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Teacher and Staff Contracts and Agreements


Studio Owner Article


Improve Staff and Customer Communication

 As we approach a new season, presumably with some new and some existing faculty and staff, we are faced with the decision on what to offer each one and how to present the offer to them. Many studio owners feel that contracts are not necessary and that a verbal agreement is sufficient. Even if you have the greatest relationship with a staff or faculty member it is best to write down exactly what it is you want them to do and both of you sign it! This makes them understand that this is a commitment and makes you look professional and organized.

 There are times when we will expect something because it has always been done that way. The problem is that the other person, your employee, does not know that it is part of their job and all of a sudden they start to feel used and mistreated or taken advantage of. When you get everything down on paper and they can see what their job description is and what you expect from them, this will eliminate any confusion.

 When you give them a contract, if there ever is any disagreement, you can always refer to the contract and come to a quicker resolution without the he said, she said business. The better we know someone and have a good relationship with them the more important a contract is in my opinion. Business is business. When you think "yeah but they are friends" and start to treat them differently, then you leave yourself open to a dispute. The tricky part comes when you have been working with people for many years.

Now, how do you all of a sudden change what you have done for years and present them with a contract? How you accomplish this without it being awkward is all in the presentation! Present it as a safeguard for them, their ticket to have the piece of mind that you are committed to them and you want it to be in writing. You want to give them everything that is expected of them in writing so they can plan ahead and be fully prepared for the year.

 It will, in my opinion make you look more organized, prepared and professional. It may be what they have been doing all along but it makes it more concrete when it is on paper. I feel it is important as business owners to have all documents in place. It can also be noted that contracts are important if you are ever audited by the IRS. You may have to prove that someone was an independent contractor. A written contract can state that. Now as we all know a contract is only as good as the person that signs it but it will at least let people know that you expect certain things to be done and what will not be tolerated. You can also put that they will not solicit your students and agree to a non compete clause. It may not stop someone from doing so but you have a document that you can use, if you choose to do so in a court of law.

Once you get all your staff and faculty under contract, there is a real piece of mind that follows. Just make sure you get everything that is important to you and what you want them to do on paper. I would encourage you to look at the simple teacher agreement we have for you to download. Add whatever you think is necessary and go with it!


Angela D'Valda Sirico

Angela D'Valda Sirico

Originally from England, Angela spent her early years in Hong Kong where she studied with Carol Bateman. She continued her training at Arts Educational Trust in England. After moving to New York City she continued her studies with Martha Graham and Matt Mattox. She appeared with the Matt Mattox Company and toured with the first Disney On Parade working with Disney and N.B.C. Contracted to the Teatro National of Buenos Aires she performed for one year and spent an additional year as a featured soloist at the Teatro Maipo, Argentina. Travelling to Madrid, Spain she worked for Spanish television in a weekly variety show Tarde Para Todos and from there decided to form her own Dance Company. With the Company she choreographed and performed throughout Spain in theatres, and on television. Angela met her husband Steve while working together on a television special The Valerie Peters Show filmed in Tampa, Florida. In 1979 they formed the Adagio act DValda & Sirico appearing in theatres, clubs and on television shows such as David Letterman, Star Search and the Jerry Lewis Telethon. In 1982 they were contracted to Europe and appeared in a variety of shows in Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland and Italy before going to London, England where they appeared as Guest Artists for Wayne Sleep (formerly of the Royal Ballet) in his show Dash at the Dominium Theatre. Angela and Steve have owned and directed their dance studio in Fairfield, CT. for the past twenty two years and in 2005 added music and vocal classes to their curriculum. Angela served as chairperson for the tri state panel of the Royal Academy of Dancing and is Co-author of a Partner syllabus currently used for teacher training by Dance Educators of America. She continues to adjudicate and teach for major dance organizations and choreographs for theatre, television and conventions and was commissioned by Boston Ballet 11 to choreograph the highly acclaimed Brother Can You Spare A Dime? DValda & Sirico are currently in production choreographing the opening to the National Speakers Association convention on Broadway at the Marriott Marquis for August of 2008. Angela is co-owner of Dance Teacher Web designed as an online resource for teachers worldwide.

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