The Woes of the Instructor...

Discussion in 'Just Dance' started by peachexploration, May 7, 2005.

  1. peachexploration

    peachexploration Maestro 'Timbalero' Puente

    I've seen so many countless stories of how there's always that "one or two" in class, who in general, make it difficult for every other aspiring salser@. For the instructors out there, how easy or difficult is it to deal with these people? I'm not speaking of the norms like rhythm and timing but the ones who are just plain rude, obnoxious and clearly don't have a love for dance, just a love to make others feel awful. :cry:

    I know for the most part, instructors really don't have the time to be a babysitter or counsel these people but I think that having bad people like this affects your business eventually. Instructors, what do you think? Are there rules of conduct that you have the students agree to? Are you aware of these kinds of happenings? Does this happen often at your studio? Just curious, please share. :)
  2. cant u just kick him out for not being a team player ?

    what about having something like an in class couples perfomance and when is done you really embarass him becouse (s)he didnt any good ? :twisted:
  3. peachexploration

    peachexploration Maestro 'Timbalero' Puente

    WS :lol:

    Anyone else?
  4. simona

    simona Son

    The Woes of the Instructor

    I totally can relate on this topic. I teach a few salsa classes in my community, and there's always one or two "high-maintanance" students in the class.

    The way that my partner and I deal with these folks is that right from the beginning we set the tone for the class. We let folks know that this is supposed to be fun, and that mistakes are okay. Plus, we teach in a night club and there's a bar so readily available alcohol also helps.

    We constantly remind people that Salsa is a social dance so no need to get uptight or stressed out. This alleviates most of the issues, but we do get one or two that just need a little bit more oversight.

    For these folks, we socialize with them during the breaks, and get them to loosen up and know us a little better. That way they think of us as friends instead of "instructors." Usually, the pain-in-the-$$%% folks are those who are a bit insecure and need extra reassurance. Or, it's the boyfriends/husbands and sometimes wives that get dragged to class by their significant other and don't want anything to do with dancing. Getting to know them a little and making them feel like they are welcome helps a lot.

    And if that doesn't work, well - there is the bar and my partner and I have a few drink after class to alleviate our stress. ;)
  5. You are always going to get some people that are 'hard work' - but this can be for a variety of reasons:

    1) They think they know better
    2) They say you're going too fast
    3) They say that they just 'don't get it'
    4) They refuse to listen
    5) They are just of that nature

    To name only a few.

    Whenever I'm teaching it needs to be made clear that it is fun, but that I won't take any cr@p - because they can end up ruining a class for others if you let them take over. The way that I deal with the above are as follows:

    1) Explain to them WHY you are telling them to do it that way - there is a reason you're doing it that way -as long as you know it and can explain it, even if they won't come round the class will know that actually you are the one who knows what they're talking about. Also ask them why they think they should do it their way and you can then explain to them and the rest of the class why it should be done the way that you say - as long as you can back it up with reasoning, stay calm and be polite you'll be fine. If they continue to argue, then ask them to come and discuss it with you after and you'll explain how that move works so that you can move on for the rest of the class

    2) Ask the others in the class - if they agree, slow down - but if the concensus is that it's ok then explain that it is an Improvers / Intermediates etc class and that you need to keep going at the average rate of the class and offer them to move into the lower class and to find you later to learn that move individually.

    3) See answer 2

    4) Take a moment with them individually to bring home what you're saying and explain to them and show them what you're asking them to do. If it persists ask them to to find you after the class to go over it so as not to hold up the rest.

    5) Stay calm and polite and make jokes to make it fun - don't let one person ruin the night for everyone else.

    With everything - always explain your reasons, be polite and make it fun - you'll earn the respect of those around you - and you'll enjoy it yourself!

  6. lucretia

    lucretia Descarga

    Since I am no teacher I cannot help in this matter. But I have the same problem with one of the teachers. So perhaps you can help me.

    This teacher regard himself as God. Anyone who doesn't meet his standard is like dirt to him. He is mean, scornful and unjust. He is bad for the business of the danceschool. I feel sick just by watching him. Lucky he isn't teaching every time.

    Every girl I know have the same problem with him. Except for the girls that are better than him.

    Should I tell the management - he is best friend with the owner of the school. or should I perhaps change danceschool.

