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  1. #1
    Master BHUZzer aziyade's Avatar
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    To all students, regarding "loyalty" to your teacher:

    Dear students of this beautiful art form,

    I am a teacher. I teach because I am passionate about this dance and I want others to share my passion.

    I am NOT teaching because I require a fan club.
    I am NOT teaching because I require devotees or because I need hero worship.

    As your teacher, my job is to TEACH you; to inspire you to be your best. If I am a really GOOD teacher, then I also will not be your ONLY teacher. I will encourage you to study with other teachers who have skills and experience I lack. Because I am NOT the end-all, be-all of belly dance knowledge.

    You as a student OWE ME NOTHING. You may thank me after class, you may credit me on your first performance dvd, you may remember me when you are touring with Jillina, but you DO NOT owe me anything. (You paid for your class. I taught you. We are even.)

    I am an emotionally-mature adult (for the most part.) I do not require your "loyalty" or allegiance. You do not have to take my classes just because I offer them, or just because I was your first teacher. You will not be "cheating on me" by taking classes with another instructor.

    You should be taking my class because you enjoy it and are learning something. If you are no longer enjoying it or learning from it, then I would be the first to encourage you to find another, or a different, teacher. I want you to love this dance as much as I do.

    Your job is to learn and practice, not to worry about my ego. I will not be "mad" at you for moving to a new level with your dance. You need to worry about YOU, and making yourself a better dancer. I will never resent you and I will only respect you for moving onward and upward.

    Do what's right for YOU. I'll be fine, whether I'm dancing beside you or watching you from the audience. I promise.

    Yours truly,
    Your dance teacher


  2. #2
    Mega BHUZzer Azeeza's Avatar
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    Re: To all students, regarding "loyalty" to your teacher:

    A-MEN!

    Azeeza


  3. #3
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Lauren_'s Avatar
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    Re: To all students, regarding "loyalty" to your teacher:

    Bravo!


  4. #4
    Established BHUZzer Candi's Avatar
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    Re: To all students, regarding "loyalty" to your teacher:

    Yes some of us teachers are actually well adjusted adults who just want our students to do well and enjoy their dancing.
    Enjoyed that Aziyade thankyou


  5. #5
    Mega BHUZzer maliaraqs's Avatar
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    Re: To all students, regarding "loyalty" to your teacher:

    Big zaghareet for that!


  6. #6
    Ultimate BHUZzer lizajuk's Avatar
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    Re: To all students, regarding "loyalty" to your teacher:

    One of my first ( and most talented) dancers has just left my classes.. She is teaching tribal lessons ( her first interest.
    She gave me credit for instilling the love of the dance in her, gicing her plenty of information and a kick-start to her own belly dance "career". Isn't that what it's supposed to be about?
    We will still be friends.
    She is involved in other ventures with me, I will see her at haflas and workshops and know she might never have been a belly dancer without me.
    It's like teaching kids or brnging up children. You don't own 'em!


  7. #7
    tamrahennatx
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    Re: To all students, regarding "loyalty" to your teacher:

    Hear, hear!


  8. #8
    Official BHUZzer veritate's Avatar
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    Re: To all students, regarding "loyalty" to your teacher:

    Excellent post!

    Last summer, I approached my academy director about her feelings on me taking a summer session with a "rival" instructor in town.

    ("Rival" by other people's perception - not by my academy director's perception.)

    I also asked how she would feel if I performed with another group of girls from this "rival's" school.

    Her words to me were this:

    "Do it. Find every opportunity to study from different instructors. [Rival instructor] can teach you to spin better than I can! If you ever want to learn different things, I can help you find other instructors who can teach you.

    And perform whenever you possibly can. It's why you're paying for classes!"

    I did end up taking the class and doing that "extra-curricular" performance, but the irony is, her open-mindedness made me more loyal to her than ever!


  9. #9
    Advanced BHUZzer AngelaDiCaprio's Avatar
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    Re: To all students, regarding "loyalty" to your teacher:

    Well said!


  10. #10
    Ultimate BHUZzer tahiradancer's Avatar
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    Re: To all students, regarding "loyalty" to your teacher:

    I agree whole heartedly with everything which has been said. As someone who was brainwashed by a teacher who said, no one else can teach you authentic belly dance, I know how hard it can be to break away from someone of that mentality. Now I take from everyone who I feel is qualified.

    the sad part, in my opinion, is that this teacher has a great deal to share. She is one of the few experts on Turkish style belly dance in LA along with having at least one masters degree in Turkish Rom. I would love to arrange private lessons with her to cover those two topics, but am concerned about being talked down to because of my other back ground and teachers.

    {{{HUGS}}}


  11. #11
    Mega BHUZzer yasmindiab's Avatar
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    Re: To all students, regarding "loyalty" to your teacher:

    This is beautiful.

    Last year, I auditioned for a teaching position, and turned it down largely because the owner of the studio expected me to tell my students that they had to be "loyal" to me and the studio. Not how we do it!! :)

    hugs


  12. #12
    Master BHUZzer lotus's Avatar
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    Re: To all students, regarding "loyalty" to your teacher:

    Aziyade, I like your points.


