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

#1
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?
 

fascination

Site Moderator
Staff member
#2
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 other....it depends on the people, the cues....the clarity...when in doubt, my view is; don't do it
 

Mr 4 styles

Well-Known Member
#4
EPIC nikkitta!!!!


Or should teachers be forbidden to socialize with their students outside of the studio?
any question with an absolute in it is not debateable BTW... simple rule of logic...

rephrase or nikkitta is proven correct
 

Standarddancer

Well-Known Member
#10
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
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.
 

Mr 4 styles

Well-Known Member
#13
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
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.
 
#15
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.
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.
 

fascination

Site Moderator
Staff member
#17
hmm...well...I have known some very homely instructors or those only marginally fit, by superficial standards, who have a wealth of students...
 

debmc

Well-Known Member
#19
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.
 
#20
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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