the Teacher’s Code of Conduct

May 20, 2011

I will treat students in my class with respect. Yelling at students does not improve them, and I do not become a better person by doing so. I will not ignore students in my classes, nor will I only give feedback to a cherished few. All are here to learn and do their best.

I will take each individual student and decide what is best for them, aside from the rest. I will make unique decisions on steps, class placement, costuming and invitations for special opportunities for each dancer based on their strengths, attitude and work ethic.

I will run a business as effectively as possible. I will strive to give notices ahead of time and in an easily accessible way. I will be present in my classes, both physically and mentally. I will not be distracted by chatting or story-time during dancing class. I will keep my tuition rates at a reasonably stable scale unless changes in my overhead occur. I will return calls and messages on my own time, but I will return them.

I will maintain professionalism with my students. They are not my drinking buddies, confidantes in my personal life, or replacements for friends my own age. At the same time, students are not “customers”, they are protoges, mentees and children who need a warm and accepting adult teaching them.

I will protect my students inasmuch as is possible from political backlash, rumor mills, backstage parents, bullies, and their own insecurities.

I will treat the parents of my students with respect. I will listen to their concerns and follow-up with action. I will strive to bring the desires of the parent, the dancer, and myself into concert for the benefit of all.

I will keep my thoughts of discontent about other dancers, teachers, adjudicators to myself. Sharing them with my students will only encourage rivalry and discontent.

I will treat all students who transfer from me with respect. I will not require my remaining students to treat them like pariahs, nor will I try to intimidate them by occupying the front row center seat at all their future competitions.

I will not gossip. I will not use intimidation to get what I want. I will not rumor-monger or dig a pit for my neighbor.

I will treat nearby schools and teachers with respect. I will speak highly of them if asked, recommend them if it seems they are a better fit for an interested dancer, and strive to maintain friendly relations with them, no matter what their behavior is returned as. My students will not learn hate from me.

I will keep current on steps and styles in the sport. I will do all in my power to ensure that the school has effective choreography and safe teaching methods through constant improvement of myself and my staff.

I will be honest in all my business. Dancers from my school will dance in the appropriate age category. Teams will dance in the proper rotation. Feiseanna organized by my school will not alter results or hire a “fixed” panel of judges.

I will not encourage adjudicators by any means available to me to place my dancers higher than any other, save they should dance in a way that merits the placement. I will not bribe, blackmail, or “buddy” to become the best.

I will dress appropriately at Irish Dance functions, from feiseanna to meetings to receptions. I understand that not only my reputation as a person, but the tenor of my entire school is affected by my personal appearance and behavior.

I will behave in a professional manner at all Irish Dance functions. I will not yell at students, coach them from the aisles, tell them they are terrible dancers, become inebriated, or make comments aloud about other dancers at the event, nor will I argue at meetings.

I will strive to promote Irish Dance in the best light possible to the public.

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8 Responses to “the Teacher’s Code of Conduct”

  1. Patricia said

    Would love to find this teacher, this is a joke.
    An embarrasement to parents, dancers, and other teachers, Would love to see 1 teacher who qualies, for all these traits.Where do we file a complaint, for a teacher who does not follow these traits…………..

    • I will be the first to say that while I am striving to achieve these ideals, it does seem impossible that anyone can fit this teacher’s creed.
      The by-line of my blog is “what I really want you to understand”- a plea not only for my students, but also for my peers. I hope that at least one teacher will read this, and find in it something that could make his or her life happier, and thus also improve them as a teacher, creating a ripple effect.

      If we could all strive to improve ourselves day by day, the world of Irish dancing would change dramatically, wouldn’t you agree?

      • Patricia said

        There needs to be a lot of change in the world of Irish Dance, to make it a better place.

      • You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.
        Mahatma Gandhi

      • Annieirishdancer said

        I think there is a lot to celebrate in the Irish dance world. Yes, changes could be made, and yes, things may not be to everyone’s taste, but I think that Irish dancing is what you make it. For me, as a dancer and teacher, you have to search for the good, which is the joining together of different people, the forming of friendships and the involvement in a dance form that is known globally, which both teaches musicality, dance steps, learning how to participate as a team and as an individual and how to have fun. Having goals to be the best teacher you can be, in my opinion, is wonderful, otherwise, how would you get better? If all teachers strived to be like this, even if it was difficult, I believe that the Irish dance world would be a better place.

  2. long time adult dancer said

    Very admirable “code of conduct.” Unfortunately, I think dance parents cause some of the problems — as much as the teacher is polite and professional as you describe, there will always be some parents who undermine the teacher’s efforts. Unless you can prove what they did, though, it would be hard to counter their actions.

    • While I’m guessing you have a personal experience with this, I won’t disagree. No man is an island, and no teacher is able to operate what they do- a people-service oriented business- without it being affected by the actions of those around them.

      Many people have pointed out this as they have reacted to this post- that Parent’s need a code of conduct as well. I actually posted on the subject here: https://irishdanceteacher.wordpress.com/2010/05/15/top-10-ways-to-become-my-favorite-parent/ I think that if these guidelines were observed by parents, the actions and attitudes of both teacher and parent would mesh rather well. At least, I think both parties should try and fix themselves before considering a transfer.

  3. paul collins said

    I think the dance teacher who has listed her ideals of how she wants to be and how she wants her school to be is very noble but money can cloud ones thoughts and blur a teachers vision.
    but I would love to see a website where every teacher & dance school in Ireland would lay out there pitch similar to that above this way parents could have some recourse in the event of misconduct.
    at the moment dancing in Ireland is wide open to abuse.
    very few teaching schools have on display their credentials and verification as to there professional qualifications, we see a lot of trophies but no documentation.
    what the teacher above has done is layed a foundation a building block for all other teachers to build upon and I am sure this person would have no problem in making her dreams as layed out above available for all other teachers to incompass and just sign their name to cement their commitment to change

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