  13. #13
    Ultimate BHUZzer sumayasaahir's Avatar
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    Re: To all students, regarding "loyalty" to your teacher:

    Encore, encore!


  14. #14
    Established BHUZzer emtink's Avatar
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    Re: To all students, regarding "loyalty" to your teacher:

    wow, what a timely post! nice to see that there are so many teachers out there who really believe this philosophy. sunshine on an otherwise cloudy month.

    thank you aziyade!


  15. #15
    Advanced BHUZzer mrsnj20's Avatar
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    Re: To all students, regarding "loyalty" to your teacher:

    I wish all teachers thought this way! thanks for the post!:)


  16. #16
    Ultimate BHUZzer zorba's Avatar
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    Re: To all students, regarding "loyalty" to your teacher:

    I once left a teacher over issues similar to this. Jealousy over every other teacher in our extended area, expecting loyalty from us, but not giving any in return. Talking herself up as the best thing to hit Belly Dance since {insert uber-dancer here, although she'd probably dislike 95% of your choices}. Talks about supporting her local dance community - by not inviting local dancers to her shows, but bringing them in from out of town.

    Yea, I'm VERY familiar...

    Sad part of it is, she really was one of the top dancers in the area - she had nothing to fear from anyone. I learned a tremendous amount from her!


  17. #17
    Advanced BHUZzer ErikaOH's Avatar
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    Re: To all students, regarding "loyalty" to your teacher:

    Well spoken, indeed!


  18. #18
    Ultimate BHUZzer *Shira*'s Avatar
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    Re: To all students, regarding "loyalty" to your teacher:

    As a student, there was a time when I was taking classes 4 nights a week, each from a different teacher. Some were better dancers than others, but I learned something valuable from each. All have influenced not only how I perform, but also how I teach.

    They earned my loyalty by being warm and welcoming when I came in the door, being well-prepared for class, teaching subject matter I wanted to learn, and providing a classroom experience that I enjoyed.


  19. #19
    Advanced BHUZzer KelsNasim's Avatar
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    Re: To all students, regarding "loyalty" to your teacher:

    Great post!
    I love my teacher and I know that she'd be the first one to tell me to go see ______ if she thinks they can teach me something particular that she cannot.
    Makes me love her more. ..l;,


  20. #20
    Official BHUZzer nilifer's Avatar
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    Re: To all students, regarding "loyalty" to your teacher:

    I wish all dance teachers felt the same way. I had a horrible experience last year with an instructor after I started taking lessons with another teacher as well. I almost gave up dancing entirely.


  21. #21
    Mega BHUZzer Linnyg's Avatar
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    Re: To all students, regarding "loyalty" to your teacher:

    My instructor incourages all of us to take as many workshops from other people as possible. She is well aware that she is not an all knowing belly dancer!
    Thank you for posting this, there are some students out there that need to hear this.


  22. #22
    Master BHUZzer aziyade's Avatar
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    Re: To all students, regarding "loyalty" to your teacher:

    You know, I think we all need to put it into perspective some times.

    I teach friends, and sure I sort of feel a twinge of :( when they don't come back. BUT, those same friends also teach knitting and painting classes that I once attended, but don't take anymore (or don't take very often) due to time constraints. So I get it.

    I'm also of the spiritual belief that the people who come into our lives come to us for a reason. They are in our lives for exactly as long as they need to be (whether one hour or one lifetime) for us to learn something from them and grow as human beings.

    Sometimes I get really mad at teachers who try to "own" students or make them feel guilty for taking other classes or even moving on in life. Stuff like that makes me write stuff like this, so hopefully students can see what the teacher-student dynamic is supposed to be like.


  23. #23
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. anala's Avatar
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    Re: To all students, regarding "loyalty" to your teacher:

    Nice thread...we just lost 5 troupe members in the last few months. 2 of them have been with me as students since they were 17. They are now 20 and 21. Sniff...


  24. #24
    Advanced BHUZzer donnadiva's Avatar
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    Re: To all students, regarding "loyalty" to your teacher:

    Yay! You said EXACTLY what I would have said if I had thought of it first.

    The only thing I would ask a student moving on, especially one that's been with me for a very long time, is to tell me you're leaving so that I can cheer you on and wish you well. Don't just fade away because you're afraid of hurting my feelings. I know when my students have outgrown me. And I've always encouraged all of my students to take from other instructors. And it's OK! But if you just stop coming to class, or stop communicating, unless I contact you and ask (which I probably wouldn't do), I won't know if you're leaving because of something I said, or did, or didn't do. That would hurt my feelings. The not knowing.

    So to all of my long-time students who have "graduated" I say HOORAY!!! I'M PROUD OF YOU!!!


