Studio non-fraternization contracts, protecting whom?

Discussion in 'General Dance Discussion' started by Gator, Aug 24, 2003.

  1. d nice

    d nice New Member

    Non-fraternization contracts are not to protect the teacher or the student, but to protect the studio.
  2. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Ok, I managed to stay away from this the first time round, but here it goes...

    Non-fraternization policies are – and as per d nice’s point – studio policies. They exist because they are in the studio’s interests. Now does this mean that teachers and students both never avail themselves of such policies? Of course not. It provides an easy “out” when one party or the other either can’t or doesn’t want to make the distinction, i.e. letting an instructor remain friendly in a lesson while providing a non-alienating means to decline personal advances. In most situations, however, such policies are just part of larger marketing strategies and gimmicks…instructors can now be *very* friendly, and assert personal investment, concern, and interest but hide behind the policy.

    I know that I was far more naïve when I first started dancing and exactly such tactics were used and, I hate to say, worked on me. I honestly felt like I mattered to my instructor, not just my checkbook.
  3. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Yes, SD. A lot of people have been really hurt by the games played by unscrupulous dance instructors and other sales people. :cry: This isn't related to romance, but I have an old friend who truly loved her dance instructor -- bought him and the rest of the instructors elaborate lunches every Friday, bought hundreds of lessons simply at his request. She treated him like a son. And of course, because of the studio's policy, he always managed to keep her at an arm's length. I'll never forget how he left the studio. He went to all his students, begged/manipulated them into buying more lessons from him on Friday. When we all came back from a holiday break the next Tuesday, he had quit suddenly without so much as a goodbye. No one felt hit as hard as my friend. She thought he really cared about her. But he didn't care about her at all. Just the money he could get from her. It was awful.
  4. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Wow Jenn, that really is awful!
  5. DanceMentor

    DanceMentor Administrator

    I hate the idea of anyone buying 100 lessons. It's just not necessary.
  6. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    At my former (franchise) studio, no one was ever even offered less than fifty lessons at a time. Generally, the best customers would buy 50 to 100 lessons per sales campaign, or more if the studio came up with a "special offer." Remember the FTC guideline about overlapping contracts? That tactic was used all the time.

    Now, I buy lessons ten at a time, and that's only because my coach offers a 10% discount for buying them in tens. And I do mean a real discount. He charges the same as the going rate for all the independent instructors in town, minus 10%. A good guy. :D
  7. IvyAB

    IvyAB Member

    This policy is also incase a student and teacher are dating and break up, the student would most likely stop taking lessons at that studio, and there goes a customer. It also prevents some jealousy (not that a lot doesn't remain) between students. Most students fall a little in love with their instructor, and there does have to be a line drawn to protect the instructor as well as the studio, hopefully without hurting students' feelings. The same thing with accepting gifts from students. Students tend to think they own you, you owe them something other than lessons if expensive gifts are given. It gets too personal. On another subject, Most of our lesson programs are over 100 lessons, depending on the student's level and ability. At my previous studio (a franchise) we never sold more than 50 at a time, and never corresponding to a level of dance. When it's planned out in detail, large programs make a lot of sense--you know exactly what you're going to get out of it, and what you'll learn by the end of the program.
  8. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Hmm. That's some good food for thought, LauraB. And not to be difficult, but I've seen some teachers try to play it both ways. One the one hand, they encourage students to develop that emotional attachment in order to get them to buy more lessons. Yet they hide behind the nonfraternization policy to protect themselves from students' emotional attachments. Wouldn't it be easier to just not encourage those attachments in the first place?

    True, many students develop affection for their teachers for lots of reasons -- time spent together, the intimacy of the situation, the student's unfulfilled emotional needs from their personal lives. But teachers know that, don't they? I'm sure it's talked about in the studios' planning meetings. Teachers aren't naive in that respect, but I think many students are. So I think teachers bear a heavier responsibility to keep their behavior in check and protect the students, not just themselves. And that goes beyond written policies to personal integrity. Policies can't cover that.

    What do you think?
  9. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Oops. I guess I was in a bad mood this morning. That came across a little strong. My bad. :oops: Maybe I was a little unfair to teachers out there. Ther ARE lots of bad guys out there, but there are also many, many reputable and conscientious teachers.
  10. 007

    007 New Member

    fraternization with students

    what is everyones thoughts on this subject? do you approve in students and teachers hanging out together? how about if a teacher and a student start dating? i know most studios have very strict guidlines on this subject to protect there "product".
  11. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    Welcome to df 007. Into James Bond? There has been some talk on this subject before. I'll try and dig some threads up later if no-one else does...
  12. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

  13. Pacion

    Pacion New Member

    Ditto what Sagitta said and welcome! Question. Are you talking about dance studios in general or is there a specific type of dance and if so, which one?

