Ballroom Dance > In the relationship between teacher and student, where is the line of professionalism drawn?

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by LordBallroom, Apr 26, 2013.

  1. LordBallroom

    LordBallroom Member

    I think everybody will probably agree that teachers sleeping with their students and/or dating them is unprofessional. But what about students and teachers having a personal conversation on the phone? Would it be kosher sometimes for students and teachers to shopping or grab a quick bite to eat together? Or should teachers be forbidden to socialize with their students outside of the studio?
  2. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    while we have many threads that approach this, I am forbidden to merge so I will leave that to others...I will say this...ever heard of gateway drugs?...a phone chat isn't in and of itself a breach of professionalism...that being said, what I see most often is that trouble comes when students begin to see themselves as friends of their pro....can students be friends with their pro? sure...but it has to be something that both sides are unambiguous about...the problem comes in when a teacher doesn't want to be friends but exercises poor boundaries which allows students to misunderstand the nature of things...when you are talking about meals out...I think it all depends; is it at a comp where it is logical that everyone has the same time frame for a meal break, or are we talking about simply inviting one's pro to dinner?...Neither in isolation is inherently bad...but one can be more fraught with complexities than the depends on the people, the cues....the clarity...when in doubt, my view is; don't do it
    smidra86 and twnkltoz like this.
  3. nikkitta

    nikkitta Well-Known Member

  4. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    EPIC nikkitta!!!!

    any question with an absolute in it is not debateable BTW... simple rule of logic...

    rephrase or nikkitta is proven correct
  5. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    Yeah, it really depends on the individuals involved, but it can cause problems. Tread carefully.
  6. alexandrahweis

    alexandrahweis Active Member

    Tread lightly, you are playing with fire.
  7. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    Depends on the people involved, just like anything else.
    ajiboyet likes this.
  8. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    Miss Silly and jerseydancer like this.
  9. jerseydancer

    jerseydancer Active Member

    the suspense was killing me until the end of the video
    Mr 4 styles likes this.
  10. Standarddancer

    Standarddancer Well-Known Member

    During comp time, maybe ok, just as Fasc said, sometimes everyone pretty much have to eat at same time frame, limited choice at comp hotel, usually only one restaurant in comp hotel, so teacher and students sort of eat together just because of lack of choice and convenience.

    Other than that, I certainly agree it is best to keep professionalism and distance between teacher and students; teacher and students should be mutually respectful and maintain nice/smooth working relationship, but not overly friendly to cross the boundary.
  11. Alice.W

    Alice.W Member

    I know one pro/am couple who are openly dating, with Facebook relationship status and all. As far as I know, both of them are happy and continue dancing together. I also know professors who divorced their wives and married their students. It happens all the time. I would feel weird to go for lunch or coffee with my instructor, but I know people who do it all the time. If it suits them, why not.
  12. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    LOL... As far as DW and my relationship with our instructor, romantic/sexual is about the only way that we haven't become intertwined. Without getting into too many details... it's almost like we're relatives.
    samina and Mr 4 styles like this.
  13. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    i even kiss my pros............. in greeting

    just not on the lips...:eek:

    i /we always take my/our pros out to eat after our lessons are done... if they are available its decompress and catch up time:)
  14. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    Don't take this the wrong way, but I think you need to ask yourself what you are purchasing when you hire a professional dancer. What people want to buy does vary. Here are a few examples:
    1. You are purchasing individual private lessons maybe once per week, so it might be common to touch base and even chat on occasion.
    2. You want to hire someone to dance with you at parties. You hope they are both a good dancer and entertaining.
    3. You are regularly traveling with the pro and going for titles, and often you fly together or dine together and work several hours per week.

    But above all you are hiring a professional dancer. You are buying access to their knowledge and skill in the area of dancing.

    Might two single people meet this way? On occasion it does happen. It happened to me, and I am so happy it did. :)

    But there are lots of traps here:
    1. Instructor may use emotions to sell lessons rather than his or her knowledge and skill.
    2. Student may be hoping for something more, and let their emotions be clouded, the result being that they end up having a bad experience instead of learning the wonderful art of dance.
    3. Student might shower gifts on the instructor to create a sense of obligation.
    4. Instructor may hint at the possibility of romance to create an urgency to buy more lessons.
    chomsky, Loki, SDsalsaguy and 3 others like this.
  15. LordBallroom

    LordBallroom Member

    The reality is that flirting and sex appeal is definately a part of the dance business. Single guys usually don't plop down 2 gs every few months to take lessons from "bertha the heavyweight." And the cougars that come in certainly enjoy having a man in his physical prime putting his hands on her and connecting with her through dance. Creating trusting relationships is a critical part of having students. Students need to trust that their instuctor has their best interest at heart. They need to feel socially comfortable around them. I personally don't feel comfortable with the idea of students and teachers socializing outside of studio events but I've known teachers that feel like students need to be "family". They feel like they need to become a confidante of their students.
  16. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    * takes BWM off smooth pros birthday present list*:D
  17. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    hmm...well...I have known some very homely instructors or those only marginally fit, by superficial standards, who have a wealth of students...
  18. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    soo true... but they are nice as the day is long usually
  19. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    To answer the original question, the line of professionalism is drawn by always being aware of the bottom line... it is a student/client-teacher relationship first... and a friendship second. So yes, you can be friendly, meet for a meal, and certainly if you compete together you are going to be spending a considerable amount of time together and getting to know each other quite well. Dancing and competing tend to lend themselves to knowing quite a bit about someone's various personality traits! The bottom line always has to be though... is the teacher delivering quality information, is the student open to learning, and is there a mutually respectful relationship? That is the priority. The friendship.. that is good too if it occurs... but not the priority of the student-teacher relationship.
    Loki, Mr 4 styles, SwayWithMe and 2 others like this.
  20. Chris Eaton

    Chris Eaton Member

    This sounds like a real potential Minefield for Dance Teachers. In fact I would go so far as to say that it is more tricky for Dance Teachers than almost any other profession, except maybe a professional Masseuse!
    I suppose that although "It takes two to Tango", the onus is very much on the teacher to review the unfolding situation and to manage their students in an appropriate manner.
    Sure glad I'm not a teacher!

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