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 Post subject: Re: The "Interested" Parent!
PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2000 1:42 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 3602
Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
If the question that a parent or student has is regard some aspect of technique i.e something that has to be demonstrated or something that you need to see the child do in order to comment then this should definately be dealt with within the perameters of the class or just before or after it and I would never have a problem with that. However I get parents all the time coming up and trying to speak to me about admin matters when I am trying to start a class when I have clearly asked that with matters along these lines they are best phoning me a t home and chatting to me then when I can give them my full attention without worrying that the awaiting class is raising merry hell. The amount that still continue to ask questions even when I have suggested phoning me or me phoning them is quite alarming and very unfair on the awaiting class. I don't wish to be rude to parents but sometimes you have to be very firm. Some of them really don't seem to understand that I can give them a much more attentive response away from classes than I can when I have one eye on the class and one ear on what they are saying. We are prpeparing for a recital at the moment and I have all sorts of monies coming in for various things, even though i have requested that monies are put in an envelope with the child's name on it stated what the payment is for, the amount of parents that still just hand me cash and then I have to spend time jotting down the transaction so that my accounts aren't a complete mess when i get home.<P>Don't get me wrong most of my parents are brilliant and very accomodating but there are the few that make you want to scream.


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 Post subject: Re: The "Interested" Parent!
PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2000 2:05 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 2208
Location: Australia
joanne i am quite positive that mom2 ISN'T one of these! but i just have to commiserate with you here.<P>you are so right. it really is unbeleivable how much the clearest, most sensible instructions get ignored. i do the same thing as you re money, and sometimes actually provide the envelopes, already named. some people (the same people usually) always lose them!<P>then there is the mum who, every term, loses the newsletter/fees advice, becomes late paying it, and then, weeks into the term, ASKS me how much she owes me. i really don't know! i have to go and find MY spare copy of the form that i mailed out to her a month ago, and look it up.....then she gives me cash - never once in an envelope! and she runs a business! a store! she knows about keeping financial records and so on....<P>actually this is another thread, isn't it? boy, could we go on about THIS sort of stuff!<P>good luck with your current plans! Image

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 Post subject: Re: The "Interested" Parent!
PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2000 4:21 am 
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Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 274
Location: Ontario, Canada
I too have seen many examples of parents asking questions in between classes or phoning during a class. I also have to admit that it puzzles me that a teacher would actually take phone calls during a class, but that is another issue.<P>I agree that if there is a significant question it should be dealt with outside of class time (particularly if it is the parent who has a question). Most teachers here seem to schedule classes back to back, so it really isn't possible to have a conversation with them during teaching hours.<P>On the other hand, I have run across teachers who didn't appreciate any form of a question from a parent and were in fact quite hurtful. Very long story, happened about two years ago and I still don't like thinking about it. Looking back things started with what I truly believed was an innocent question but boy did they escalate! <P>To those of us who aren't dancers, certain things seem simple and straightforward (like a tendu, for example) but I'm learning that nothing in ballet is simple, not even the questions!


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 Post subject: Re: The "Interested" Parent!
PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2000 5:32 am 
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Location: Australia
i understand where you're coming from, mom2. Image<P>re this: <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Most teachers here seem to schedule classes back to back<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P>when i was new to running my own school, i realised this was part of the communication/scheduling problem.<P>parents DO have queries, and about so many things we take for granted - like how and where to sew elastics or ribbons on shoes, how to do a bun that actually stays in, etc etc....<P>i found that if your school is big enough (which mine wasn't) and the parents have a space to congregate (away from the studio as they are noisy so-&-so's!) - then they share a lot of information, saving many mundane queries from coming to the teacher's attention. <P>of course, they can also spread misinformation this way - i recall the parent who helpfully told the others to just pull out all the little shoe elastics, so you didn't have to tie them in a bow or a knot, and wouldn't have to worry about the ends popping out... Image<P>when i could afford to (i.e. the venue rental was reasonable), i scheduled 10 or 15 minute breaks between classes, which is helpful, but the time still gets eaten up really fast.<P>i think the main reason teachers teach back-to-back lessons (which isn't exactly restful or ideal!) is that when paying for hall hire, they have to pay for the block of time, so they are paying for each 15 mins of 'talking' time, that no students are paying THEM for....it adds up. <P>also it can be difficult to squash all the necessary classes in, to the few hours between when school finishes, and a child's bedtime....i'd certainly rather take a break, but you can't always afford to.<P>what i meant to say to joanne up above, is that the reason it really surprises me that parents commonly use your class time this way, is that THEY are paying for your time. <P>i always feel torn between on the one hand ~ being polite and considerate to them, at risk of afterwards hearing that a parent or two might complain that i 'always start late' or 'don't give the full hour of tuition they paid for' - OR, <BR>~ insisting on keeping class-time for class, with the risk they will feel alienated because you are ignoring or 'rejecting' their interest, & later hear 'you are rude to them'....you can't win!<P>one answer is to have the world's most trustworthy receptionist - but many of us don't have any assistants at all, due to costs and the size of our schools, so it's not easy!<P>if i knew the 'answer', joanne, i'd certainly tell you. Image

