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  1. #1
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    Default Teachers' attitudes

    Hi all
    I was just reading one of the articles linked on the home page (http://www.gildedserpent.com/art35/DeeDeeInterview.htm ) and was gobsmacked* by the reports of territorialism and controlling teachers.
    ... refuses to allow her students to attend.
    :eek:
    OK it's probably just one side of a story, but it made me wonder whether any of you have experienced similar things. It just seems bizarre to me, trying to control what students do outside class. Control freakery, some sort of guru complex... or plain insecurity?

    *translation for non-UK members = really quite surprised

  2. #2
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    Verrrrry interestink, but stooopid, eh!

    I hate competitive crap like that and yes, it caught my attention pretty quickly that some of the teachers (and not necessarily the better ones ) are very territorial while others will not tolerate badmouthing of others. I'll stick with the ones who don't play those games.

  3. #3
    V.I.P. Yasmine Bint Al Nubia's Avatar
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    Oh yes I've heard of this type of behavior and was equally gobsmacked to see it happen to two top sponsors in the Dallas area. If you look closely in the article you can see in august each group was sponsoring workshops and contests within a week of each other!
    From a personal aspect, one can't help to think that someone is literally out to get you and undermine what you work so hard to build. It's hard not to take it personally. Our school was for a long time the only studio geared toward bellydance. My teacher worked very hard to market, decorate and teach students. She even built up a strong network of other teachers and vendors around the country. If someone requested a bellydancer for an event, she would pass the gig onto dancers whether they were in the school or not.
    There was a former student who is a good dancer with a lot of ambition, and my teacher would send gigs her way when her students were unavailable. As she built a reputation for herself, she decided to teach bellydance. Where did she decide to teach? In a community center located just around the corner from our school! My teacher was livid as she felt that she could have found a more suitable location elsewhere. This dancer eventually moved on to another location to teach. Just as she moved on, another dancer, began to rent space across the mall from our location! As I said, we have been here over 6 yrs. This teacher, even tried to get student lists and phone numbers from unsuspecting students leaving ouer school.
    From our standpoint, it's hard not to think highly of these people as their sense of ethics is questionable. But our students are free to seek out other teachers as they see fit, but we do believe in protecting our intellectual property.

    There have been times when we were "shut out" from attending seminars and performing in shows too. As much as it hurts to believe that bellydance sisterhood sometimes resemble the social politics of high school. Our teacher has been told not to attend so-and so's show, but we go anyway. I think it really should be up to the students to decide where they want to spend their money and leave the politics behind.
    Yasmine
    Last edited by Michelle; 09-18-2006 at 03:03 PM. Reason: successive posts

  4. #4
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Teachers, etc.

    Dear Group,
    Unfortunately there are instructors out there who consider their students to be their property. They suffer from some real ownership issues. I wrote an article abut 20 years ago or so called, "The Student/Instructor Relationship in Middle Eastern Dance". (It may or may not be on my website... not sure right this minute.) One of the issues that I addressed is the problem "Ownership". Some teachers act as if students are their personal property, completely overlooking the fact that students are free agents and should be able to study with whomever they please. First loyalty should be to the learning of the dance and not to an instructor, any more than one would have loyalty to their math instructor. We study with different instructors to learn different things and teachers have to be very careful not to get possessive.

    Re: sponsoring events. My dance company sponsors two events a year. We have tried to correlate our events with what else is going on the community and have even sent out letters stating that we will not have more than two events a year, will not have them in the months where other groups have establsihed their events and will try to work with the community. We have stated that we will confine our events to March and october of every year. Yet, one of my ex-students does everything she can to try to have an event the week before ours every single year. ther eis no way to fight her except to keep on keeping on and to do what we can to let her know we will not put up with it.

    Regards,
    A'isha
    Last edited by Aisha Azar; 09-16-2006 at 10:42 PM. Reason: Postscript

  5. #5
    Member Suhad's Avatar
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    There's a teacher in the Phoenix area who is like this; her students are not even allowed to use movements for student recitals that have not been taught in her classes yet, let alone take workshops from anyone else!

