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  1. #1
    Advanced BHUZzer Marianna's Avatar
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    Things that turn you off when taking private classes

    I'm curious what are the things that you all were turned off by when took private classes. I'm not looking to bash teachers here, and ESPECIALLY do not mention any names, but i think we can all learn (teachers and students) alike from these experiences.

    - when I took 1 class from a teacher, she tried to teach me EVERYTHING in an hour and a half. Of course, nothing really stayed with me.
    - same teacher laid out all of her professional, new costumes for sale on her living room furniture, for us all to see. That's fine. Great, actually. But she kept pushing for me to buy something. If I can't afford something or just don't want to buy it, please don't push me!
    - same teacher called me a 100 times for the next private class, which I never confirmed with her. I think we all know if someone wants us, they'll find us, no need to be stalking.
    This teacher was from out of town, and I guess she was just very anxious to make as much money as possible during her visit.
    The funny thing is, I liked her style of dancing and felt that she had so much to offer. But she went all wrong about it.
    - another thing, that is usually a deal breaker for me. She tried to emphasize the fact that she had taught so many other dancers / teachers. She mentioned a name, who I know well, (she's a great dancer, teacher, almost like a friend) and she said: "oh, you should have seen her before she took classes from me! She was so stiff, ..." - can't remember the rest, I blocked it out. So this means she would talk about me just like that to her next victim. Oh, no!

    Another teacher
    - talked excessively about herself. All the time. I understand that teachers will give us their opinion and philosophy, and all that is great, but these monologues did not contribute to my professional growth. She was so full of herself.
    - she pointed out all my weaknesses in a way as if she wanted to break me down, so I can really see how much I need her. By this time I was a professional dancer, for quite some times, and she knew it. Obviously me seeking out a teacher for private classes already show my humility and that I know I need to improve. Why make me feel like crap?
    - what was the end of it, is that I missed 1 class, so I didn't see said teacher for 3-4 weeks (I was taking classes biweekly). She said, and I quote: : "you completely lost your undulations". So all those years of weekly classes + private classes with excellent teachers meant nothing, because I missed 1 class with her, so I lost my undulations. that was my last class with said teacher, I think.

    I think teachers must find a way to show students the needs for improvement and keep them humble while still encouraging them. It's a fine line, and for some people it's hard to see.

    ok, rant over, anyone else?


  2. #2
    Advanced BHUZzer Marianna's Avatar
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    Re: Things that turn you off when taking private classes

    also wanted to add: I used the female pronouns for all teachers, this way it's even more anonymous. :)


  3. #3
    Established BHUZzer Aziza_UAE's Avatar
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    Re: Things that turn you off when taking private classes

    Biggest turn-off? The instructor taking a call on her mobile during my private lesson...that 4 minute call is $4 of my money/time wasted. Most important it let me know that, despite the fact that I was paying for her time, she was more interested in the other person than in me so, needless to say, I didn't take a class from her again.


  4. #4
    Official BHUZzer LilithNoor's Avatar
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    Re: Things that turn you off when taking private classes

    The instructor taking a call on her mobile during my private lesson
    Good grief, really? That's unbelievable! Even the newest of students I've met wouldn't do something as rude as that, let alone any professional!


  5. #5
    Ultimate BHUZzer Tourbeau's Avatar
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    Re: Things that turn you off when taking private classes

    Teachers who play scheduling games about how much they'd love to work with me but can't ever find the time to do it, even though they can find the time to fit in private lessons with dancers who aren't even their regular students. If you don't want to give me private lessons, be honest about it.

    Teachers who don't give specific feedback. I'm not paying you all this money to get no useful information out of the lesson. If I just wanted to dance around with a friend for an hour, I could do that for free.

    Teachers who ignore or downplay what I came to work on. I know what problem areas I need to address, and I know I'm not imagining them. Hearing you say, "Oh, your arms aren't the worst I've seen," then going off on a tangent about something else doesn't improve my arms.


  6. #6
    Ultimate BHUZzer ShoshannaQ's Avatar
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    Re: Things that turn you off when taking private classes

    I think teachers must find a way to show students the needs for improvement and keep them humble while still encouraging them. It's a fine line, and for some people it's hard to see.

