Advice Requested re: Problem Student

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    Profile photo of Janet Hanseth
    Janet Hanseth
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    Originally posted by Raven on tribe.net.So I have a student who after a month of classes requested to be in my performance troupe. I expressed to her that it was premature for such a request and that she was not quite ready since she was still in Level 1 and there was so much more to learn in order to be the performance troupe. She was very angry and took a buffalo stance with me which was a bit too physical for my comfort. However, I stood my ground and tried to gently express the need for further development in ATS before entertaining entrance in the performance troupe. br/br/We are now almost a year later. Shell take classes very sporadically, and as such she does not have a good command of the Level 1 movements and cannot lead without causing distress to the followers in class. br/br/It has come to my attention by quite a few class and troupe members that she has been trying to get my students to "ban together and rise up against me" over how I decide who is in my performance troupe claiming "its all political." Additionally, she has bad mouthed me personally to many in the community bc she feels that she should have been allowed in my troupe. The good news is that the students, troupe members, and community members have brushed off her complaints and felt comfortable enough to speak to me about this at various times so I am aware of the issue and they do not feel that this student should be causing such an issue. br/br/I had a conversation with her a few months ago about some of the things Ive heard. She explained that she was not used to being told "no" when it came to dance, and although she "loved" me and my classes and wanted to continue and eventually show me that she would be a good addition to my troupe, she was, in fact, bad mouthing me to others. I was hoping that conversation would have resolved the issues. But since I have continued to hear from others that her bad mouthing has continued. I asked her about it again and she admitted that she has talked some "trash" about me bc she was still upset over being denied admission to the troupe. Further, 2 students have expressed that they did not want her to lead anymore bc it was too frustrating for them. And she continues to show up every now and then.br/br/Im trying to be diplomatic but at the same time, I dont want to cause further issues. This particular student has a reputation in the community for causing drama within troupes, classes, and with instructors. She has been asked to leave more than one group. Not sure what I should do here. On one hand, I feel she is disruptive to the class environment and do not feel comfortable taking her money when she holds such hostility towards me and my troupe members. It doesnt make for an environment conducive to ATS. On the other hand, I dont want to cause further drama with her by asking her to leave, especially bc most of what Im hearing is from others. Im sure it will add fuel to the fire and shes doesnt seem to be the most stable of people.br/br/Any suggestions?

    #76113

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by kelley on tribe.net.Oh Raven - sounds to me like youve already answered your own question. Go with your gut feeling - just re- read what you have written here and the answer is staring you in the face.br/Big hugs and be strong br/Kbr/xxxxbr/

    #76114

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by MissTrixsta on tribe.net.Hey Raven,br/br/I totally agree with Kelley by saying follow what your gut is telling you. br/br/From what youve said it sounds like drama will always follow this dancer no matter what you do. If you feel youd like to give her another chance Id offer her an ultimatum - speak to her in private and let her know that if she would like to continue studying with you and if shes serious about being in a performance troupe she needs to show respect by not bad mouthing you; commitment by attending class more regularly; and she needs to show an understanding of what ATS is all about! br/br/If you feel youve had enough, Id ask her nicely to not come back to class. Although its always sad to lose a student, you may find itll make a huge difference to the other students and yourself, but not having a student like this in your class.br/ br/Good luck with all of this! Let us know how it all goes.

    #76115

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by Sandi on tribe.net.First of all, a good way to insure that you DONT get into an established troupe is to ask to be in it. br/br/Second, her attitude is completely the opposite of what you would want in an ATS troupe or even in your classes. Where is the humility there?br/br/Third, I think you are well within your rights to ask her not to return to classes, especially because you are hearing from multiple sources that she is doing a disservice to you. If she is making your loyal, humble students uncomfortable, the wear will eventually get to them and stop coming or avoid coming to certain classes they know she might be at. You really dont want to lose your non-dramatic students because of her.br/br/Its tough, but you are the authority here. You also need to create a fruitful business and look out for the student body as a whole. I know Carolena has had to have those undesirable meetings with particular students who really dont get it. It is not that they wont be happy somewhere else, but I find that those personalities do much better as soloists rather than as parts of groups, unless they are willing to learn or they want to start their own troupe and be the director (good luck). There is only room for one "ego" in a directed troupe and/or school and that is of the director/teacher.

    #76116

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by Raven on tribe.net.Thanks for the input. You are all correct. I know this inside. And I will definitely discuss this with her if she returns. I suppose on one level I was hoping it wouldnt come to this. Im also hoping it doesnt visit my house or my car. Thanks for the support.

