Tango Argentino > What would YOU do?

Discussion in 'Tango Argentino' started by Zoopsia59, Jun 29, 2008.

  1. Zoopsia59

    Zoopsia59 Well-Known Member

    I had a confusing situation last week at the studio where my partner and I have taught in the past (but are not currently) that I'd be interested in feedback on

    Several months ago, one of the non-teaching regular staff at the studio called me to ask if I knew a certain tango person, because she was thinking of recommending him to take over the tango classes being taught by someone who was leaving.

    The studio had already added a 3rd night of classes to the schedule and the class my partner and I had taught fizzled out because it was the worst possible time slot of the 3. Instead of asking us switch to the night they added, they had hired someone new for it. Then when the teacher teaching what I'll call the 2nd night (always on the schedule) decided to leave, they were looking to bring in someone new AGAIN.

    Well, I knew the person she was asking about, but I certainly didn't want to encourage them to hire him. Instead I asked her why she didn't have us take over that night? She said "I don't know.. I'll ask the studio director"

    That was the last I heard of it, and they hired the other guy and removed our class from the schedule since no one was signing up for that time slot with the other choices available. During all this time, they would put out flyers and promo for the other 2 nights and NEVER advertised our class at all! It was on the monthly calender, but you'd hardly know it.

    People would ask me if we were still teaching , and I'd say "Call the studio and let them know you want our class and we'll put a class together..." and then the studio would funnel them into the other teachers' classes. Why pay for instructors on 3 nights if you can get all the students into two? But I was at a point where I was not going to send anyone who expressed an interest to me there anymore if they were just going to take the people who could have been OUR business and make it THEIR business and cut us out. Loyalty wasn't paying off, even though my partner was the FIRST AT instructor they ever had.

    Then last week, they called my partner to sub for the new guy for a night. My partner couldn't do it so I said I would (even though in some ways it was kinda insulting that they wanted us to fill in for a class they wouldn't let us teach).

    The classes went REALLY well. Everyone was enthusiastic. The woman who had orginally called me about "the new guy" took both classes and she just gushed over how much she learned and how wonderful it was and how happy the students were afterwards in the lobby (especially the followers). She told me I missed my calling and I should have started teaching a long time ago. Ironic, eh? I just smiled and said thank you but I wanted to yell "YOU STOPPED HIRING US!!!!" to her

    So here's the awkward part....

    A fair number of the students asked me if I taught more and seemed very intersted in taking from me instead of their regular teacher (the new guy). I was so surprised, I didn't think fast enough. I told them that we sometimes taught but that we had trouble getting people to commit to the time slot for very long. I felt very awkward "marketing" myself at that time. It seemed rather unethical (or at least tacky) to troll for students in someone else's class while you are subbing for them. (I also have to be careful about completely alienating this other teacher)

    But now I wish I had been a little more forthcoming about their options. I could have suggested they inform the studio of their preferences. I could have told them to switch to our night, and the studio would have to add it to the schedule. But I missed the chance and now I don't know what to do.

    How would any of you have handled that situation?
    And what would you do now that the opportunity got away?

    PS - the 2nd teacher (the one brought in for the added 3rd night) is away for at least a month so they are dropping that night completely til she gets back. She is a good teacher and I really can't sub for her because she's teaching nuevo and I don't know anything aout nuevo. But not having that class on the schedule creates some opportunity... Hmmmmm...
  2. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    Are there other dance studios? Then move to another, better dance studio. On the contrary, is this studio the only possibility for teaching? Then steal the students of the other teachers every time you get a chance. Not only the students of the other tango teachers, but also the students who take classes for different dances at the time when your tango class takes place.
  3. Light Sleeper

    Light Sleeper New Member

    Zoopsia, i would've probably been as reticent as you in that situation... wanting to be polite and tactful and the rest of it and not wanting to seem like you're 'poaching' other people's students. But at the end of the day it seems like the studio doesn't seem that bothered about student feedback - more with getting the income from the hire - and certain slots are obviously more lucrative?

    Did you take the details of the students who wanted more sessions with you? You could contact them when you get a new gig set up? Hopefully they'll be proactive and tell the studio. I don't think that would've gone against any teacher's code as there would be nothing to stop them going to both yours and the other teacher's classes. Is there anywhere else you could set up a new gig and advertise? Do you currently have a mailing list from your students to help publicize and keep in touch with them? Does the nuevo class HAVE to be nuevo while the teacher is away? If you can bear to do it - could you negotiate with the studio to let you have her slot for a month and build up clientele that way.
  4. Heather2007

    Heather2007 New Member

    I find that when things like this happen (no matter how miffing/frustrating/ mind-boggling etc) socially or otherwise, I just sort of let it go. (Let Go and Let God as it were) and something always, always comes up. When I look back I then see the message or lesson. For example: had I been chosen to take over that class then I wouldn't have been able to encounter this this bigger opportunity. So, Zoop...just wait a wee while and something will come up. Believe me. And that these students of which you speak consider you a much better teacher they will too be contributors of that "bigger opportunity". Let me know when that happens. It will.
  5. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    I don't know what to say; a local salsa teacher invited some tango teachers to give her group a class (and a milonga) and the teachers were a three hour drive away and I am 20 minutes away. Then asks me to advertise her event at my classes. and wants me to come to the milonga.

