How To Deal With Wannabe Dancer Tweens Without Killing Them Or Locking Them In A Closet

Pardon me for the following explosion of frustrated sarcasm and pent up anger. As an additional disclaimer, I really do love kids... just not... well... you'll see what I mean. As you {hopefully} know, I am a dancer. I've been dancing since I was 6 and teaching/choreographing for the last 7-or so years. It's one of my greatest passions and something that I can't imagine my life without. It's up there with my husband, family and chocolate! {yeah... serious business} I'll delve into the blissfully wonderful performance aspect of dance a little later... this post, however, is about a not so pleasant experience involving dance... annoying, bratty students.

Like I said before, I've had about 7 years of teaching experience, mostly for dancers that are my own age or slightly younger. Most of the people I have taught are also passionate and enthusiastic about dance, not doing it because mom and dad think they should have an extra curricular activity to keep them busy. I have taught younger students {ages 8-15} before but it was for a theater camp where the level of difficulty was close to ZERO and the moves were more like Glee than SYTYCD. Never the less, I understand what it takes to manage classes with a variety of ages and skill levels. I also know how to gain the attention of the little snot-wads that find joy in being the class clown. At least I thought I did...

I recently started teaching at a new studio in an attempt to bring myself a little extra money and some added happiness to the crap-hole that is my work life. Don't get me wrong, I have plenty of happiness outside of work but I've been wanted to do something for others that I even slightly enjoyed... so I decided to take this teaching job. I expected to be greeted by eager and passionate young students who were taking class to show their love for the art and expand their dance technique. Instead, what I got was a bunch of bratty, snobby, rude, inconsiderate and undisciplined little heathens. Seriously, I have never experienced this type of behavior from young girls. When I was their age I knew that dance classes were meant for learning and not talking, but these girls apparently think dance classes are a time to catch up with friends. Literally this was the dialogue between myself and one particularly rude little creep:

Me: Come on girls, quite down. You're being way too chatty today. Little Creep {imagine this spoken in a tweeny valley girl tone}: Well, um we're like in middle school, and our teachers, like, don't let us talk during class. So, like, we have to talk here instead. Me {WHAT THE FRACK!?!?}: Well this is MY class and you will, LIKE, keep your mouth shut when I tell you to.

The little creeps eyes widened at the sheer terror of what I had just said to her. {How dare I raise my voice} This interaction took place in front of the whole class so I assumed they would all begin to understand how serious I was. At least I would have understood had my teacher said anything remotely close to what I did. NOPE... wrong again. They kept at it. Talking over me, over their classmates, while dancing {nothing burns me more than students who talk WHILE they are dancing} and constantly telling me how they didn't like my choreography and thought I should do something "more like this" {demonstrates idiotic dance move that proves they have no talent}. Eventually I had to implement a three strike rule. "If I have to stop class to tell you to be quiet, you get a strike. Three strikes within one class and you're out of the class for the day. Multiple days being sent out and I talk to your parents and take you out of the show." Again their eyes grew to the size of saucers with pure shock, but they still wouldn't shut up. The problem with my three strike rule is that if the whole class is talking I can't exactly kick them all out... no matter how much I wish I could. But then I would need to ensure that I bring a bottle of Sailor Jerry's with me to class every day in case the occasion presents itself and I don't think my teaching skills would improve with the addition of liquor. Maybe I'll try it out one day just to see. I could go on and on AND ON about the tiny mutants that terrorize my classes everyday but instead I will leave you with one of the more recent and THRILLING stories. My classes are an hour long each, the first starting at 5:30. I have one student who is always talking, never dancing full out, and always doing things wrong. We'll call her Eunice. Eunice is in my second class of the day but tends to get there fairly early {I guess mom and dad want her out of their hair as much as I do}. While still teaching my first class I see her pop her head into the back window {because she always thinks she's late for her class... not the brightest crayon in the box}. Mind you, this was about 15 minutes before her class started. When my first class ended I walked out of the room to call in my 2nd group and noticed she was sitting in the waiting room reading a costume magazine from the office {Eunice also likes to tell me what costumes I should order... every day... because she's so smart}. Brace yourself... this will get ugly.

Me: Come on Eunice, class is starting. Eunice: Hold on a second. Me {Oh NO she di-n't!!!}: No, NOW!  {Eunice takes her time putting the book down and I realize she's also holding a tub of... wait for it... cotton candy. The most hyper girl in class is eating a bucket of spun sugar. AWESOME, I can't wait. She walks up to me and offers me some. *idiot*} Me: You are never allowed to eat candy before my class again and if I see you with it out during class, {which she's been known to do} you will NOT be allowed back in, do you understand me? Eunice: Yes. I'll be right in I just have to change. AHHHHHHHHHH....SHE WAS STILL IN HER SCHOOL CLOTHES. I was so caught up in her lack of respect and the damn cotton candy that I didn't notice she hadn't changed for class yet. Let me remind you that she had been at the studio for 15 minutes already. Me: Why aren't you changed and WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING THIS WHOLE TIME? Eunice: I was sitting out here. Me: Why didn't you change in the 15 minutes you've been waiting. {at this point there was steam shooting from my ears} Eunice: Because I was waiting on you. Me *suppressing inner thoughts of throwing her through the window and conjuring up an evil eye that could make The Cullen family pee their pants*: The next time you come to my class eating and inappropriately dressed you will not set foot inside. Now go change... HURRY.

Oh, I had my eyes on her the whole class and she certainly did watch her mouth. You ready for the kicker? The nitwit had the nerve to come up to me after class asking if I wanted to by flower buds for her school's fund raiser... .. ..... ........ BWAHAHAHA... NO you undeserving hellion. I have ZERO desire to assist you in earning pointless prizes which will most likely come in the form of some sugary substance that you will no doubt bring to my class making you even more annoying than you are now!!! What an idiot. Seriously do tweens really behave this way now? Sorry for the novel, and thank you for sticking with me through the whole thing.  I invite you to share your own terrorizing tween stories or submit any advice {violent or not, both are welcome} on how to handle these little twerps. Now I'm tense... thanks Eunice.

Until next time...