  7. peachexploration

    peachexploration Maestro 'Timbalero' Puente

    Lucretia, if I were the instructor, I would definitely want to know. Do these students return to the studio after he's a Jerk to them? :? As a student, I would even pulled the another student aside who is the subject of the abuse and ask them if they're okay. Also, maybe hint that they should say something to management. :(
  8. lucretia

    lucretia Descarga

    He is a "co-instructor" (advanced ex-student who helps the instructor). He never abuse anyone in public. I mean not in front of everyone - just the people close by can hear him.

    Last night I was the victim. He accused me for doing something I hadn't a clue about. It all happened when I was dancing with my partner close to him and his partner. Perhaps it was my partner who did this. Perhaps it was me. Since he obviously had his back toward us he cannot be sure. He said it happened three times :shock: And I did not get any warning in advance...the third time he just :twisted:

    I decided not to take any sh#t from him so I pulled him aside after the class and told him what I felt. He did not take it well....

    I guess it mostly is an attitude problem. He cannot give any critics without making people feel bad. I've heard that he has been mean to young male salsa students. I've also been told he has this style when socializing as well. But people he admire are threated well.

    Well I will probably tell the management. I've spooken with so many other girls now so I know it is not a personal problem for me. But it might be so for him.

  9. peachexploration

    peachexploration Maestro 'Timbalero' Puente

    Yeah, this guy's ego needs to be checked. I hate when people are that way. What a jerk he is. :evil:
  10. Ah, the salsa ego - what a monstrous thing...

    To be honest I agree totally that a lot of teachers think that they are gods - part of the reason for this is that people treat them as such and it adds to their ego...

    Personally I think that everyone at every level is always improving - no matter how good - and they should always remember this. I would never boast my talents on the dance floor (even if I thought I was the best dancer in the world) I would far rather say I can 'hold my own' (a phrase you'll hear me say a lot) and let people judge for themselves - you talk yourself up there's only one way for people's opinions to go.....down.
    The salsa ego is an evil destructive force - I cannot stand ego, arrogance or rudeness - in any walk of life and especially not in salsa.

    If one of your options is to find somewhere else to dance then my suggestion would be try to do something about it first - if it doesn't work you can still leave, but you might be able to change things so you can stay - you're not losing anything. My advice would be to:

    1) Find out (on the QT) if there are a lot of other people who feel the same
    2) Get together as a group and discuss the problem
    3) Either as a group or you on behalf of the group (make sure they are happy for you to speak for them) go and see the guy who runs it (he may listen more if it's more than one of you and explain that if things don't change you'll be looking for somewhere else to dance just because you're not enjoying it there as a result) - MAKE SURE THE GUY YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT IS NOT AROUND WHEN YOU DO THIS!!!! (As it may degenerate into an arguement.
    4) Explain that you tried to talk to him first but that it didn't go well so you now feel that you have to speak to him even though you didn't want to.

    As long as you say calm, non-accusatory, factual and reasonable then he may listen. If not you can leave anyway!

    Either way we need to do what we can to stop things like this affecting our salsa communities it should be fun first and foremost and if it isn't we need to do something to change that!

    Good Luck - let us know how you get on :D
  11. JazzHands

    JazzHands Sonero

    Oh I can relate to this totally, had a very similar experience myself.

    A while back I was in a class and when the partner change came I ended up dancing with the assistant instructor.

    Don’t know what the hell her problem was but 10 seconds into it she basically bawled me out - telling me (well basically yelling at me in front of the class) that I hadn't done this and I hadn’t done that and my lead was bad and ya-de-ya-de-ya-de.

    Let me say a couple of things here.

    Firstly, I know that I'm a reasonably good leader. By that I mean I often get unsolicited compliments telling me that my lead is clear and smooth.

    Secondly, I'd been partnered with this so-called assistant instructor before, and I can honestly say that leading her was like trying to lead one of those supermarket shopping trolleys that has a wheel jammed. I've danced with girls who after their first lesson have a better concept of following that she did.

    Thirdly, this assistant instructor took a warm-down once, and as we got going I just couldn’t get myself on time. Couldn’t understand why, as my timing is usually pretty good. Then I realised that I was on time and she was actually off - and therefore leading the whole class off time!

    Anyway, following the bawling out incident I decided I'd had enough. Didn’t ever go back to that class again. I told a friend of mine that also attended that class and he vowed never to go again (he'd had some problems with her too). Also mentioned it to a few people at work that had just started at that particular club and I know that they gave it a wide berth after that.

    So, the chief instructor (who I didn’t have a problem with) probably lost the revenue of about 6 or 7 regular students all due to his stupid assistant having a bad day and deciding to take it out on the first person that she came across.

