Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"Medicate The Kids"

Just wanted to give a shout out tonight to one of my kids who deserves a little bit of recognition!

One of my Intermediate students, Breanna, had oral surgery yesterday where she had several front teeth removed.  She now has an entirely swollen face, cannot open her mouth and her nose is the size of her fist.  I knew she was having the surgery for a while now and I was concerned about her not being able to eat or function properly for a while, especially at this time of year.  However, she completely proved me wrong tonight!

Her mom brought her in to watch classes and I figured she'd be in too much pain to get up off the floor all evening.  Instead, she went and changed and got ready for class and spent the entire 3 hours tonight at the studio being proactive in her classes.  She did not dance with the kids or anything, but she kept talking to me about corrections she was noticing and things she felt needed to be addressed when it came to their numbers.

I personally know the pain of having teeth pulled in recent years, and I myself chose to lay on a couch for 3 days and was happy being waited on.  This 11 year old put me to shame tonight as she stepped up and was an active member of their group.  She eagerly helped clean up sections of the dance and was happy to help in any way she could.

At our studio we have a lot of "policies" laid out about our competitive students and their attendance in classes.  We want them to identify the difference between being "sick" and just feeling icky.  We suggest they come to class and sweat out that icky feeling, or if they are feeling well enough to come and observe we strongly encourage them to do so.  If they are in bed and cannot get up, we don't want to see them.  However, if you're feeling well enough to sit and talk on MSN, then you're well enough to come at least watch your choreography class!  I don't want to determine whether a kid is legitimately sick or not, so I let them make their own decisions.  If I see a pattern of absences in competitive classes I will address it, but aside from that I am a true believer of letting them chose their path.  Showing up to class, even if you are not 100%, means you are still working, learning and improving.

Most parents don't see the necessity of their kids watching a class or even coming in at all when they're sick.  They think that one night isn't a big deal, but then that night becomes a bi-weekly occurrence, and before you know it they're not progressing and missing important information in classes.  I deal with a lot of illnesses and injuries every year, and parents are generally put off by my lack of compassion.  Like I've never been sick, or had a sore foot before!  I have compassion... I just don't overreact!  Part of my job is to help kids with over coming injuries, illness and other problems in relation to their dancing.

It was to my surprise that I even saw Breanna at all tonight, but I hope that is was an eye opener for a lot of other students.  She has been working extremely hard in the past year to move up in to a higher Company, which she did this year, and she has continued to push herself weekly to become one of the leaders of this group.  She consistently yearns to improve and wants to be pushed to her limits so she can reach her potential.  In other words... she gets it and wants it.  Just because she wasn't blessed with perfectly aligned teeth wasn't stopping her from reaching her potential this year!

She learned a lot by watching tonight, and I know next week she will have gone over the choreography and taken note of all the corrections the rest of the class was given.  It will not be time wasted for her or the rest of the class, and that in itself is a pleasure to know as a dance teacher.  Maybe she will be less a few teeth, and hopefully lacking the skills to talk as much as she normally does for a while, but I'm sure she won't have missed a step!

So kudos to you Breanna, even if you never read this!  You should be proud of yourself and your dedication to every one in your group.  I told her to stay home tomorrow night, as she wouldn't be missing any choreography classes, but she assured me she'd be in back taking class.  I won't hold her to it, but I also wouldn't be shocked if she was.

Super proud teacher here tonight... I'm gonna go add a few extra rhinestones on her costume free of charge!

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