    (I am guessing you are talking about ballroom dance studios?)
  14. 007

    007 New Member

    guys i'm not new to this site. i want to keep my identity a secret on this subject though.
    recently i have a student and we get along great and have been hanging out together outside of the studio. last night we went to to a major latin club and had a blast. she is my top student i have right now and i dont want to risk anything. we talked about our guidelines i have at work and we agreed to keep things strictly professional in the studio. she isnt asking me for any free lessons or extra treatment. when we go out she even insits on paying or we take turns. i'm just trying to see what everyone elses opinions are on this subject. please if you you know who i am dont say anything. i would really just prefer to be "007" about it.
    btw, yes i do love james bond.
  15. DancePoet

    DancePoet New Member

    Re: fraternazation with students

    Sure.
    Maybe.
    Seems like everything is ok based on what you describe. Is there something that concerns you about the situation?

    And by the way, welcome to Dance Forums!
  16. 007

    007 New Member

    i guess there really isnt anything that concearns me. i was jsut asking a question on what people think about getting involved with a student. so far everything is great between us and i couldnt be happier which is whats important to me. i guess more then anything i'm trying to weigh the cost of losing my job to the importance of the girl and having a relationship.
  17. ReneeJoan

    ReneeJoan New Member

    I guess this is one where the answer is, "It really depends." Is the woman in question a 15 year old "Jennifer Jones" with stars in her eyes and "crush on her teacher?" Or are you both mature adults old enough to know what you want and able to recognize the "real deal" when it comes along? And what's the nature of the emotional relationship -- genuine love relationship is a relationship of equals. The teacher/student relationship is inherently unbalanced with the teacher in a position of power and authority and the student in position of submissiveness and obedience.

    I also have dinner with my tango teacher a couple of times a week, but it never seems like a "date." It's just me having dinner with my teacher, and during dinner, I'm still interacting with him as a teacher, only it's more as a spiritual guide and counselor than about dance once the lesson is over. We usually go dutch, and if he treats occasionally, I will usually treat the next time, so that it stays equal. And like you, I never try to get free lessons, or abuse the business relationship by pressing on the friendship. I think it's important to keep those two things separate.

    As long as you're not abusing the emotions of a dewey-eyed innocent, and it's not effecting your professional relationship, I don't see any problem with the situation as you've described it.

    Renee
  18. DancePoet

    DancePoet New Member

    Hmmm .. so you have an interest in her and you are holding back?

    Choice A: Date in secret, but this can't go on forever, loose your job.

    Choice B: Date in the open, loose your job.

    Choice C: Find a new job, then date.

    Choice D: Don't date.

    Measure the pluses and minuses, and decide which pluses and minuses you're willing to live with and which one's your're not.
  19. dancin_feet

    dancin_feet New Member

    I guess the only problem I would have with it would be if either of you openly displayed your relationship while you were working. Business is business and if you have to hand her over to another instructor to maintain your integrity, do it. Though if the studio has rules against it, I would either stop it immediately or talk to the studio owner if you both really think this has the potential to go anywhere. Don't try to do anything secretly, you will always be found out.

    If it is two adults who really think this could be something worth persuing, then go for it, but be aware of others around you and the business environment. Might seem strange to be asking permission of your boss, but if they are the studio rules, and you want to keep your job, do it.
  20. 007

    007 New Member

    reneejoan, danicn feet, dance poet: these are the post i was looking forward to reading. you all made wonderful points and things to consider. we are both very mature adults and are capable of making our own decisions.
    i also love my job and love what i do. i am in no way trying to use that to my advantage to get to her more easily. i am thankful that we were able to meet through dancing. we have come to find we have a lot in common and are very similiar. as far as saying this might be the real deal. i'm in know position to say that this early on. i do have a strong feeling toward her and i know the feeling is mutual, but a months time isnt enough yet. if it is great, if not live and learn.
    as far as teaching in the studio. i've made it a point that we must keep it professional at all times. if anything were to happen i would have to take blame but i dont forsee that happening. i also wouldnt have a problem if i had to give her to anther teacher. but me being one of two male teachers i would still have to be buddied with her.

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