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 Post subject: Re: The "Interested" Parent!
PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2000 9:42 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2000 11:01 pm
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
My goodness Grace are you sure you are not c clone of me - you seem to have all the problems I have encountered. I get some parents all the time asking how much they owe me half way into a term - get this our show is about six weeks away - every parent has had at least three letters on the subject and we have been practicing routines in class since goodness knows when and I have still had a couple coming up in the past cpouple of weeks claiming they knew nothing about the show AAAAH!!<P>I agree with Grace about back-to back classes - it is unfortunately due to time and money considerations. Mom 2 I don't want you to think that i think you are like this I can tell by your debate that you are a dream parent and it is good to have a parent point of view. I enjoy talking to parents but at a time when it doesn't inrefere with their child's lesson. As Grace says they are paying for teaching time when they are nattering on to me and yes I have heard the snide comments behind my back when I start late (which is very rare and usually because I have been sorting out a problem for a parent, and i always make up the time.)<P>As I have said my probelm parents are in the minority but they do make life interesting!?! - I will tell you the story of one when i have a bit more time.<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: The "Interested" Parent!
PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2000 9:43 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 02, 1999 12:01 am
Posts: 2242
Location: Seattle, WA USA
Good points we brought up--yes scheduling back to back classes is not ideal for a number of reasons. Has anyone thought of having "office hours"---set times when everyone knows the owner/administator will be in her office....or schedule appointments during other times...maybe just a set studio policy (printed in all registration material) of "not attempting to have a conference with a teacher during teaching hours" would be good! Unless it's an emergency of course. Office hours is a practice in academia which seems very good to replicate in the studio setting.


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 Post subject: Re: The "Interested" Parent!
PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2000 1:43 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 274
Location: Ontario, Canada
Silly things parents do:<P>1. Bring the child to class late consistently, then wonder why classes aren't on time.<P>2. "Forget" to have necessary items, and then get upset when the teacher says something (e.g. no character skirt a few classes before the exam for RAD ballet).<P>3. Talk to the teacher during class time and wonder why classes are running late.<P>4. Ask to enroll a toddler (age 2 or under) in a pre-ballet class for 4 year olds.<P>5. Wear costume ON STAGE in order to assist offspring (very young) during recital.<P>6. Wonder why the teacher schedules extra classes prior to exam.<P>I'll add more, now it's dinner time here...


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 Post subject: Re: The "Interested" Parent!
PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2000 2:02 pm 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Mom 2 - the scheduling extra classes close to an exam is very pertinent to the parent I was going to tell you all about. I always schedule extra lesons close to exams for students that are studying grades as i do not feel once a week is adequate to pass an exam reasonably well. Although in the long term most of my students can only commit once a week, for one term i do not think it is unreasonable to expect a little more. For one group of 3 students preparing for their Grade 3 ballet exam I scheduled about 5 or 6 extra lessons on Sunday mornings. I was charging a pittance - enough to cover the hall and my petrol to get there and i wrote to the parents personally before the term started, informing them of the extra lessons and asking them to let me know if there was a problem with any of them. None of them did so I assumed it was OK until one of them didn't show up at the first extra lesson. I asked her why at her next regular lesson and she said it was because her parents couldn't get her there. She obvioulsy told her mother that i had asked where she was as she came in at the end of the lesson and explained that she didn't feel it necessary for her child to have an extra lesson as she had been doing the grade for xxx amount of months and they couldn't afford it and both her and her husband worked on Sundays so could not get her there. I explained the importance of the lessons and explained I was doing them at cost price and also that it would have been nice if she had let me know before the first extra lesson. I also explained that it would be unlikely that her child would take the exam this term.<P>I then received a term's noice of the child's withdrawal. The girl took the exam the following term with me, when she was ready, and gained Highly Commended, something she wouldn't have got without that extra time. A month after girl had left Mum comes up to me and says she now may want to come back as the reason she quit was because she felt she wasn't doing well - but now she has got Highly Commended that has changed. I had to bite my tongue from saying are you sure it wasn't you who felt she wasn't doing well!<P>This same family had an Older daughter who took jazz with me who announced she would be going away to university next term so obviously wouldn't be back. Fine. She took an exam mid-term and then at the exam session while I am putting a child's hair in a bun and trying to do 100 other things at the same time she comes up and tries to discuss with me the possibility of getting the rest of the term's fees back as she didn't see much point in continuing the rest of the term now she had done the exam and as she wouldn't be back next term. I (politely as I could) said this wasn't the time or the place to discuss this matter and no she couldn't have her money back as classes were still on offer.<P>Are they a nightmare or what?


