CriticalDance Forum

When Teachers Lose Their Jobs...
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Author:  Dean Speer [ Thu Jan 29, 2009 4:32 pm ]
Post subject:  When Teachers Lose Their Jobs...

What appears to be the current economic climate has hit home -- me, personally. Just this month -- four weeks ago and again today -- I've been "let go" from two significant teaching jobs, both at competition studios. Significant for the money (nearly $1K per month between the two) but, importantly, what I was trying to do at each studio; train students in ballet on and to a professional standard.

While at one, we seemed to have some serious artistic differences, the driver behind both is economic with either the directors themselves taking over the classes or apportioning them to lower paid teachers.

I've been in between jobs before and recognize that, even with the best of intentions, these things happen. Don't we all in the arts get used to having to work hard, then harder, and then harder still while trying to remain afloat? Leading and living a robust yet spartan life becomes second nature, does it not?

Never the less, it does hurt and it's hard not to give in to the feeling one's professional pride being wounded. The director of the second studio, who ironically has a college degree in communications, e-mailed me her decision, apparently not recognizing that this kind of thing should be handled face-to-face or at least over the phone.

I'm fine, although my pocketbook is already feeling pinched. And now that I've had a chance to vent slightly, I'd like to hear from others: How they've handled finding themselves in between jobs, or how they've handled having to give this news to valued employees.

Author:  Gina Ness [ Thu Jan 29, 2009 11:12 pm ]
Post subject: 

I am sorry to hear of this, Dean...Well, all I can say is that the students have sustained a loss, as well. You will be sorely missed. The lovely studio where I teach almost folded last summer. The parents stepped up to the plate with support and fundraising ideas, taking the pressure and total responsibility off of our wonderful founder. It takes a village to raise a child! Here's my story for you...Recently, I heard that a studio needed a teacher. (I had been one of the first teachers when the school opened three years ago. Due to circumstances beyond my control at that time, I had to leave the faculty after a year. I found an excellent replacement so the transition went very smoothly.) I learned that the school had a completely different AD and faculty. Nonetheless, I offered to help out if they really needed someone. They totally dropped the ball communicating (by phone) with me. Then, two months later via e-mail communication, they offered me ages three to five-year-old classes. I only teach intermediate/advanced classes. After communicating with them regarding possibly changing the schedule so that I would work with the advanced students, they e-mailed me "thanking me for my interest, we'll keep your resume on file" etc. I have to admit, I was pretty surprised. A phone call would have been nice. It's a small school in a small town. I had taught there before, and was highly regarded. I wonder if my hourly wage was too high (pretty standard in the area for someone with my background) or if they were afraid that I might "lure" their students to my other school, even though it is in a different county. Who knows???!!!! Well, their loss! Actully, I'm glad it didn't work out by the sound of things...Dean, we do what we do for love of dance and art. No one in the arts is making a lot of money. That's why we, as teachers, must feel valued and respected. I'm sorry that you were not treated with the respect you truly deserve. You are awesome! When one door closes, another opens!

Author:  salzberg [ Fri Jan 30, 2009 6:09 am ]
Post subject: 

I'm pretty much where you are, Dean; theatres and dance companies who used to bring me in to light their productions are now hiring locally.

I wish I had some insights to share other than that it will certainly get better.

Author:  LMCtech [ Fri Jan 30, 2009 11:55 am ]
Post subject: 

I am also sad to hear this Dean. We've all been there, as you say, so know exactly how you feel. And it is also true that it will get better and something will turn up I'm sure. I always try to look at these situations as an opportunity, though at the beginning it is always hard to see what that could possibly be.
I'll be sending you good vibes!

Author:  Joanne [ Tue Feb 03, 2009 3:35 pm ]
Post subject: 

Hi Dean

I too have had a couple of small jobs go in the last few months. Two of which I could see coming - the whole school was suffering so I knew it was only a matter of time and both principals handled the whole thing professionally so no hard feelings whatsoever. The third left a message on my mobile answerphone!!!! I then had to chase payment for my final invoice! Needlass to say i am quite happy now that they let me go.

I think the problem is because our job is a vocation, it has to be, we therefore get very personally involved and it is hard to take when a job goes even if it is totally beyond our control and nothing whatsoever to do with our teaching. I try not not too have too many eggs in one basket so that if one job goes it is not my whole weeks wages gone. It is still difficult as having a young child I have to be very selective timewise as to the jobs I accept and end up turning down more than I would like.

Eventually though reliability, experience and word-of-mouth do win over. the amount of schools I have taught for that were so relieved that I was reliable and didn't bat an eyelid at the many situations you face as a teacher is quite unbelievable.

I echo LMC Tech that other stuff will turn up - mostly i find when you least expect, but I undetrstand your frustration and disappointment totally.

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