Tango Argentino > Bizarro Teacher: Good, Bad and Ugly

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by jennyisdancing, Sep 7, 2007.

  1. etp777

    etp777 Active Member

    Easy to make a blanket statement, but as always, there are exceptions. Pro, like myself uses public transportation. And I know more than once she's faced same thing I did. Get on train that's running on time, that gives you more than enough leeway to get to studio on time, wram up, etc, and still have some time before lesson, then there's an accident blocking tracks. Or in last case when it happened to me, some idiot on a bike who tried to race the express train and didn't make it....

    I think I've had a group start late, due to teacher, maybe 3-4 times a year, and with good reason. Just konw that in a busier studio than mine, those same valid reasons, might happen more often.

    But of course most important thing is that when it does happen, with my situations, with reasons for the case, and the people involved, we don't have a problem with it. Are always individual personalities involved, and relationships between them, so something that is alright in one teacher/students relationship might not be in another. And people need to be aware of this differences and work within them as best they can, particular the teacher, as this is a service oriented business.
  2. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Here's a thought, since we are in an Argentine Tango thread. Turn the first part of class into a practica of sorts. Give the students simple exercises to work on that will help hone their basic skills: working on balance, being in time with the music, different ways to move to the same rhythm, etc. This will give the prompt arrivals something worthwhile for being on time, and help them learn, too. Work your way into more structured things as the lesson progresses. (extra points for teaching something that is related to the more structured / complicated part of the lesson.
    I've seen this approach used very effectively, and, in one case it kept me coming back for a year and a half. (Well, I loved what he was teaching, too.)
  3. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    I actually do that very thing in my classes -- I use it as a tool, to see what they dance in an informal setting-- can be very revealing .

    To the previous post-- things may happen-- but they should be the exception that proves the rule .
  4. etp777

    etp777 Active Member

    I certainly agree with that tangotime. And rare times it does happen, it goes to what I said about having previous relationship with the teacher, I know them well, and know they wouldn't be running late without a reason. If it was Natasha, or Raphael or Iren (new teachers at the studio), that'd be different.

    I definitely agree with starting with practice as said. Or at least, from student side, it seems the best teachers and classes I've ahd they start out with something like this to get an idea of where everyone is. Occasionally with smaller group, esp if teacher happens to teach all of us in privates too, we might skip this step, as teacher already knows what we know, but in general, i think you two are exactly right and it's a good policy.
  5. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    I don't think that fun and pleasure are synonymous. In fact the idea of 'exuberant' 'playful' fun is anathema to me. There is pleasure in dancing tango but to categorize that pleasure as fun. There is pleasure in enjoying a fine old port but I wouldn't describe it as fun. Do you think the Bolshoi or the Kirov have fun when they're dancing?
  6. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Point well made !
  7. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    Pistols at dawn then? ;)
  8. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    Well, the Bolshoi and the Kirov dancers are working professionals. So I'm sure they focus pretty intensely, though they could very well have fun sometimes in their jobs.

    Now on the other hand, I dance as a hobby, and I don't compete. It is strictly for my enjoyment, and if it's not fun, I don't want to do it. That said, tango does often express a serious type of mood, but not 100% of the time. I have smiled, felt happy, and yes, had fun, when the song and the partner are appropriate. And when I leave the milonga, I do generally characterize my overall experience as 'fun'.

    Anyway, I think we're splitting linguistic hairs here. Now back to the main topic. It really does amaze me how some people treat their dance lessons. I know of people who actually pay for an entire 8-week session of classes and only show up for a couple of them, or show up extremely late, just because they feel like doing other things such as traveling, dining out or whatever. Aside from losing money, how can you learn anything without a consistent effort? Plus, it does affect the rest of us, whether it causes the teacher to start late, or if it throws off the gender balance of the class.
  9. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    I will play " second "-- but ONLY if you are a good shot !! :rolleyes:
  10. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    "my aim is true"
  11. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    That's very dissmissive of you of a thouroughly good argument. I accpet that "fun" may be your goal whilst dancing tango, but one of the worst teachers I know would always "let's have fun" with the sincerity of a rattlesnake ( maybe I'm being unfair to rattlesnakes here).