  25. #25
    Ultimate BHUZzer artemisia_danst's Avatar
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    Re: To all students, regarding "loyalty" to your teacher:

    i just had a new student come and ask me if i "allow" them to take classes elsewhere either. i almost dropped the cds i was holding. i'm like of course, why on earht NOT. and she gave me this puzzled look, well, my previous teacher didnt like it when... aargh!

    i've had students that were hiding that they were taking my classes from their other teachers.

    i've got some friends in ballet and they say it's very compon there, to take privates with other teachers, behind your own studio's back. how horrible


  26. #26
    Established BHUZzer Vasha_Hatal's Avatar
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    Re: To all students, regarding "loyalty" to your teacher:

    I had so many bad experiences with mean possessive teachers when I was a low level dancer, it was terrible! I was only like 14 years old and grown women were sending me nasty e-mails and giving me the cold shoulder because I started taking with other teachers.

    Its awesome to see that there are so many mature and supportive teachers out there! Lets try to keep that up!


  27. #27
    Advanced BHUZzer resullivan's Avatar
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    Re: To all students, regarding "loyalty" to your teacher:

    It's so good to hear this from teachers
    Some of us are wanting to make sure we don't cause too many waves by taking a variety of classes and workshops

    My "loyalty" as a student comes from telling others about the classes I've taken

    oh, and students, we do need to remember to say thank you once in a while. Let our teachers know they make a difference, even after we leave them.


  28. #28
    Advanced BHUZzer khalida777's Avatar
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    Re: To all students, regarding "loyalty" to your teacher:

    Well said, Aziyade!! I've always been happy for my students to study with other teachers in town, perform in their troupes, etc., and am delighted to see them flourish wherever they are.

    I do expect loyalty from my students and troupe members, not an exclusive loyalty to me as teacher, but to principles of respect, honour, teamwork, and communication, amongst others. If someone is constantly bringing down class morale with a negative attitude, complaining about my classes and dissing my choreos behind my back, etc., then it's time for that student to move on, and I wouldn't hesitate to tell him/her so. It's better for everyone including the student if she/he finds instruction elsewhere.

    It's easy to become attached to students when you invest so much time and energy into classes, troupe, and so on. It's also hard to see someone leave the studio, for whatever reason. But as teachers, we are here to teach and inspire, not to control and manipulate. For two years now, I've stepped out of the few solo ops in town so that my top students could gain more experience and exposure. It was no small sacrifice because I loved performing solo, but these students of so much talent needed more spotlight time, and I don't regret it in the least. I am delighted to have contributed to their and others' success, whether it be in dance, personal growth, or in any other way.

    My most advanced student came up to me last week and said she won't be taking classes with me this term but will be traveling regularly to Toronto to take semi-privates with Yasmina Ramzy of Arabesque. I couldn't be more proud, especially as this student has always been a hard worker, loyal troupe member, and is now an excellent and well-loved teacher at my studio. She has also been consistently upfront and communicative about any concerns she's had over the years and has proven trustworthy in all respects. I know that at this stage in her career she needs to move on to higher instruction, and Yasmina is the right mentor for her. What can I say -- I am so very proud of her!!!!

    Once again, fabulous post, Aziyade, thank you so much for sharing!


    Khalida
    Last edited by khalida777; 09-11-2008 at 08:10 PM.


  29. #29
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Lauren_'s Avatar
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    Re: To all students, regarding "loyalty" to your teacher:

    Quote Originally Posted by aziyade View Post
    ... you DO NOT owe me anything. (You paid for your class. I taught you. We are even.)
    I just realized why so many teachers insist that they don't make any money on their classes, haflas, events, etc. Because if they made money (or admitted they made money) then it's all such a simple transaction each week, or each hafla or each workshop.

    No guilt. No manipulation.


  30. #30
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Zumarrad's Avatar
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    Re: To all students, regarding "loyalty" to your teacher:

    Quote Originally Posted by aziyade View Post
    You know, I think we all need to put it into perspective some times.

    I teach friends, and sure I sort of feel a twinge of :( when they don't come back. BUT, those same friends also teach knitting and painting classes that I once attended, but don't take anymore (or don't take very often) due to time constraints. So I get it.

    I'm also of the spiritual belief that the people who come into our lives come to us for a reason. They are in our lives for exactly as long as they need to be (whether one hour or one lifetime) for us to learn something from them and grow as human beings.

    Sometimes I get really mad at teachers who try to "own" students or make them feel guilty for taking other classes or even moving on in life. Stuff like that makes me write stuff like this, so hopefully students can see what the teacher-student dynamic is supposed to be like.
    Yes. My teacher was very much like that - she wanted her students to do WELL and she did not want to force them into choices that didn't suit them personally. If we wanted to study with another teacher, more power to us!

    The only downside is that when you teach, especially if you teach people that are close to peers in either age or dance experience, you do get a little attached and you do feel a bit sad sometimes if they "leave" you. There are some students who you almost want to offload, not because they're bad or nasty but because they have such talent that you want them to get a level of teaching that you cannot give them any more. But with most, there's a bit of a twinge when they "leave the nest".

    I've got my first bunch of new "senior" students who have been predominantly taught by me from the word go now, and it's really interesting. It's going to feel quite different when they fly the nest!


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