    Like No Way man!

    I have never heard of the teachers and the standard of dancing in the town they come from is pretty poor I am told by someone whos been there.

    So I am hacked off with her. We don't need another small struggling group we need more people to come to our events and classes. I think she is, well, stupid comes to mind
  6. Heather2007

    Heather2007 New Member

    I do believe some people do things without thinking. The easier option completely escapes them. Her speaking to you and then asking you to
    advertise something which you, yourself could've done is a perfect case in point.

    Did you not say to her that it would be easier, geographically more sense-making and thus (perhaps) cheaper for her to hire you instead? Doing the British thing of staying schtum, saying nowt and then getting miffed post-event is not always a good option. (Unless of course its a case of hiding in the dark corner while the footsteps of our assassin can be clearly heard pacing the passageways).
  7. Heather2007

    Heather2007 New Member

    I do believe some people do things without thinking. The easier option completely escapes them. Her speaking to you and then asking you to
    advertise something which you, yourself could've done is a perfect case in point.

    Did you not say to her that it would be easier, geographically more sense-making and thus (perhaps) cheaper for her to hire you instead? Doing the British thing of staying schtum, saying nowt and then getting miffed post-event is not always a good option. (Unless of course its a case of hiding in the dark corner while the footsteps of our assassin can be clearly heard pacing the passageways).
  8. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Change to stay the same!

    Hi Zoop,

    .. "marketing" oneself is sooo important. I am a teacher too (not yet TA) and I have to hang around the director´s table all the time to get the courses and classes I want to. Make yourself more expensive, visite all the tango festivals and let them finde a substitute for you that time instead.

    Your chance is Neo (they have teachers for Salón and Nuevo, so Neo seems to be the missing gap). You have to change/develope to stay the same (i.e. to keep the same position). Qualify yourself and be back on the scene with a new offer/proposal (sorry my english) if you know what I mean.

  9. Taniquel

    Taniquel New Member

    Perhaps she tought you were too good or simply too busy to be bothered with that... ;)
  10. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    well in a complete absence of any useful info she could have thought anything but I don't know.
  11. Taniquel

    Taniquel New Member

    I always like to think about the option that suits me best first... Less frustrating and it allows me to stay open to new opportunities involving the same person! Or at least I try very hard to do so! ;)
  12. spot1969

    spot1969 New Member

  13. spot1969

    spot1969 New Member

    I would have done just the same as you.
    And I would have been just as annoyed with myself.

    As you have said, poaching someone else's students or (even worse) denigrating another teacher is frowned upon and will invariably lead to trouble down the line.

    It's probably a wasteful exercise trying to work out the studio's reasons for doing what they did. My guess is that, on paper (and without taking into account additional factors such as the longtime benefit of customer satisfaction and the value of premium slots) the other teacher looked to be the most profitable for them. My more cynical guess would be that it's not "what you know" but "who you know".

    I would definitely avoid making any reference to the other teacher(s). I would however approach that particularly enthusiastic member of staff and say to her that, based on her response to your class and the feedback you have had from the other students, you would like to do more teaching, but that you have no idea how to market yourself.

    Ask her what the studio is looking for in their teachers. Ask her how the studio markets them and what you should do to market your classes with them. If you feel the issue could be pushed a little, you could ask how long it would take to get "promoted" to one of the premium teaching slots.
  14. Me

    Me New Member

    Others who are more experienced I am certain will post, but the only thing I would have done differently in your situation would have been to hand those who were interested a business card and just left it at that.

    I believe you need another home for your classes because this sounds like a bad venue. It is always bad when a venue does not care whether you are there or not, but what makes this one worse is it sounds to me like the venue is pulling a bait and switch on your potential client base.
  15. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    I discussed saying something to her, but another friend who also teaches nearby said don't bother. If she stimulates interest then maybe we'll get some newcomers because they won't have anywhere else to go for regular classes. Plus its real bad timing as we're having a teaching break and just having practicas over the summer.

    Of course the assassin is waiting in the shadows for the right moment (and listening to Tango de Assasseins http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjqS4JoOEv4 on his ipod)
  16. Heather2007

    Heather2007 New Member

    It doesn't take "experience" to execute the obvious. You are so absolutely right. A business card has more power than having to rely on somebody else to provide you with work.

    And of course there is also renting a hall and advertising.
    Your own is your own (god, my mother's words just flew back at me).
  17. bordertangoman

    bordertangoman Well-Known Member

    oh the vagaries of misinterpretation: I am having a bash at ceroc and one of my tango students but good at ceroc has taken umbrage that I didn't ask her dance one week. I was sitting down more than 50% of the time and she could have asked me.

    So the next week I ask her and she says she's busy putting out candles on the table.
    A minute later she's on the dance floor with another guy.

    The assassin's gonna be busy;)
  18. Taniquel

    Taniquel New Member

    Ah resentment... What a great way to make everyone miserable!...
  19. Heather2007

    Heather2007 New Member

    Naaah - it's basically the basic trait (in the home, at the office, on the road, shopping etc.) is what is at play here. They bring it all to the Milonga (Sun, Moon and whatever other sign was rising at the time of their birth, to boot). :rolleyes:
  20. newbie

    newbie Well-Known Member

    Sometimes I think that what they like is to be asked, and not so much the actual dance.

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