for help and seek advise. Let me tell you what happend in my class recently.

    One of my very beginner students (only learning for 6 weeks) came to me for advise and asked me that she was asked by her work colleages to perform in their annual ball. I was shocked at first, and you should have seen the look on the faces of my other beginner students that are dancing for few months. She is a jazz dancer and she wanted to do fusion on top of it. I advised her to let her colleagues/ audience know that she is begginer students and NOT a professional daner and she is sharing/showing/dancing what she has learned so far. I asked not to fuse the dances but asked her to do it like a medley. She was happy with that, I helped her with music, and the moves. In the end it was all a success.

    With a proper guidence, I think disasters can be avoided. But still there are few students that break the rules and do what ever. I can only talk to them once more!!! All humans makes mistakes, these students that fly out too fast, most of them learn from their mistakes too.

  7. #7
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    Teachers are students too -- in the constantly evolving "classroom" of the teaching environment. Teachers need a place to vent ocasionally and get advice and learn how to deal with students who present specific challenges.

    No decent teacher wants to hurt her students or undervalue them, but the truth is: we sometimes get extremely difficult and sometimes downright disruptive people in class. Most of my students have been absolute delights- lucky me- but it only takes one "challenging" student to wreck an experience for everyone. It is a boon for a teacher to have a place to go and whine, complain, emote, and seek advice from other teachers without having to disemble.

    If reading about challenges teachers have with students upsets you, don't read the thread. I don't mean that in a snide "get out of the kitchen if you can't stand the heat" way, but offer it as a compassionate suggestion. Wait until you have a bit more experience and a little thicker skin before reading the "My students are driving me NUTS" threads. Go read the "my teacher is driving me NUTS" threads instead.

  8. #8
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    I think on this forum, everyone is equal regardless of how many years they have danced and I have never had trouble. I do however, look up to many people here. There are wonderful role models even for someone at my age. Don't let little things like that bother you and just hang out with the POSITIVE folk around here. There is no reason just because you are a new dancer, you should feel inferior. Have some self confidence in yourself and feel good about what you have accomplished so far. Good luck with your dancing and learning.

  9. #9
    V.I.P. Kashmir's Avatar
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    Not entirely sure where you are coming from - but I'll take a stab. I assume you don't mean that a teacher writes something that her student specifically reads about herself on the forum, rather that teachers (and other dancers) express frustrations about their students lack of self awareness, inability to get the big picture, bad practice habits, poor judgement etc etc. In the first place the teacher should approach the student - but many, many times the student won't hear, doesn't want to know, is convinced of their own talent. This can be very frustrating to teachers - who often have little or no contact with other teachers. Venting can help. Sometimes other teachers can suggest ways to cope.

    Sometimes the student's behaviour is so toxic a teacher needs someone else to say "cut that one loose" - it can be very hard to decide that on your own.

    If however, you mean that teachers should never suggest that anyone is anything other than the most glorious example of dancerkind - then I say not only is that teacher poisoning herself, s/he is doing no favour to the student who, after all, is meant to be learning. Learning that there is more to the dance than doing a hip drop or figure eight is the teacher's job. They should not do it in a nasty way or put the student down - but it needs to get across.

  10. #10
    V.I.P. Lydia's Avatar
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    I think a teacher should not complain about students
    This is how i see it,you are the teacher and you must have the dignity not to do so
    If i have a problem with a student,i will talk to her... and believe it or not it is usely because they dont understand how the artist world realy works...you have to teach them how it works...that is your job as a teacher complaining i geuss is not a good thing you put yourself down if you do....most students look up to you so that will put them of if you complain about someone....last seeson i hade 2 girly,s in class that made the atmosphere ,,not nice,, lots of gossip sticking eachother in the back gossiping in the lockerroom enz then i got fedup with it went to the lockerroom and said in front of everybody,stop to gossip !! next time i hear anybody gossiping about anything she is out of the clasroom...it happend again and i then ask them on the telephone to please not come back to class...they simply kept on hurting other students with their comments and gossip...when people are asking about those 2 students now where they are ,i reply that i dont know i geuss they are busy....I am happy that i did it this way nobody realy knows what i did to fix the problem and everybody is very happy now in class including me,its inportant for me that students are getting along and i feel i am responsable to try to make it that way that is my 2 cents for today, have a nice day everybody

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