    I personally really don't understand that attitude. I agree with previous posters; students are not slaves, indentured servants, or property of any sort -- intellectual or otherwise. I take workshops and classes from everyone I can that I think may have something to offer me. I want to be the best dancer I can be, and limiting myself to one instructor limits what I can achieve.

  6. #6
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    Wow...that's really suprising! My teacher is phenomenal, and she encourages us to attend other's classes and seminars!

  7. #7
    Senior Member Mouse's Avatar
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    That kind of attitude is such a shame. Thankfully I can't imagine what that would be like. There is very much a bellydance community where I am. We are always being told of events, haflas, markets etc that are being run by other dance teachers and are encouraged to go, attend and have fun - quite often there will even be guest dancers from other dance schools performing at these events.

  8. #8
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suhad View Post
    There's a teacher in the Phoenix area who is like this; her students are not even allowed to use movements for student recitals that have not been taught in her classes yet, let alone take workshops from anyone else! .
    :eek: :eek: :eek: Who do these people think they are? I'd love to hear the reasoning behind this sort of attitude. Perhaps she thinks it will reflect badly on her if they do a movement "wrong". IMO it's the attitude that counts in a student performance - I'd much rather see ropey hip drops and dodgy shimmies done with enthusiasm and enjoyment of the music than po-faced technical perfection.

    In my experience a true teacher in any field is really pleased if you are interested and inspired enough to want to take it further - they want to pass on their love for their subject as much as how to do it. Stopping students going "outside" implies a monumental ego to me - "I'm teaching you right and no one else has anything to offer". Or maybe it's just insecurity and she wants to keep them "down" so they won't be competition for her. Neither attitude looks nice.

  9. #9
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    I was also gobsmacked, and am relieved it's not this bad in the UK - although I do feel it's a pity that UK dancers don't work together more, as we're such a small community and might not even be aware of someone teaching or holding an event just down the road!

    At the risk of turning a bit gooey and 'yay sisterhood', we really do all benefit when we collaborate, rather try to fragment a community that's too small to fragment. If not for any idealisic reasons, basic pragmatism: how can people afford to sponsor workshops for great dancers if only a handful of people show up, for example? the only people who benefit from playground politics are the ones who lack the basic ability in the first place - under a 'free market' they know they would lose their students.

    It's good when this sort of behaviour is exposed so people realise what goes on 'behind the scenes'. that said, however, we've only been given one side of the story and I'd be curious to hear the other side(s) before completely condemming the other parties (maybe there's some perfectly good reason for such seemingly childish nasty antics I'm struggling, but I'm trying!)

  10. #10
    V.I.P. Aisha Azar's Avatar
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    Default Attitudes, etc.

    Dear Elle,
    Teachers' attitudes can develop for any number of reasons. I was pretty unhappy about my ex-student who insists on having events the week before mine, for example. She was also saturating the market to the point where no events were being well attneded. I think she learned her lesson on that one, because she brought some VERY famous people and had very low turn-outs for her events because there was just too much going on, which meant she probably went into debt. She has slowed way down now.
    Marketing and competion is one reason why teachers refuse to tell people about events that they are not involved in. Ego is another, for example, if THEY were not invited to dance in the show, they might not want to tell students about it. Insecurity is another reason and probably the most prevalent.
    My feeling about it is that no teacher has the right to withold ANY information about events from their class or tell anyone they can't go, etc. However, if any student approaches me and asks what I think of someone that someone else is sponsoring, I will tell them what I think of the sponsored instructor, for good or bad, and tell them why I think what I do. But this is not something I do in class, only in private. Sometimes it IS difficult not to give an opinion in class because it is easy for people to assume that since I am handing out information that I automatically think the event will be worthwhile ...which is not always the case...
    Regards,
    A'isha

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