Have you fired a student?

Gorme

Active Member
#21
I was wondering about the original use of terminology. Since technically students are the paying clients, they can't be 'fired', they actually are the ones who do the firing. They can be expelled and I can imagine at times it may be a relief to be able to do that, though in today's economic times it must be a difficult decision to make.
The instructor could have so many clients that they have to make a priority on who they would teach. If all the clients want to take from the instructor, but some are more problematic than others, then the instructor can refuse their services to certain clients that do not meet certain criteria.
 

Larinda McRaven

Site Moderator
Staff member
#22
I don't think that anyone is question the practice of removing a student from your client list. I think the shock came from the use of the word "fire".

However it IS the word we, on the teacher side of the fence, use. Even though that may seem ironic for those on the student side of the fence.
 

toothlesstiger

Well-Known Member
#25
I suppose it depends on the teacher. There are those teachers that through their behavior let you know just how privileged you are to have lessons with them.

But on the topic of expelling students from class: there was a time early on in my dancing when a teacher expelled a student from an advanced class, and I was cheering inside myself. It's very frustrating to have the teacher review basics in an advanced class because somebody is taking classes two levels higher than their dance skills, and it is equally frustrating to have to dance with these people in class.

A code of conduct for both students and teachers is IMO a good idea.
 

suburbaknght

Well-Known Member
#26
I've never fired a student but I've tried to have one fire me. They were an emergency wedding couple during the July-October wedding rush. I was teaching in-home lessons at the time and, so far as I knew, was the only professional teacher in my area doing so. This couple, like all wedding couples, didn't have much spare time before the wedding and nothing that worked into my two openings during regular hours in the four days before the wedding when they contacted me. The e-mails were very aggressive and insistent that I had to come teach them, even if it meant bumping my regular students, and weren't taking no for an answer. I decided the best way to handle them was to overcharge so much they'd give up on me, so I offered them an 11:00 PM to 1:00 AM lesson for three times what a former world champion charged for coaching.

To my surprise they accepted and then, at the lesson were as pleasant and charming as could be.
 

Mr 4 styles

Well-Known Member
#27
But on the topic of expelling students from class: there was a time early on in my dancing when a teacher expelled a student from an advanced class, and I was cheering inside myself. It's very frustrating to have the teacher review basics in an advanced class because somebody is taking classes two levels higher than their dance skills, and it is equally frustrating to have to dance with these people in class.
this is why my wife hates dance camps!! she gets stuck dancing with guys who think their level is much higher than it is
 

twnkltoz

Well-Known Member
#28
Others I just drive off.
That's intriguing. How, if you don't mind sharing?
Well, as I said I have tons and tons of patience for beginners or people who are trying their hardest but just aren't getting it yet. For those who don't listen, make excuses, aren't engaged, etc., I lose my patience and get bitchy. Although, I've had people tell me they didn't think I was bitchy at all, but I felt like I was. It's not always my intent to drive them off...most of the time, I really just want them to flip a switch and be a better student.

Here are a couple examples (and I honestly don't care of these people stumble upon this forum and read this):

1. Guy in a workshop was being painfully heavy with his left hand. I asked him to lighten up with it, and he heaved this big sigh and said every girl he dances with tells him something different. He'd been resistant to every correction I tried to make, such as how to do a syncopated break (making a smaller step, not going so far over your front foot, etc)...and I always explain WHY I make corrections so they understand it's not arbitrary. Anyway, he wouldn't look at me (while we were dancing) or acknowledge me after the arm thing, so I said, "Do you want me to help you? Because I'm trying to help you." He didn't answer. So, I wrote him off for the rest of the class. Two of the women in class refused to rotate to him so I danced with them instead. He hates me now. Whee!

2. A few years ago, I took over another teacher's classes for a few months. Several people in the so-called intermediate class didn't even know or understand the basics. I was most exasperated when they weren't changing feet every step in Waltz...I mean, come on. That's fundamental. We were *trying* to do the 3/8 turn combination, and this one guy kept stepping with the wrong foot when he turned right. I tried to explain it in every way possible to get through to him. I showed him. I showed him what was wrong and what was right. I had him go slow so I could tell him where to change feet. I did everything in my bag of tricks and more. In fact, I spent way more time with him than I should have in a groupe class. By the way, he's the sort of student who talks and practices while you're explaining things to the class (my pet peeve). Anyway, after all that he tried the step again and STILL did it wrong. I said, "You just did it the exact same wrong way as you did before." He threw up his hands and said, "I'm trying!" How are you trying??? I said, "I'm trying to teach you, but if you don't do anything I tell you, I can't help." I never saw him again. I guess that's mean of me, but his partners shouldn't have to suffer because he doesn't listen.

On the other hand, I've had people who I could have sworn would hate me because I was hard on them, and they keep coming back. They seem to like it. There's just no telling. :)
 

toothlesstiger

Well-Known Member
#29
DW's version of bitchy (in her mind) is ridiculously solicitous and cordial to my lights. My version of cordial and solicitous is a bit too forthright to her mind, and we won't even talk about what she thinks of my comportment when I'm pissed off. ;)
 

dbk

Well-Known Member
#31
Can't... resist... Guns get fired. Pottery gets fired. Employees get fired. Students get expelled, unless you mean to shoot them, burn them, and store their remains in pottery labeled "Ashes of Problem Students." I suppose you could call that firing a student. And now I can sleep.
Eh, "expel" suggests enrollment or membership, which is not the case for most ballroom dance students. Sure, they're students, but that's just in the sense that they're being taught.