    Can't complain at all about the private lessons I've had, they've been great, but speaking as an art teacher I know that it's vital to not only point out what needs work, but where the strengths are that the student can nurture and build on. No one has a completely objective view of their own work, (and I've noticed that my women students especially often err on the side of non-constructive self-flagellation) and I think it's crucial to provide a balanced impression of both negative and positive aspects to keep a student motivated: "You have a good eye and a lovely way with line. Let's see now if you can add some dimension to your work by developing the value range. Here's what I'd like you to practice . . ."


  7. #7
    Ultimate BHUZzer laura 2's Avatar
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    Re: Things that turn you off when taking private classes

    Quote Originally Posted by ValerieVengeance View Post
    Good grief, really? That's unbelievable! Even the newest of students I've met wouldn't do something as rude as that, let alone any professional!
    Yikes! I don't have my phone on at all when I'm teaching - it goes off the minute I start teaching and doesn't go back on until class ends.

    All the private lessons I've had have been great, but one thing that would irritate me is if I asked in advance to work on a specific thing, and when I arrived the teacher had done zero preparation. If I say I want to work on cane, I would expect the instructor to have their cane in the studio, have thought about what saidi songs to use for the lesson, etc.


  8. #8
    Advanced BHUZzer showtime's Avatar
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    Re: Things that turn you off when taking private classes

    4 pet peeves.

    First is cell phones not being turned off. If an instructor takes a call during any class that instructor immediately eliminates any credibility that might existed. Period. No exception. If there's a personal situation that important they should postpone the session.

    Second is allowing children in the class area. If you cannot afford a sitter for class sessions then you cannot afford to teach. Period. Not only re private sessions but also regular classes. I left 3 instructors I adored due to them allowing their children to disturb classes.

    Third is the overbearing ego lectures. I am not there to listen to self praise. If I was not aware of their creds why would I be paying for their time? Same applies to workshop instructors. There's one major instructor in the NE that is notorious for her heavy bragging. Many dancers avoid her workshops for that very reason.

    Fourth is the ever-present need to push their wares on students. In addition to covering basic living expenses some of us are struggling to cover the cost of weekly classes, it is thoughtless to be pushy and overbearing.


  9. #9
    Advanced BHUZzer Marianna's Avatar
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    Re: Things that turn you off when taking private classes

    when a teacher does not want to give me private lessons. Ok, this is still a mystery to me, I'm not sure exactly what happened.

    I approached a VERY famous teacher, who lived in my city. (internationally known). We emailed back and forth. She said yes, even had a schedule set up, and she said she wants to see me dance, so she knows what we need to work on.

    Get this: this lady showed up at this restaurant I danced at (it was a small Greek restaurant), even brought a friend. Had dinner, watched me, tipped me, took notes. The next day she sent me an email with her findings, which were very useful, but in some ways way too kind in my opinion (and in one case, borderline weird). She said my dancing overall was excellent, and I was too good for that place. That was weird, because I don't share the mentality of someone being too good for a venue, and I knew I wasn't that excellent :))

    But here's the mystery: the next week she canceled our classes, she said a family emergency came up. I told her I'll wait, but still very much interested, as soon as she can teach please tell me. We infrequently emailed for a couple of months. I got the feeling she just didn't want to teach me. I saw on her schedule she even went to Europe to teach workshops, but otherwise her schedule wasn't full.
    This was over 2 years ago. I gave up. I was going to take classes at her house, she charged fees at the higher rate but I didn't mind them at all. so what was it? Was it something about me? I didn't get that at all, we had a really good rapport, and she was very sweet.


  10. #10
    Ultimate BHUZzer meissoun's Avatar
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    Re: Things that turn you off when taking private classes

    I teach private lessons frequently, so I find this quite interesting.
    Glad I am not making many mistakes Should my landline phone ring I tell people shortly that I will call them back (but my phone don't ring that often anyway).
    And yes, I think it's important to work on the things that the students ask me - after all THEY pay me, so they can order whatever they want me to do for them. I am providing a service, I am not there for them to worshiop me...

    So far I have been quite lucky with my private lessons that I have taken. Haven't met the teacher from hell in a one-on-one situation yet - although some of the things sound familiar from teachers I have met in workshops.