    #76117

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by Sandi on tribe.net.Do you have record of everyones emails/phone #s? If so, it might be better to contact her and set up a meeting before she just shows up to a class and throws down drama in front of other students.

    #76118

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by Raven on tribe.net.Good idea. I do have her email and phone number. Better to keep it away from everyone else.

    #76119

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by Christine (Akula Tribal) Tillett on tribe.net.Oh dear, I can speak from personal experience at having a student of the same mentality up until a couple of few months ago. When she first came to my classes she seemed quite insecure so in trying to nurture and encourage, I think I ended up creating a monster!..br/br/Class was becoming a battle of wills, we would be drilling a move and she would just wander off to sit on the window sill or go to the toilet. I would ask her to rejoin the group but she would huff a bit and basically act like a complete brat, totally disrespectful. If I had her working in duets or in a group she would start teaching other moves (unfortunately ones she couldnt do herself). I then heard that she had started teaching ATS herself to members of her newly formed Coven....Ermmm...She also started taking lessons with another Sister Studio nearby (which was absolutely fine by me!) and still coming to my class. Prior to all the kerfuffle we had allowed her to join the troupe (unfortunately!) in chorus, if I think back to any performances she did with us she did nothing but moan about the dress code trying to incite other troupe members to rebel. On the last time we allowed her to perform we were all wearing black and she turned up in white, if we asked for hair off the neck hers would be down with the prize bull hair flower situation going on. I was going to the studios for TT2 last November so it was perfect TT2 fodder and I came back with a great idea on how to handle it...br/br/Anyhow before going along the diplomatic route, in early December I posted some really fabulous FCBD vids on facebook and she commented that she couldnt see anything different between what they were doing and what she was doing now!!!...I curtly replied that if she could dance that well she could show me in class, to which she replied "Its been a while babe and Ive been taking lessons with *insert other SSs name* and Ive learnt so much"...in a couple of weeks eh?....That was when I finally saw the light!...I told her there was no room for egos in my lessons or in our troupe and I suggested that she didnt return..Phew the weight just lifted and classes and performances have been great since shes gone, I just wish Id done it sooner!!..br/br/Ive had the bad mouthing, plastering comments on facebook (Ive had to block her) etc including posting comments on our troupe page. Then recently I heard that she was putting binding spells on me and my dance partner (Oh, Im really not worried as Im sure shell end up self combusting!)...All that aside it was the best possible decision for her to go and if you do have to part ways with your lovely student I hope she doesnt think shes a witch too!...lol...Good luck!!...

    #76120

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by Carrie on tribe.net.omg, Christine! Youre hilarious. Shell end up self-combusting? Thats awesome.br/br/-Happy to hear you stayed strong!br/br/XO

    #76121

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by Raven on tribe.net.Wow, Christine, thats crazy. And a shame bc shes really do herself a disservice. My "problem student" has decided to leave town so the problem has resolved itself with little additional drama. Although I was there for her dramatic departure speech. It seems that many in the community have come to the conclusion that she is drama so the fanfare of her departure was minimal. Its amazing to me how some students forget to be students. They get so caught in ego, it really does not help anyone.

    #76122

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by Carolena Nericcio on tribe.net.Sometimes its appropriate to "fire your customers."

    #76123

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by Wendy on tribe.net.I just did that recently with a hair client. 🙂

    #76124

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by Heather T on tribe.net.Hello all, br/br/I agree with Carolena. As hard as it is, you just have to let some clients go.br/br/ I had three L3 students who I had just recently promoted to L4 on condition that they continued to attend the L3 classes, as they needed to continue perfecting there technique.br/br/At the beginning of this month, these three women approached me after class one night and asked me if they really had continue with L3, to which I replied “Yes”. They then proceeded to say that they found L3 & L3 drills so boring and that should I make them continue, they would get so bored and evenually leave the studio. br/br/They also stated that they have been purposely trying to disrupt my classes by chatting while I was explaining movements because they knew all the movements already. They said that they got so bored in Level 3 and wanted a L4 drills class. When I explained to them that there’s no such thing as a L4 drills class, and that they needed to perfect there L3 movements, they demanded that I must correct them during the L4 class. br/br/Also, they said that they did not like it when I spent time correcting fellow students ( In my classes when I correct an individual I use it as a drilling opportunity for everyone to get involved so as not to neglect any of my other students). These women claimed that it bored them. To top it off they had not perfected these movements themselves! br/br/I had also noticed that they were not very accepting towards the other ladies in the class, and often tried to exclude them by going to the other side of the room to dance with each other. I tried to remedy this by making the class change partners each week to get used to each others cues and body language, but they continued to make the other ladies feel excluded. As soon a they stopped dancing they would huddle back together in their little groupbr/br/As you can imagine I was totally taken back by all of this. I have told all my students time and time again to leave their egos at the door. I think because they were my first L4 students, it had gone to their heads. br/br/I know for a fact that it was one specific girl who had instigated all this, and dragged the other two down with her. She has always tried to tell me what she thinks I should do with regards to my training, and I’ve always put her in her place. However, this time she thought she would get the other two to confront me with her, and give me an ultimatum to break me. Unfortunately for them, it didn’t work.br/br/That night I expelled all of them from the studio, as I refuse to be threatened into lowering my standards. I felt that, if they were so bored and didn’t want to associate with the other dancers, then ATS was not for them. At the end of the day it’s about a sisterhood and helping each other grow in ATS.br/br/It has been a big blow for me. However, the atmosphere in the Level 3 class has been uplifted. It is like some dark force has been removed from the studio, and everyone is now happy and dancing more beautifully than ever.br/br/It’s hard to do, but sometimes it just must be done.br/br/

