Many a teacher has been dealt a ‘verbal blow’ by the unwarranted criticism from a dance parent! Some people, as Dylan Thomas said, would “correct God on His sunsets”! Nothing pleases them! So, as in all criticisms, what does a teacher do? Examine oneself but also realise some people just love to a pick mite of sawdust out of another’s eye, while having a beam of wood (their attitude) in their own eye! I have found teachers are putting in their very best effort and can do with encouragement, not criticism.
Some dance parents have “an agenda” for THEIR child and are verbal about letting the teacher know. They can ‘sow’ discontent among other parents of the school if the teacher doesn’t comply.
How does a teacher deal with this?
Can they single out one child at the expense of the others just because that parent is very verbal?
I think it is advisable that teachers define the direction of the school in their own mind in consultation with what they feel God is ‘calling’ them to be in the community – and where their strengths lie. This can be written out as a goal or a “Vision Statement” for their or their dance school’s benefit (and used in advertising too). Does the tail wag the dog?
A clear goal or “Vision Statement” frees a teacher to try NOT “to be all things to all men”. There are usually plenty of dance schools around; a dance school to cater for all agendas! If a teacher, for instance, feels entering their students in dance competitions is more negative than positive, they write a comment on this in their vision statement, for example, “Children are encouraged to be the best they can be in a non-competitive environment”. Then the teacher can kindly suggest to parent who is ‘pushing’ for competitions – to seek out a dance school that would better suit her wishes, as THIS SCHOOL does not do competitions for X and Y reasons.
It is better to lose a student whose parent is discontent, than to have that parent infect other parents. The Bible is graphic:
“Throw out a troublemaker and contention will cease.” (Proverbs 22:10)
“Can two walk together, except they agree?” (Amos 3:3)
Then peace reigns and the teacher sleeps at night. However there is a place for a parent to have a quiet word to the teacher, if their child is struggling in some area or there is an issue at home/school that could be affecting them. This just helps the teacher be mindful of this and take it into consideration.
~ Beth Bluett de Baudistel
ICDF Network Coordinator “Dance Teachers”