Have you fired a student?

I have fired "difficult students" on a few occasions form group classes mainly. One case that I remember vividly was the student did not follow my instruction at all and was disruptive to the whole class. For example, we had a rotational system where everybody had to dance with everybody and rotate to the same way...Every time I'd say "rotate", this student did not pay attention and instead get out of the circle and storm to me (very closely) to ask me random questions...when I tried several times to let her know that she needed to follow the class, she was arguing with me...That's when I realized I need to let her go.

It's a two-way relationship and its not worth having 1 "misbehaving" person ruin it for everyone else...


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With those, I meant the one that complains and brings down the rest of the class. If you're just joking around complaining and working hard, you obviously have a good attitude :)
Yes. If you say, "this is hard!" in a sort of joking/blowing off steam manner, it can lighten the tension and even provide fodder for the teacher to respond to you...like the straight man in a comedy act. Just make sure you don't overdo it to the point of being distracting. ....and make sure you're really trying and working hard to get the material, which makes it clear you really were joking (at least, mostly joking).


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Before firing a student, I can imagine that teachers do some long, hard thinking about any possible fallout.
My $0.02.
Sometimes your hand gets forced. Without going into details, I am aware of a student who got fired because said student was causing a lot of problems in group classes and on Friday night. This was a student who was spending quite a bit of money, but the studio was losing other business because of said student's presence. There was short-term pain because the studio had to refund quite a bit on pre-paid lessons, but in the long run, that student was costing the studio money in lost business and reputation.


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* disclaimer- really need to vent from an unpleasant interaction with a student tonight*

I currently teach the newcomer class for my collegiate team. Not ideal, as I would like them to have more qualified instruction, but all the team can afford. I have one student who is extremely difficult. He thinks he is better than the rest of the class as he came in at the beginning of the year with a little experience. However, he is probably the weakest dancer in the class. During class time, he consistently does not pay attention, and then asks myself and my co-teacher to essentially repeat what we just said.
During the required 2 hour team practices, he doesn't practice on his own- today he spent at least half of the practice sitting out. He claims that he doesn't know how to do the steps right, so he doesn't want to practice them. He also complains that he doesn't know how to practice- which would be legitimate except that I've given him several (free) private tutoring sessions on how to structure individual practice.
Today he asked me for a private lesson. While I'm usually happy to give my students privates (I find immense satisfaction in their improvement) I feel that I am wasting my time tutoring a student who doesn't seem motivated to improve on his own. I turned him down and told him that I wouldn't schedule any lessons with him until I saw more effort during lessons and practice.

I'm not sure what to do with him... I feel terrible turning down students who ask for help, but when I do help him, we just end up rehashing everything I've already told him, which is very frustrating for me. I've suggested that he find a more experienced teacher... I think that a professional is better qualified to address his frustrations than I am, however, money is tight for him and he is unable to afford lessons. Any suggestions for this situation would be greatly appreciated!


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I would tell him exactly which behaviors are unacceptable and exactly what he has to do for how long in order to "earn" the chance for a private lesson.


Active Member
He might be looking for a supervised practice. Write down on paper a list of exercises for him to run through. Show him how to do the exercise and have him repeat it to you to make sure he understands. Have him bring that paper with him to every practice. Keep a copy for yourself in case he loses his.


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If I were in a similar circumstance to what I think you are describing...
1) Ask if there is something going on that makes him unable to follow the group class. If he protests he does follow, ask why he finds it necessary to ask us to repeat material we've already gone over. It may turn out there is a legitimate reason, but if there isn't, then I would stop repeating material for his benefit.
2) If I had given him material on how to practice, and he asks for a private, I would say "I don't see you using what I've already taught you, I can't see the point in any more private instruction."

If he can't show evidence that he values what he has already been given, there isn't any point in giving him any more.


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I had to have it out with a group lesson student a few years ago because he was taking intermediate classes when he didn't even have the basics down, didn't listen in class, talked to his partner while i was talking, etc. I forget how the convo started, but I think he expressed frustration and I let him have it. He was genuinely surprised that he was doing anything wrong. I was a big flabbergasted at his ignorance.


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Thanks for the advice guys!
I think I"ll ask him whats up- why isn't paying attention in class/using practice time etc. I'll be sure to mention that his current behavior is unacceptable for the group classes. If he puts some effort in to improving upon these comments, I'll try to get my male teammate to help him out more- perhaps he really needs a male perspective, which is totally legit!


Well-Known Member
I don't know Deb, I've overheard my dentist tell the receptionist in his office that he didn't want Mrs So-N-So to be able to schedule with him anymore. I have no idea the reasons behind his decision but I would assume it would be pretty close to my reasoning. So I don't think that we, as professional dancer teachers, are taking liberties not also extended to any other professional industry, even the medical field.

Not following my professional advice they are paying me for is not enough to dismiss a client or a patient. It makes me sigh but I don't fire them for it. When someone is verbally abusive, is disruptive to my ability to earn income, and shows complete lack of regard for the civility of the community I create so that other clients don't want to come back... those certainly are within the rights of any professional or business to stand up against.


I am replying to an old post of yours but it makes me wonder as I am reading from the various pros; How frustrating is it when I/we just don't get it? (By I, I do mean me) I know you don't know me but I am sure you've had students like me. I sometimes feel for my instructor, I know she is getting paid but I would be so tired of telling me the same thing over and over. I understand it in my mind but the body is often not following my brain. What she is saying makes sense, she leads me, it makes sense; I try to lead, what happened??? I know I am progressing but I have honestly worried that one day she would tell me I am hopeless and fire me. So there is no misunderstanding, she has never given any indication of being frustrated with me, but if I were the instructor, I might have fired me by now. I am wondering, do instructors get frustrated with slow learners.

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