    #76125

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by Raven on tribe.net.Wow, Heather. Sounds like you made the right decision. I addressed the class to make sure everyone understood the sign in and payment procedures and I now have one of my troupe members acting as door monitor for those who enter after the class starts. I also let everyone know that if they had any issues with payment to speak to me before the class begins and I will be more than happy to see if any thing can be worked out on a case by case basis with those who have been responsible with their payments and class attendance.br/br/The IOU girl come up to talk to me afterwards. She had paypaled me the money a couple days after class and sent me a message that read "my bad". She told me that that reason she didnt talk to me ahead of time was because she didnt feel comfortable talking to me. When I asked her why she said that apparently 3 yrs ago I had made a comment to her at a bellydance event that I hosted that she didnt think was nice. When I expressed that that comment was made constructively she then said, "Oh, I guess I can see that." br/br/The comment was based on her coming to perform "ATS" but doing a fusion number instead. Although she was dressed in complete ATS garb and had her performance announced as "ATS" she did maybe 3 or 4 moves that actually were ATS and the rest was a fusion of hip hop and Suhaila format. She did fast moves with slow music and didnt play zills. After her performance she told me that she wanted to dance with me and she was signing up for General Skills and Teacher Training in a few months. She also said she was self-taught in ATS with videos. I told her that if she wanted to dance with my ATS troupe she may want to come to class and actually learn the ATS format bc it would difficult to dance together otherwise. I also told her it wouldnt hurt to get some training under her belt before GS too bc its alot of information to absorb without a foundation in the style. br/br/Apparently she took it as major criticism instead of advice from the heart, which it was. However, since then I have given her private lessons and advice on GS and such. Ive been genuinely supportive, publicly and privately, of her troupe and their performances and quite honestly Ive been completely floored by her comments that it was my fault that she didnt pay me and didnt talk to me about it ahead of time. She said she thought I "hated her." Then my question is "why are you in my class then?" and it comes down to me being the only teacher in town.br/br/And she said she didnt have the money that night in class bc shes been unemployed but 2 days later posted that she decided to go to TT in a few months. So Im not sure what to think. She has the money but she doesnt. She thinks I hate her but comes to class. When shes in class when Ive tried to correct her she rolls her eyes at me. But she said she really really wants to do ATS. She has been given another opportunity to attend class and Im hopeful that she will not disrespect the process again. br/br/So I suppose I would ask how do you handle this type of student situation? How long do you hold out hope? br/br/I guess I should include that last year during our private lesson sessions she also gave me the run around with payments and often canceled within an hour of the agreed upon time. So weve had a similar issue before and I addressed it then as well.

    #76126

    Anonymous

    Originally posted by Sandi on tribe.net.Gee, that sounds familiar. Dont be surprised if they form their own troupe and try to compete with you. br/br/I think Wendy had mentioned this in her post about the squeaky wheel. We as teachers have a job to do and that is to give everyone the same quality instruction that we received before we got into the troupe. But it is also the students job to push themselves further during their classes. All of us whove been in the troupe for a significant amount of time have all said that during each class, even though we had heard the words/breakdowns a million times before, we had to find something to work on, ourselves. For instance, I would go to a L1 class and decide that Id work on my arms or focus on my posture or understanding the music better. There are SO many things to improve on! Im still working on stuff! Never had I ever gotten bored in class because I created challenges for myself to make it an even richer experience.br/br/I really have no sympathy for whiners. I got into the troupe and it wasnt because I whined about being bored or of having to dance with other less skilled dancers. Suck it up people! Take responsibility for your own education! ATS is about dancing with everyone, not just a select few.

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