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 Post subject: Re: The "Interested" Parent!
PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2000 4:17 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 11327
Location: San Diego, California, USA
I have taught for 25 yrs. in both school districts and in the private sector. In all that time there were one or two children that were not a pleasure. But there were several parents - well, ok, mothers - that I could have done without.<P>I have had them lie to me, try to cheat me (there's no other polite word for it) out of fees, and say some of the most unnecessary hurtful things. Like telling me I wasn't a "real" ballet teacher because I didn't speak with a Russian accent. <P>But, the saddest of all are those mothers who undermine their daughters. Instead of celebrating the talent of a lovely child - they abuse verbally and sometimes even physically , this gift life has given them. <P>I well remember one mother telling me in the presence of her 6 yr old -a particularly enjoyable child - that she would not be returning to class because she misbehaved. I told her "this is not true - she is a joy to have in class". Then the mother said "well, she doesn't like the ballet class". By now the child is weeping quietly but she says "No, mommy, I love the ballet class". Finally, the mother says "I have a hair appointment at the same time as the class, so she can't come". I will never forget the look on that child's face. The lie was bad enough - but to blame the child for misbehaving? <P>Sometimes I wonder how our children (and they are all our children) survive us.


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 Post subject: Re: The "Interested" Parent!
PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2000 7:55 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 21, 2000 12:01 am
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Location: Australia
what a sad story, basheva. at least i have never come across that.<P>joanne: have courage! you are not alone. (well, actually, you ARE - and you'll just have to COPE! Image )

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 Post subject: Re: The "Interested" Parent!
PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2000 1:20 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 274
Location: Ontario, Canada
And I thought I had seen a lot! Basheva's story is certainly a sad one!<BR>*********************************<BR>More silly things parents do:<P>* bring unruly, loud toddlers to the waiting room while older sister is dancing. When parent(s) fail to provide adequate supervision, children in question disturb the dance class in progress and then ruin things in the office area belonging to teacher. Parent then wonders why access to the waiting room is curtailed, and says that the teacher is "crazy".


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 Post subject: Re: The "Interested" Parent!
PostPosted: Fri Oct 13, 2000 2:21 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 3602
Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
It's OK Grace you sort of learn to laugh incidents like that off - they are the losers in the long run - and they certainly make you appreciate the good parents.<P>Basheva your incident is terrible - but unfortunately it doesn't surprise me - again that parent will be the loser in the long run - hopefully the child will grow up and have enough sense to get on and do what she wants to do with her life as soon as possible.


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 Post subject: Re: The "Interested" Parent!
PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2000 12:14 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 34
Location: Australia
People are always talking about the bad parents, but hardly ever the good. <BR>So i was wondering, what would you say a 'good' parent is?

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 Post subject: Re: The "Interested" Parent!
PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2000 2:47 am 
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Location: Australia
great suggestion, elisabeth, and welcome to our forum Image<P>in fact, isn't this what this thread WAS? or is that another one? i know we have just such a thread somehwere...or at least i thought we did...hang on: i'll go look....

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 Post subject: Re: The "Interested" Parent!
PostPosted: Sat Oct 14, 2000 2:50 am 
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Location: Australia
um...believe it or not (!) i found this in my first post:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>maybe even: what characterises the ideal dance students' parent?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE> Image<P>however since we are onto the second page of whinging(!) -myself included- i think i'll now start yet ANOTHER thread for just THAT..! Image<P>here it is:<BR> <A HREF="http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum7/HTML/000169.html" TARGET=_blank>http://www.criticaldance.com/ubb/Forum7/HTML/000169.html</A> <p>[This message has been edited by grace (edited October 14, 2000).]

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