    MEISSOUN


  11. #11
    Advanced BHUZzer jewelbellydance's Avatar
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    Re: Things that turn you off when taking private classes

    Quote Originally Posted by Marianna View Post
    when a teacher does not want to give me private lessons. Ok, this is still a mystery to me, I'm not sure exactly what happened.

    But here's the mystery: the next week she canceled our classes, she said a family emergency came up. I told her I'll wait, but still very much interested, as soon as she can teach please tell me. We infrequently emailed for a couple of months. I got the feeling she just didn't want to teach me. I saw on her schedule she even went to Europe to teach workshops, but otherwise her schedule wasn't full.
    Just a potential perspective...maybe her reason for not delivering the private class was not about you? Perhaps life got too hectic, or she doesn't like giving privates. I know I avoid giving them! For some reason, I feel awkward teaching private lessons. I don't like the 'closeness' or something. I am happiest teaching a big class - I like the vibe. But I am only good at being an extrovert if I don't have to show too much of my true, inner self. A private lesson can feel a little too close to me. It's my own personal hangup, and has nothing to do with the students. Sometimes I get over it and enjoy teaching privates, but in general I don't seek them out.

    I also prefer to make every class count $-wise, because I can only physically and mentally handle dancing a certain number of dancing hours per week, and privates don't pay as well as full classes or gigs. As this is my only job, that's a real consideration for me.

    So maybe the teacher in question has her own kind of issues going on?


  12. #12
    Ultimate BHUZzer ShoshannaQ's Avatar
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    Re: Things that turn you off when taking private classes

    Marianna - it IS pretty intimate, the private lesson, especially in the teachers home. I agree with jewel - maybe it's not to do with you at all?
    Last edited by ShoshannaQ; 06-30-2010 at 08:22 PM.


  13. #13
    Advanced BHUZzer Marianna's Avatar
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    Re: Things that turn you off when taking private classes

    yes, it could be a number of reasons, and I still don't know exactly what it was. The teacher (famous dancer) seemed very open to the request of the private classes. She suggested the location, we cold have gone to a studio, she could have even charged me for the rental. I didn't care, I just wanted to take classes from her.
    The price she asked was at the higher end, but I thought for someone like her it was not that high. I'm sure it would have been feaseble for her 1 hour of time.

    yes, I thought about all kinds of other issues. If she didn't want to teach me in her home, or decided that it's not worth it for her, why did she offer to come see me dance? This restaurant was about 20-30 minutes from her, she came, brought a friend, ate dinner and acted like the perfect audience member.
    I thought it was really cool. That's why that email seemed so abrupt, right before our class. But that would have been ok. What was weird was that she said she had a lot going on, yet there was nothing on her schedule for 8 months, except for a few short trips to Europe to teach workshops. It just seemed weird, that whatever was so urgent or "bad" in her life, she could break away from it for a week or so, but not break away from it for an hour, for me?

    I tried not to take it personal, but it just kinda stayed with me, that maybe she didn't want to teach ME. I ran into her at a party briefly, much later, of course I have no hard feelings, we said hi to each other, but I didn't bring it up.

    like I said, overall, a mystery.


  14. #14
    Ultimate BHUZzer ShoshannaQ's Avatar
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    Re: Things that turn you off when taking private classes

    Maybe the "a lot going on" was weird stuff that had nothing to do with you. Other thought - could you possibly, unknowingly bear the signs of one who has studied with a teacher that this person has (unknown to you) issues with? N'other thought still - there is something we used to call the HWF - the Human Weirdness Factor. This denotes unforeseen personal sht that may interfere with otherwise normal interactions, as in "she looks like the girl that stole my boyfriend 20 years ago I can't be objective, she's clearly a student of rival so and so bla bla bla . . .


  15. #15
    Advanced BHUZzer Marianna's Avatar
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    Re: Things that turn you off when taking private classes

    oh great :) But you're right Isildriel, it could be a number of things. Like I said I have no hard feelings for this teacher, but normally, if someone had the issues you mentioned above than I wouldn't want to take classes from her anyways. But like I said, the good thing about this is, that although it was a mystery that never got solved, it did not consume me, and it did not effect my life, thoughts or feelings. It was more like :well, maybe it was personal, but since I don't know for sure, I move on". :)
    like I said I would still take classes from her - but wouldn't approach her again :)

    I was sad a little bit, because for quite a while I felt that if I was to take private classes from a San Diego teacher, someone who I would look up to, and completely take her word on everything, she would be it. Luckily I found someone else that I feel the same way about, so I'm very happy.


