Forum: Irish / Irish - Teachers and Assistants

Irish - Teachers and Assistants
Dealing with Dance Moms...
By MeBeemember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 521, member since Wed Mar 02, 2011
On Sat Mar 17, 2012 11:18 PM

So normally I don't have an issue dealing with dance moms, because I deal mostly with novice/prizewinner/champ dancers, and their moms are always a delight to be around...Well, today we had a performance at a local pub with beginners (whom I've never met) and the moms were just TERRIBLE!

They had the snarkiest attitudes, bombarded me with rude statements and questions ("well, why isn't MY daughter doing two steps? She's the only one who KNOWS how to dance...") and were generally pretty nasty. How do you tell them to just let you do your job without coming off as equally nasty? I wasn't able to have control over the performance situation because the moms kept telling their beginner daughters to do something different (every time I instructed them to do something) so they were all confused.

In the end, one mom even said "Well next time, just give ME the sheet, and I'LL do everything *eye roll*, or get a REAL teacher to do it".

I knew exactly what I was doing, the moms kept getting in the way of everything, and it was extremely frustrating. It was completely demeaning to be told I wasn't a "real" teacher (whatever that means, because their kids' normal teacher doesn't have her TC either...)

In the end the performance went well, everyone loved the girls and they all did a great job. One or two confusing moments for the youngest girl there, but nothing too out of the ordinary.

But yeah. How do you handle the stress-inducing moms? Do you just Abby Lee-it up and tell them to go away? I really just wanted the moms to go sit down and let me do my thing, but they kept interjecting, and in return their kids were stressed and confused (more so than they would have, and should have been if I were the ONLY person doling out instructions).

I just wanted to curl up with a pint o' smithwicks and cry a little.

10 Replies to Dealing with Dance Moms...

re: Dealing with Dance Moms...
By treblejiggernaut Comments: 1305, member since Sun Dec 02, 2007
On Sun Mar 18, 2012 12:42 AM
How horrible. I'm sure you did a great job. I would put something in writing like the registration packet for each year where you explain your expectations for students and parents for class and you could add for performances also. You could put that parents are not to interrupt the teacher during class or during performances, or something like that. You can word it somehow and maybe explain at a parent meeting how dancers may be asked to do different steps or not do all their dances at performances. You could put other requirements that dancers and their parents are expected to do at competitions and performances.

Good luck! What a frustrating situation. I am sure you are doing great. Just show them who is boss and don't let them take advantage of you.
re: Dealing with Dance Moms...
By celticfeetmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 4050, member since Thu Sep 30, 2004
On Sun Mar 18, 2012 06:04 AM
Oh my word, what an awful situation! I'm so sorry you had to deal with that! *HUGS* That being said, I would definitely mention this to your teacher so that she can address it with the specific rude parents. This kind of behavior shouldn't be tolerated- especially at a public show where they are representing your dance school.

If it happens again, I would say something to the point but still polite like, "I understand your concerns but in order to do my job properly I need you all to have a seat and enjoy the show so I can get the children organized." Let them know you are happy to address their concerns in private at a later time. That is rough; I thought some moms at our school could be rude, but this is extreme! :?
re: Dealing with Dance Moms...
By dancemomtoo Comments: 2643, member since Fri Jan 09, 2004
On Sun Mar 18, 2012 08:54 AM
Just tell them te dance line up was dictated by the tc and she told you there were to be no deviations.

Then ask your tc to send out a group email that the show coordinator must not be debated while she is organizing or directing the show or it means the dancer will have to sit out a number. print out a few copies of the email and take them with you to the show-each parent may ask one question-after you answer it if they continue to talk it becomes a debate
re: Dealing with Dance Moms...
By MeBeemember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 521, member since Wed Mar 02, 2011
On Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:02 AM
Thank you all! I'm glad I don't have to deal with them on a regular basis, although I do want to start teaching at my new school (the beginner classes) so I guess I'd have to get used to them.
I'm sure they were just stressed and unsure of the performance, but man was it miserable! I really appreciate all your advice and kind words! Hopefully next time I will be more...prepared for this sort of situation.

Celticfeet- thank youuu! you're so sweet! I really needed that over the weekend...haha!
re: Dealing with Dance Moms...
By China_Doll Comments: 1293, member since Sun Dec 30, 2007
On Tue Mar 20, 2012 07:11 AM
Not sure if your TC would be up to this but we do two open classes a year- and parents are asked to come and watch- perhaps you could have an open class for your show group and explain- this is WHY it is done like this that TC cant possibly attend EVERY show and teachers running shows should be given respect. It isn't right that you are putting time and hard work out for the kids to have a chance to do shows and parents are treating you that way.
re: Dealing with Dance Moms...
By AinetheDragonPremium member Comments: 2340, member since Tue Jun 25, 2002
On Fri Apr 20, 2012 05:05 PM
It could just be because the moms didn't know you. I have found that when you walk into a class/performance or any situation where you have a leadership role, it is very helpful if you have some sort of prior interaction with those dancers/moms in a leadership role. If they don't know who you are, what your background/experience is, etc. it will be very hard for you to prove within seconds that you are a REAL teacher. Next time you do something like that, ask your TCRG to send an e-mail stating that you are in charge. Just a simple statement like "everyone needs to be ready at xx time and MeBee will be in charge of lining up the dances" can go a long way towards putting you in the "authority" postition in their eyes. A printed list of the numbers and their line-up from the TCRG is also helpful, as then if someone complains you can pass the responsiblity to the TCRG and say "hey, I'm just doing what I'm told" (implied, now you do what you are told and back off!) Also if you start to help teach in classes, they will react much more favorably towards your role as a leader in performances because they know you as a "teacher".

Also over the years, I have had problems with dancers/parents not seeing me as a *real* teacher and I can tell you that attitudes shift over time. Dancers who knew me as just another dancer from the time they started untill when I started teaching had a hard time seeing me as an authority figure. Dancers who started after I began at least helping out, seem to take to the idea much more readily.
re: Dealing with Dance Moms...
By trebletreble Comments: 135, member since Wed Apr 14, 2010
On Sun May 20, 2012 01:06 PM
People really annoy me. Sure, parents want their daughters to be the best and have more dancing time than others, but being rude to dance teachers that KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING just bugs me.
It's similar in my work place. I work in a retail store and the customers are SO rude. The only thing I can suggest is just show the parents that their rudeness doesn't bother you and when they are saying nasty comments, just smile. That'll really bug them!
re: Dealing with Dance Moms...
By LAdancemom Comments: 22, member since Thu May 17, 2012
On Sun May 20, 2012 07:52 PM
our teacher just has drop off and then has a senior dancer help get the beginner dancers get ready . It works well even for young dancers as they get to bond with the older championship dancers
re: Dealing with Dance Moms...
By wildirish98 Comments: 33, member since Fri May 25, 2012
On Fri May 25, 2012 02:07 PM
I know what you are talking about! My mom is one of those Novice moms who is there to be the financial backer and chauffeur. But my friend Brennen's mom is the kindest woman (Brennen is in Open Champs). I love most of the moms at our school.
re: Dealing with Dance Moms...
By MeBeemember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 521, member since Wed Mar 02, 2011
On Mon May 28, 2012 12:01 PM
I just want to thank you all for your advice and comments. It made me feel a lot better about the whole situation and definitely gave me some ideas for future reference.

Or maybe nextime I'll just stick my tongue out at them! :P