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When a parent gets in your face!


Teacher article



You just finished a great class and you are on that high that only teaching can give you. The students are leaving the room and the energy is high only to be crushed by an irate parent ready to pounce and make your teaching high crash and burn. Ever been there? If so you know what this is all about, If not, I am happy for you but don't get lulled into thinking it will never happen. Being a guy, and a big one at that! I have never really experienced a full fledge attack but I have seen and heard of some really ugly incidents.

 First and foremost try not to get hot yourself. It is going to take a lot not to but as they say don't try to put out a fire with a blow torch. Try to get them into some space or area that they can sit and you can be away from other students and parents. Most of these situations occur from a misunderstanding or a child going home and crying saying a teacher was mean, humiliated them, or some other type of problem Try to let them vent a bit before you speak. As a matter of fact try not to speak. Let them do most of the talking and try not to get mad (warning, warning.this may be VERY HARD TO DO). Once they have finished talking you can start to work on the problem. We like to focus on the positive points of the students first then if there was a problem we address it at that point and say that we expect more out of them. Try not to ever argue with a mad parent or to get them to agree with you when they are heated. If a parent is obnoxious or belligerent after they are through venting you can calm the waters and get them out, FOR GOOD!

Studio owners should not allow or permit any parent to run rough shod over their faculty. Always let the studio owner know if an incident has taken place. We do not like for our faculty to meet with any parent to discuss this kind of problem without us being there but sometimes it is unavoidable. I would suggest that you try to get the parent to come in with the student at some point, sooner rather that later, to clear the air and move forward. Sometimes after this type of incident, the student wants to quit. By encouraging this meeting everyone will see that you care about them and that you hold no grudges. It is advisable to keep a line of communication open with all of your students and the parents should know you have an open door policy when it comes to fixing a problem. I remember once when we had a huge argument with a mom and dad who we happened to like a lot. It started off as a normal discussion about their son who was taking classes with us for some time. I don't remember what the problem was but they started to get nasty and mad. We tried to keep it calm but things started to get heated. After they got through blasting us, we told them the way it really was and that if they were not agreeable to what we were saying then their time at our studio was over. They saw that we meant business and they backed down. It ended up that we had a good laugh afterwards, shook hands and are still friends to this day long after their son moved on to college. Why is this story important? It shows that the parents are not always right, neither of course, are we; the key is to determine what is really best for the student. It also shows that if you spend time communicating with parents and are willing to work things out and move on, you can build long lasting great relationships with your clients.


Steve Sirico

Steve Sirico

Originally from Norwalk, Ct, Steve excelled in track and football. He attended the University of Tennessee at Martin on a sports scholarship. Deciding to switch and make his career in the world of dance, he studied initially with Mikki Williams and then in New York with Charles Kelley and Frank Hatchett. He appeared in a number of theatre productions such as Damn Yankees, Guys and Dolls and Mame in New York and around the country and in industrials and television shows. He was contracted to appear as the lead dancer in the Valerie Peters Special a television show filmed in Tampa, Florida. After meeting Angela DValda during the filming they formed the Adagio act of 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. Steve and Angela 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. Author of his Jazz Dance syllabus and co-author of a Partner syllabus both of which are used for teacher training by Dance Educators of America, Steve continues to adjudicate and teach for major dance organizations. Recently taught at the Interdanz conference in San Jose, Costa Rica, He choreographs for theatres, television and conventions and 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. Steve is co-owner and director with his wife, Angela, of the website Dance Teacher Web designed as an online resource for teachers worldwide.

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