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. Loki

    Loki Active Member

    And there you have it. Business first. I've seen many people stay with pro/studio/coach to the student's detriment because the student didn't want to lose their "personal" relationship. Don't fall into that trap.
  2. dbk

    dbk Well-Known Member

    On that note, has anyone experienced any kind of "code of conduct" or "introduction to the studio" training? I know on our college team, we like to give new dancers a few heads-up... the most important being "no, dance partnerships are NOT dating relationships!" Also things like social dance etiquette, how to dress/act during lessons, etc.

    Or has anyone experienced a "bad" studio environment (gossiping, envy, manipulation tactics, etc.) that has improved over time?

    IMO, a bad environment is what necessitates stronger boundaries between students and teachers, while a healthy environment allows for more socialization... but I don't believe (positive, respectful) socialization between students and teachers causes a bad environment to begin with.
  3. Loki

    Loki Active Member

    Nope. I left.
    nikkitta and dbk like this.
  4. Olga Y

    Olga Y Member

    I was wondering myself whether being friends with a teacher would somehow diminish the effectiveness of the lessons. Could I take someone seriously if they are more personable rather than resting on an unreachable dance god olympus, so to speak. And for me the answer is that it makes no difference! Dancing makes personalities fade away and becomes the sole focus.

    Romantic involvement though is tough one. I would personally draw the professionalism line at romantic relationship, but what if indeed two people realize that it's fate and they're meant for each other? I'd say, given that chances of such a situation are slim, statistically speaking, and the bias could be large, in that case proceed with extreme caution :)
    twothreefourone likes this.
  5. dbk

    dbk Well-Known Member

    For me, it depends on the teacher. I occasionally socialize with a few of my pros (dinner in small groups, mostly) and they are still all business during lessons. If anything, it makes lessons a little better, because they know we won't be offended by stricter teaching methods (and making fun of our mistakes.... :p).

    On the other hand, there is a fantastic pro in my area that we just can't take lessons with... even though we only see them at the studio, we talk a lot and have known each other for a while. When we see them for a lesson, they're too chatty/friendly with us (particularly my partner) and we don't get a lot done. It would probably be worse if we interacted more outside of the studio... or, who knows, maybe it would get us out of the weird "chatty acquaintances" phase. Meh. I'm considering just taking lessons with their partner, who we don't know as well... :p

    (*trying to use gender-neutral pronouns here...*)
  6. Olga Y

    Olga Y Member

    I know what you mean, some people are just chatty aren't they :) I think maybe it would indeed help to socialize outside the studio, 'cause then the by time you have a lesson you would've caught up on non-dance things :)
    dbk likes this.
  7. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    I am aware of a local studio owner who not only crossed the line with a student, but absolutely obliterated it, in a very public and scandalous manner. It harmed the entire local dance community, and it's still reverberating years later.
  8. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    I've seen it...and honestly, a few of them are consequently not on my short list if I should ever be so unfortunate as to have my current pro retire before I am ready to quit
  9. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    Years and years ago, my very first dance instructor, who put me in a totally bogus teacher training program, forbade me from socializing with students (after I became a teacher) because she insisted that I would lose my authority with them and wouldn't be able to teach them. She had spent a lot of time working for AM, and I'm sure that's where it came from. I left that studio a few months later.

    I may sound like I'm going against what I said earlier, but I am good friends with my dance teachers. I've known my ballroom coach for most of my dance career and we know each other very well. I go to an old friend of my husband's, who then became a friend of mine, for WCS although I may get some AT from her as well. I just took an AT lesson from a guy I got drunk with last night. Because these are my friends, I can relax (as much as I am capable of relaxing while having my dancing torn apart), swear at them, complain, etc., and they know I'm just blowing off steam and will do whatever they say. They don't pull punches with me, and I don't want them to.

    But the thing is, I was friends with them first, then got lessons from them. And I have taught lessons to people who were friends first and it was fine. I just don't feel like I want to socialize with my students who were students first. And I certainly wouldn't want to date one at the same time I'm teaching them. I don't remember if I mentioned this before, but trying to teach my husband was a disaster. Of course, there were underlying issues there that contributed and that's a different story.
  10. letsdance101

    letsdance101 Active Member

    I have always wondered about the whole teacher/student relationship. at my studio there are a few teachers that socialize a lot with their students outside of the studio, but definitely not in a romantic way at all. I guess it's okay, but then again I wonder if they socialize with their students because they want too or because they think they will get more lessons out of them... not sure how genuine those relationships turn out to be... I do chat with my instructor on facebook about random stuff which I do find kind of odd when I start to think about it. I used to take ballet and I would never dare talk to my teacher outside of class.... ever. Ballroom is just a whole world of it's own I guess
  11. LordBallroom

    LordBallroom Member

    I've seen alot of teachers socializing with students. I think that if I was a customer at a ballroom studio (or any business for that matter) I would expect the relationship to fade once I stopped purchasing their product. I haven't necessarily seen that happen first hand in my experiences in dance studios but I also haven't been around them very long. My knowledge and experience in dealing with human beings in general is what I base this opinion on. Also, in my experience, the students that are excited about socializing with their teachers outside the studio seem like they are very lonely people in general. I think a good rule of thumb is: be suspicious of those who are trying to be your "friend" after a business transaction in which you paid them money. At least, keep your expectations of that relationship low.
  12. SwayWithMe

    SwayWithMe Active Member

    True, and many of them seem to be drawn to dance precisely because of the social interactions it offers.

    Here's another perspective:

    I am a happily married, busy mother of three school-aged kiddos. I have a large close-knit social circle. I've been dancing for two years, competing since last July.

    I need "dance friends." There are very very few other competitive students here. The one closest to my age who I consider a real friend and can be completely frank with is on a break from the studio right now. I've not yet managed to cultivate anything more than a friendly acquaintanceship with the others. The social dancers treat me with great suspicion when I talk about how much I love competing; they would clearly prefer torture. I have fan girls. They need to get out more, because I have oh so very much left to learn.

    With whom can I discuss dance stuff? Goals, dreams, frustrations? The same people I go to coach's monthly dance camp with -- the instructors. Even then, many of them are not competitive dancers, and some are fan girls, which I find utterly appalling.

    So I FB and text and socialize with instructors. It's not completely comfortable, but it's much better than nothing.
    dbk likes this.
  13. Gorme

    Gorme Active Member

    The social dancers treat me with great respect when I talk about how much I love dancing. They even ask me about when I'm going to compete, how I did, and if they can watch the videos. I go to the social parties all the time so the social crowd sees me as one of them.
    SwayWithMe likes this.
  14. SwayWithMe

    SwayWithMe Active Member

    LOL I'm usually the last one standing at the parties -- I think they view me as part of the gang, they just don't understand the competing part *at all*.
  15. Gorme

    Gorme Active Member

    They don't have to understand. All they know is that there is more available and if they ever want to know more, you'll be a great resource.
  16. cornutt

    cornutt Well-Known Member

    Us! :cool:
    twothreefourone and SwayWithMe like this.
  17. SwayWithMe

    SwayWithMe Active Member

    I know! Thank goodness for DF!! :)

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