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Thread: Should I take on another class?




  1. #1
    I could get used to this! bella237's Avatar
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    Should I take on another class?

    Having a bit of a dilemma and Iím trying to sort out the best way to handle it. I teach in a midsize town, where there are several other teachers, some competent, some not. A little history, about 4 years ago, my then teacher started working with me to take over the 2 classes she taught at the local college. I worked with her for a little over a year and by the time she graduated had taken over both of them, which I still teach. She passed her advanced class at a local studio, which I took as a student, on to another dancer who taught it for the next year. That teacher had a career change at which she (along with one of my classmates who was also my dance partner) talked me into taking over the advanced class. After much thought I did begin teaching it and still enjoy teaching it.

    While all of this is going on, my dance partner was teaching the beginner class at the same local studio where I taught. About a year and a half ago, when she decided to get out of teaching, she passed it along to a former troupe mate who wanted to/was ready to teach and who also needed the money teaching would bring (there was other drama surrounding this, but Iím not sure how much was truth and how much was rumor). Well, now this teacher has decided she canít handle teaching an hour long class, working (part of the time from home) and being a mom.

    Hereís the dilemma, Iím perfectly happy and even a bit overextended with the 3 classes I have since I also have a full time job and am also a mom to my stepdaughter (who is with us almost every night). I could take the class, but I donít know if my heart would be in it since I feel guilted into taking it. I donít have any students who have both the skill and the dedication to the dance to have take it over Ė I would in about a year, but they just arenít ready yet. I could recruit another teacher to teach it, but my options are a former troupe mate who is still dancing, but Iím not sure if she is interested in teaching a brand or new teacher who I donít really know much about. What I can find about the new teacher online shows her doing more Indian dance than bellydance. Whoever took over the class I would be willing to help and mentor, but I also donít want it to be someone who doesnít know their stuff. Or I could let the beginner class die. In that case the beginner students may or may not migrate to another teacher or some of them may join my advanced class, where they would likely be way out of place. To top it off, the studio is struggling financially, so even a class of 4-5 helps out.
    Any advice? Do I let a class of 5 die just because I donít want to teach it?


  2. #2
    Official BHUZzer taaj's Avatar
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    Re: Should I take on another class?

    Girl, I think you answered your own question. If you're heart is not in it and you are already over extended, you should NOT take on another class. I'd let the class die out. It's not because I am heartless and don't care about the 5 students that are there. It's because I have learned that if I don't take good care of myself, everything I do suffers: my job, my family, my relationships, my health. It's horrible when there is a problem that you can fix, but don't really have the time to do it well. But, it's not your problem. The things on your plate right now are your priority.

    Don't worry. It will all sort itself out.

    Taaj
    beafarhana and khalida777 like this.


  3. #3
    Ultimate BHUZzer Tourbeau's Avatar
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    Re: Should I take on another class?

    Considering how many teachers here are frustrated with the lack of students and they're downsizing their businesses to compensate, the idea of throwing five students away would be enough to make a person cry. If you simply can't work things out, that's that, but I would really recommend that you look for a possible solution that would allow these students to join your flock. Now perhaps these students aren't worth saving--maybe they're hopelessly uncoordinated dancers and obnoxious human beings, so letting them roll off the page is no loss to anyone but your ledger book--but if they have potential and they've been reasonably dedicated and loyal to her class, I wouldn't abandon them.

    Are you sure there isn't someone who could help run this class? Do you have a pretty good dancer in your advanced class who could student teach with your help planning the material? Are you sure this former troupe mate wouldn't be interested?

    Would your advanced class be willing to switch to a mixed-level format? Could you swing-shift the class by making it 90 minutes long with the first hour for lower level and the last hour for upper level, and both groups sharing the middle thirty minutes?

    Is every other teacher in town so bad that you couldn't refer this group to a different studio with a clear conscience?
    Last edited by Tourbeau; 11-15-2011 at 05:00 PM. Reason: Rewrote to fix misunderstanding


  4. #4
    I could get used to this! bella237's Avatar
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    Re: Should I take on another class?

    Torbeau, there is my dilemma. They aren't my students, but I don't like leaving them stranded, although their current teacher doesn't seem to have that problem. If the class dies, I will make sure they are referred to the other good teacher in town, but honestly I would not suggest any of the other dancers. I don't mind sending them to the competition, as long as the competition is good - which we do have in town. Unfortunately, until their teacher officially announces she's leaving, I'm not in the position to actively help recruit a new teacher. Once that happens I'll talk to my friend and see if she is interested.

    Are they hopeless? Nope. From what I've seen, they are sweet, love dancing, but right now aren't at the technique and motivation level of my other class. They may never be, which is ok, they are in this for fun. The educator in me doesn't like them being left, even if I am not the one doing the leaving. The size of the class really isn't the issue either. I prefer to have 4 or more so although it won't be a big money maker for anyone, it's not a bad pay when compared to the local gyms. I have considered some sort of split/overlapping class but I need some time to try to mentally figure that one out.


  5. #5
    Ultimate BHUZzer Tourbeau's Avatar
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    Re: Should I take on another class?

    Sorry, I wasn't understanding the backstory. I'm still not entirely clear on where your responsibility for dealing with this originates. What do the students expect? Were they told you'll be their new teacher?

    Without knowing the leaving teacher, it is hard to say how irresponsible she's being. If it turned out she was tired of teaching and just felt like walking away it would be different than if she was leaving for a family emergency she didn't want to disclose.

    Either way, I think there is a PR issue that resonates beyond whatever drama goes on in your town. The GP can have this stereotype that belly dancers are sort of goofy, unrealistic, and immature. (Hard to tell if that is better or worse than being nympho sultan-seducers...) If you imagine what it would be like to be in that class--you're enjoying it, and then your teacher flakes off into the ozone--and nobody else comes forward to help you, wouldn't you figure that this wasn't really worth your time and effort? Even if you're not ever going to be a pro, if you believe you've been a good member, you want to feel that this community respects you. I don't think any of us want to send ex-students out into the world with a story that they liked the class, but it fell apart and nobody cared about picking up the pieces--not when we could put them in a position where they felt embraced by a community who welcomed and looked out for them.


  6. #6
    Just Starting! milagros's Avatar
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    Re: Should I take on another class?

    Given the circumstances you described, I would not take on another class. Your plate sounds full and you run the risk of burning out. Perhaps the best efforts will be in helping them find another existing class.
    Last edited by milagros; 11-19-2011 at 05:47 PM.


  7. #7
    I could get used to this! bella237's Avatar
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    Re: Should I take on another class?

    There current teacher broke the news to them this week. Now she's following up on some leads to find a new teacher. I'm hoping it works out. These women have worked really hard on the number they are performing next month in our student show and it would be a shame if they couldn't keep dancing together.

    I'm at peace (finally) with my decision to not step in and take over, so now all I can do is help find another teacher.


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