    There are different ways to enjoy things and some things can be pleasurable without being fun. Is that a difficult concept for you to accept?
  12. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    I'm not being dismissive of anything, bordertangoman. The fact that some crappy teacher uses the word 'fun' cynically is on them, not me. I'm sorry the word apparently has bad associations for you because of that person's poor attitude (or poor use of language) but please don't assume that I am anything other than sincere.

    Perhaps you believe the word 'fun' trivializes something that is deeply meaningful to you. Believe me, dance is anything but trivial to me either. I have been dancing all my life and it gives me joy more than anything else in the world, other than my family. My choice of language doesn't negate that, and I don't deserve a comment about my supposed inability to distinguish words or concepts.

    According to Merriam-Webster:
    fun usually implies laughter or gaiety but may imply merely a lack of serious or ulterior purpose <played cards just for fun

    I am not a professional dancer nor a competitor. Therefore, dancing is fun according to the above definition. Further, According to the Cambridge Dictionary, 'fun' can be synonymous with pleasure:

    fun (PLEASURE)
    pleasure, enjoyment, amusement:
    Have fun (= Enjoy yourself)!
    Having fun (= Are you enjoying yourself)?
    I really enjoyed your party - it was such good fun.
    She's great fun to be with.
    Mark was ill for most of the holiday so that took all the fun out of it.
    It's no fun/not much fun (= not enjoyable) having to work on Saturdays.
    a fun-loving girl
    "We're going on a picnic at the weekend." "What fun (= how enjoyable)!"
    The relationship was never going to work, but it was fun while it lasted.
  13. quixotedlm

    quixotedlm New Member

    I on the other hand would like to unashamedly have rattlesnake-ish fun, dance around the fire with nekkid people and chant "Tango! Yoo Hoo!"... :rolleyes:
  14. jennyisdancing

    jennyisdancing Active Member

    Wheeee!!! :uplaugh:

    I like your style! :twisted: ;)

    Let's follow that by joining hands around the fire and singing Kumbaya. :rolleyes:
  15. Dave Bailey

    Dave Bailey New Member

    One thing that occurred to me, it's a weird idea, but has anyone ever tried to run a "fixed-fee" class?

    That is, a class where the teacher says something like "The class will cost $100", and that cost is divided evenly between the students? So if only 4 turned up, they'd get a lot of personal tuition at $25 each - but if 20 turned up, they'd get great value-for-money for $5 each.

    It's probably a silly idea, but has it ever been tried?
  16. Heather2007

    Heather2007 New Member

    You said it: "pittance". It's all about the dosh. Nowt more, nowt less. My case is rested.

    The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.
    Peale, Norman Vincent

  17. Heather2007

    Heather2007 New Member

    Teachers cancelling classes due to low attendance? And teachers that fail to turn up on time? What then, should the student do. As one pair did with one (notoriously) late teacher. They returned to the desk and demanded a refund for the cost of the class. Left and returned for the milonga.
  18. Twirly

    Twirly New Member

    Interesting idea, but I think most students need to know in advance how much they will have to pay. Many people can't afford more than typical group classes.

    I completely agree with those arguing that the teacher should teach the class even if just one student turns up. OK, maybe cut the class short and charge less, or go to the pub - that would depend on who's there and their personal circumstances (did they have long to travel etc). I don't see why the students should have to waste their time just because the teacher didn't do enough marketing or whatever. The class should go ahead and afterwards the teacher could think about whether it's worth continuing with the classes.

    About being on time, I think it's a great idea to start with some exercises.
  19. Heather2007

    Heather2007 New Member

    Good God...don't you become the flirtatious, playful one with the smiley faces when somebody agrees with you - but woe betide those that don't. Crikey....what are you like eh?
  20. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    like a cornered rat...........:evil:

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