    The moral here, at the end of the day vote with your feet (excuse the salsa-pun). If you go to a class and get treated like dirt, don’t go back. There are plenty of good salsa teachers and classes around these days - it’s hardly a niche thing.
  12. Absolutely - I think that as soon as someone raises to "Instructor" or "Assistant Instructor" level, their arrogance level can also get clicked up several notches.

    The most important things that an instructor must remember are:

    1) They are providing a service
    2) They should care whether their students become good dancers or not
    3) They should make sure that their students have fun
    4) It is their responsibility to give their students what they need and are paying for.
    5) They are not there to feed their own ego

    It can be rare to find a teacher like this out there - but they do exist!! If you have problems with them for whatever reason I agree 100% then you shouldn't go and should find somewhere else - however if it were my students, I would want them to come and tell me so that I could correct it - if there was any of this going on on our holidays or at the venues where I teach I would want to know about it so that I could nip it in the bud or replace the teacher in question - in my mind this is not what salsa is about and I want my students to enjoy the experience.

  13. peachexploration

    peachexploration Maestro 'Timbalero' Puente

    Any other instructors out there that would like to chime in on this one?
  14. irMaxSALSA

    irMaxSALSA Sonero

    From the irMax SALSA perspective

    Rowdy students I don't tolerate. I just simply throw them out of class.

    People that don't practice I don't tolerate either. If you can't perform the Right Turn by the 3rd Class don't bother coming back. Find an easier instructor.

    I simply put a hault to teaching salsa group classes because I was constantly running around like a headless chicken for little money.

    Private lessons is a more profitable method of teaching salsa to ANYBODY. If they are rowdy? So what! It's a private lesson! They are learning at their own pace. If it takes them almost 3 months to learn a simple turn pattern. Oh well!

    I can write a HUGE list of crap that I experienced in the past but what it really comes to is this: IT'S EITHER YOU HAVE IT OR YOU DON'T.

    I've noticed in my years of teaching private lessons that experienced club, jazz, hip-hop dancers and musicians understand the on2 language and it's musical relationships. Older salsa dancers, spanish people who were taught by relatives, people who have two left feet, or non-spanish people who want to learn to "SALL-SA", or starry eyed old people who have seen "Dancing with the Stars", understand the on1 language.
  15. JonesNikka

    JonesNikka Rhythm Deputy

    Re: From the irMax SALSA perspective

    If someone can not "perform the right turn by a 3rd lesson, It does not mean that they do not practice. It means that they are practicing the wrong move. Or that they have not been properly taught. A right turn is such an easy move, a student should come out of class already able to do it, no extra practice necessary. I would say find a better instructor, or better yet, an instructor who speaks your language.

    Wow! :shock:

    And what is On1 and On2 language?

    Do you realize how condescending your little rant sounds like?

    True. Either you are a teacher or you are not!
  16. Swannie

    Swannie Descarga

    Re: From the irMax SALSA perspective

    Wow! 3 months?! How many classes is that? I'd be questioning my teaching techniques if I saw that.... acutally, I write this and I try to think of the least co-ordinated person I have had to teach, and I can understand that...

    irMax, I'm sure you didn't mean it to sound arrogant, but it does a bit. I understand that you have standards and expectations and I respect that. I like how you are comfortable sharing them with us. Thanks.
  17. Jambo

    Jambo El Sabroso de Conguero

    Re: From the irMax SALSA perspective

    I'm just trying to think which of the latter categories I fit in to, then I will also know just how deeply offended I should be!
  18. terence

    terence Maestro 'Descarga' Cachao

    class work

    Have been in this prof. for over fifty yrs, and teach all genres, class and priv.
    For those of you just starting in the profession, the key word, is Control . One should always establish their position of authority in all teaching situations , right from the git go. Deal with any problem arising. immediately , in private , with firmness . If, at the end of the lesson, nothing has improved, refund their fee, and politely inform that they are disturbing others in the class. Sometimes best to layout ground rules before the class commences .
  19. LongHairedLeader

    LongHairedLeader Son Montuno

    Re: From the irMax SALSA perspective

    irMaxSALSA, I've always read your posts with respect until now. You are of course perfectly entitled to your own opinion, but this rant has a condescending 'On2 snob' air that I find very unattractive and unappealing.

    As Jambo said

  20. Terremoto

    Terremoto Pattern Police

    Re: class work

    Terence - welcome to salsa forums! Its great to have someone with your experience here!!!

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