Welcome to My School

January 18, 2010

Thanks for coming in and watching class. It was good to see you, recognize you and hear what you have to say. I’ll go ahead and send that transfer in after a couple criteria are met.

I’ll need to call your teacher first. You see, you’ll be in my classes for a little while. 6 years, maybe more if you keep dancing beyond high school, maybe less if you move on to greener pastures. But I’ll be working in the same area as your teacher for decades. It’s important to me to preserve that relationship. Sometimes he’ll tell me what a great student you are and how they’re sorry you have to leave. Sometimes she’ll tell me “good luck, sister” and give me a laundry list of the issues I’ll face in taking you on. Sometimes they won’t care either way.

I hope you have already talked to them about this, because the worst feeling in the world is when a student transfers “Out of the Blue”. Please show enough respect to your teacher to make sure they know your concerns, what needs are not being met or what feelings have been hurt or that you can’t afford them anymore. They taught you. They deserve the chance to grow and make things right. They deserve this face-to-face, not in an awkward break-up letter or phone message timed when you know they can’t answer the phone. Those are tactics for cowardly ex-boyfriends, not for someone honest. Like I am sure you are. Someone who lurks behind the backs of those who trust them is not someone I am interested in having join my school.

Here is what you need to know about transferring to me.

I am not your old teacher. Being certified does not automatically turn us all into teachers who have the same experience, methods and philosophy. I run my classes differently. This is what works for me, and has worked for my students. My schedules, fees, and policies are a part of how I work best, both as a teacher and also as a parent and support to my family and personal life. Give me a chance if you like, but please do not try to change me.

You are a talented dancer. I can see that plainly. I am already thinking of the steps you will learn first, the moves you will do nicely. I know you have choreography from your old teacher that you love, that you feel comfortable with and have won with before. I know you’re eager to show them to me, hoping they will have a new home within my steps. But part of the restyling period mandated by my organization is for the purpose of giving you time to assimilate my steps and styling. Please don’t hang on to the old you. Give me a clean slate to work with. Learn my movements and my sequences. You’ll look nice doing these too.

Change takes time, sweat and committment. While you are doing well now picking things up, some things will take time. Changing the way you move, how your muscles have learned one movement in favor of doing it a new way. Becoming the dancer I’d like to see. Some moves will be hard. Some will be “too easy”. Trust me. Trust yourself. This is not like a new costume, that instantly transforms you with no more work than doing up the zipper or tying the tie. This may take months. This may take a year, or two. Expecting better results out of the starting gate is like expecting to lose 50 pounds the day after starting a new diet. This kind of patience will serve you your entire life, long after you stop dancing. It’s the principle of delayed gratification.

I know you have a lot to share. I know that your teacher does a lot of great things. And that they do a lot of things that made you angry or sad or frustrated. These experiences are private, and between you and your teacher. I’d rather not hear your insider info, for better or for worse. I’d rather my students not hear it either. We don’t gossip. We’d rather you didn’t either. It spreads quickly and everyone’s hands get dirty. Irish dance as a community doesn’t need that. Your teacher is a person and a professional and deserves respect, no matter what they have done. I’d like to think that I’ve been given chances to change and grow and mend my ways, even if my former students move on in the end.

Oh My, I’ve given you a lot of info. I hope you are not on overload. If you go ahead and make the decision to do this, you are welcome. I’ll teach you with no preconcieved expectations. We’ll start at square one together, and make you the best dancer you are capable of being. Let me know what you need, and I’ll let you know what I need from you. This will be an exciting new chapter for you. Let’s make it count.

3 Responses to “Welcome to My School”

  1. Great blog! Would you like to write something for Diddlyi Magazine? You can email at the address above.


  2. Jody said

    Excellent post, as usual — I really enjoy reading your comments. So many dancers think a transfer will automatically make them go to a higher level. Some will and some won’t, but the dancer must put in the work to make it happen.

  3. Brenda said

    What a wonderful blog! Your insight is both inspiring and helpful! I’m so glad I came across this and will definitely be following this blog. Thanks for all the work you’ve put into the articles! Job well done!

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