  16. #16
    Advanced BHUZzer Ahmber's Avatar
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    Re: Things that turn you off when taking private classes

    The instructor drinking copious amounts of booze, to the point of total inebriation. Needless to say he or she mostly giggled with the friend "I haven't seen in a while" Bah! I say no excuse! I didn't pay though. So all I waisted was two hours away from my kids and gas money :-@


  17. #17
    Advanced BHUZzer Marianna's Avatar
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    Re: Things that turn you off when taking private classes

    drinking while teaching a class will take the medal :) if they gave out medals for these. wow, I never imagined someone would drink while teaching.

    Once I scheduled a private class, to be taught at a studio, and the instructor never showed up. It was 25 minutes from my house, had to drive around to find parking. called her, she apologized that she forgot. Well, I never rescheduled. But I wasted an hour from that day :(


  18. #18
    Ultimate BHUZzer ShoshannaQ's Avatar
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    Re: Things that turn you off when taking private classes

    I was sad a little bit, because for quite a while I felt that if I was to take private classes from a San Diego teacher, someone who I would look up to, and completely take her word on everything, she would be it. Luckily I found someone else that I feel the same way about, so I'm very happy.
    Glad to hear it -


  19. #19
    Established BHUZzer patrisha's Avatar
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    Re: Things that turn you off when taking private classes

    Ok, I dont care WHO you take a lesson or class with, no one is the "Know all be all of Belly Dance" When taking a private lesson, you still need to use you own discernment on what information works for you and what doesnt. You can NEVER "Completely take her word on everything" This is certainly setting yourself up to be disappointed or in the very least of it, be frustrated if the teacher doesnt live up to your preconceived ideas or perhaps tells you things you dont think you need to hear.
    If a teacher isnt a good fit, move on but dont get lulled into thinking you have found the perfect teacher if all they do is agree with you on things and dont present challanges to your abilities.
    That is not a way to grow in your dance.


  20. #20
    Advanced BHUZzer Marianna's Avatar
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    Re: Things that turn you off when taking private classes

    well, I didn't mean that I will take every single word, whether it makes sense or not. I mean I do have a brain and I use it, too. I didn't want a teacher who would be my God. I wanted a teacher, whose philosophy and mentality I agree with 100 %, like her technique and style, feel comfortable with, and feel that she can further my knowledge. With a teacher like this, I feel that I can 'take her word" on everything, I don't have to sit through and analyze "oh, ok, I agree with this, but that's a bunch of crap". HAHA.
    What I meant was my first main teacher (meaning, the most important one I had, whom I only found after a few other teachers, but at least early on, only a year after taking classes) was my mentor, my role model, she taught me pretty much everything and got me started in performing and going pro. Just like she did with so many local dancers.
    After she retired, I was looking for another teacher like that, but never found her.

    I don't want to sound conceded or anything, but I didn't like the fact that I would take some classes form a teacher (private or group), and they would automatically claim me as their student, as I am only a student, and sort of like as if they would take credit for everything. And introduce me as a student to others (such as restaurant owners). Not sure if that makes sense. Of course I'll always be a student, but I also feel that I'm not only a student.

    The teacher I found now, as well as Angelika Nemeth, for example acknowledges that fact that I am a professional dancer who want to continue to learn. So yes, I am a student of hers, but that's not all who I am.
    Last edited by Marianna; 07-04-2010 at 04:59 PM.


  21. #21
    Just Starting! Nubian's Avatar
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    Re: Things that turn you off when taking private classes

    She wanted me to be more independent with her choreography, but sometimes she would forget and start counting. Not too bad, it was actually quite funny. I am just glad she didn't do it when I performed it. I don't think she can help it, she has to do it with the little ones during recital.

    I do like the fact that she let me choreograph my own drum solo, just to throw some positivity in there.


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