From a business standpoint, the relationship is much closer to freelancer/client than teacher/student. In a traditional school, a teacher can't just expel a student; the school (i.e. the management) expels them. Freelancers fire unwanted clients.

I can only see "expel" applying to heavily structured, contract/enrollment based classes, which are popular in other dance styles (tap, jazz, ballet) but not ballroom.
 

twnkltoz

Well-Known Member
#33
Well, as the student it is your job to be the student and learn from me, the teacher. So if I discharge you from your position as my student, I've fired you. :)
 
#34
I've never fired a student but I've tried to have one fire me. They were an emergency wedding couple during the July-October wedding rush. I was teaching in-home lessons at the time and, so far as I knew, was the only professional teacher in my area doing so. This couple, like all wedding couples, didn't have much spare time before the wedding and nothing that worked into my two openings during regular hours in the four days before the wedding when they contacted me. The e-mails were very aggressive and insistent that I had to come teach them, even if it meant bumping my regular students, and weren't taking no for an answer. I decided the best way to handle them was to overcharge so much they'd give up on me, so I offered them an 11:00 PM to 1:00 AM lesson for three times what a former world champion charged for coaching.

To my surprise they accepted and then, at the lesson were as pleasant and charming as could be.
Desperate people do desperate things...
 

Mr 4 styles

Well-Known Member
#35
i think fired is a valid term

the student is an apprentice paying for the right to train with the master

like the painters and sculptors of old

an apprentice can be fired just ask Donald Trump LOL
 

pygmalion

Well-Known Member
#37
Well, as I said I have tons and tons of patience for beginners or people who are trying their hardest but just aren't getting it yet. For those who don't listen, make excuses, aren't engaged, etc., I lose my patience and get bitchy. Although, I've had people tell me they didn't think I was bitchy at all, but I felt like I was. It's not always my intent to drive them off...most of the time, I really just want them to flip a switch and be a better student.

Here are a couple examples (and I honestly don't care of these people stumble upon this forum and read this):

1. Guy in a workshop was being painfully heavy with his left hand. I asked him to lighten up with it, and he heaved this big sigh and said every girl he dances with tells him something different. He'd been resistant to every correction I tried to make, such as how to do a syncopated break (making a smaller step, not going so far over your front foot, etc)...and I always explain WHY I make corrections so they understand it's not arbitrary. Anyway, he wouldn't look at me (while we were dancing) or acknowledge me after the arm thing, so I said, "Do you want me to help you? Because I'm trying to help you." He didn't answer. So, I wrote him off for the rest of the class. Two of the women in class refused to rotate to him so I danced with them instead. He hates me now. Whee!

2. A few years ago, I took over another teacher's classes for a few months. Several people in the so-called intermediate class didn't even know or understand the basics. I was most exasperated when they weren't changing feet every step in Waltz...I mean, come on. That's fundamental. We were *trying* to do the 3/8 turn combination, and this one guy kept stepping with the wrong foot when he turned right. I tried to explain it in every way possible to get through to him. I showed him. I showed him what was wrong and what was right. I had him go slow so I could tell him where to change feet. I did everything in my bag of tricks and more. In fact, I spent way more time with him than I should have in a groupe class. By the way, he's the sort of student who talks and practices while you're explaining things to the class (my pet peeve). Anyway, after all that he tried the step again and STILL did it wrong. I said, "You just did it the exact same wrong way as you did before." He threw up his hands and said, "I'm trying!" How are you trying??? I said, "I'm trying to teach you, but if you don't do anything I tell you, I can't help." I never saw him again. I guess that's mean of me, but his partners shouldn't have to suffer because he doesn't listen.

On the other hand, I've had people who I could have sworn would hate me because I was hard on them, and they keep coming back. They seem to like it. There's just no telling. :)

Thanks for taking the time to write such a thoughtful response. That clears things up for me. :)


My take? I never have understood how so many teachers (particularly ones who are employed by a studio rather than independent) manage to smile while putting up with so much ungodly crap from students. Some students need and DESERVE to be fired. IMV, three of the scenarios that have been mentioned in this thread are great grounds for firing. The crazies, the cancellers and the don't wanna learners.** If you can't be respectful of the teacher and her/his time, then what the heck are you doing there? That applies to the first two. And the third scenario is a waste of everybody's time. If you don't want to learn, leave. If you want to learn, develop a little humility and *try to* learn. Otherwise, why torture everybody?


There are probably other scenarios in which firing would be deserved. Just haven't thought of all the possibilities.



** I might be a little more merciful on a don't want to learner who was the reluctant half of a couple. That situation has a whole bunch of complications involved.
 

Mengu

Well-Known Member
#38
I think the use of the word in this instance is used in a slightly tongue in cheek way. We all say it as a way to try to take back our power when a client has totally run all over us. And also dress vendors... they fire customers too, lots of them.
My post was also mostly tongue in cheek, I fully understand why it might be better to call it "firing" a student. You could also "give them the sack", or "kick them to the curb". Saying you have "terminated your arrangement" or "decline any future services" probably doesn't feel quite as satisfying, as saying you have "fired" a student. I thought "expelled" was also a sufficiently satisfactory word, though I have a particular liking for that word partly due to Hermione's words "we could have been killed, or worse, expelled!" And sorry about veering fifteen miles off topic.
 

debmc

Well-Known Member
#39
I think I have a problem with the term 'fired' because it can be used to scare students into submission with difficult pros. Students are often taught at the beginning of their pro am journey...'make your pro happy, don't piss him off or he might fire you'. Instead, I think both parties...student or teacher can choose to terminate the partnership if it is not working out.
 

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