Oh here we go again, reading another wishy-washy post on why the student, teacher and parent need to have a harmonious relationship full of Zen and good chi, and flowers and rainbows and unicorns and things.
Stop. Just stop. One thing I need get across to you readers is that in this blog, I will tell it how it is. No nonsense.
OF COURSE there needs to be a good relationship between the 3 key stakeholders. But do they need to love each other ALL the time? Noooope.
They don’t need to be best of friends every second of the day. HOWEVER, there are some attributes you cannot operate without. This is from my experience teaching Acro, but likely to be synonymous with other activities and vocations.
”Trust precedes progress”
Listen, if a student doesn’t trust me as the teacher, it's a non-starter. My job is to literally pull the potential out of students like pulling a dogs head from between some railings. I will get my foot up in there, and get to pullin’. I will get that potential out as fast and as pain-free as I possibly can. This will not happen without trust.
You don’t trust me as your teacher?
You’ll NEVER go for that skill I know you can do.
You’ll NEVER want me to stop spotting you.
You’ll never hit that competition or festival stage. (If you do, you’ll have levels of anxiety that may even be irreversible.)
You’ll therefore never believe in yourself.
You’ll NEVER find it east to trust any other teacher, because lord knows I’m here for you and am doing my darnest to make you feel confident as possible.
You’ll NEVER agree with any decision I make for you.
It just won‘t work. We’ve all heard “Its not you its me“... but this time it’s definitely YOU Miranda... this is all you. (Yes thats right, sometimes* it is the student’s problem. Thats right I said it). *Note I said sometimes. Get that one straight.
Now. What if the teacher doesn‘t trust the student? Well you can go ahead and reverse all of those ’never’ statements above. I will never ask you to go for that skill, to stop spotting you, to put you into that competition and so on. That’s purely detrimental to the student on so many levels. Why? Because trust precedes progress.
What about the parent? Well this is a sticky-icky one. If the parent doesn‘t trust the teacher or vice versa, it basically becomes a loudly ticking time-bomb, and when that bomb goes off, it causes destruction, just like any bomb.
Who gets hurt when a bomb goes off? Unfortunately everyone. Who is closest to the epicentre of the blast? In fact who is dead-centre? Thats right. The student. He/she will feel the full force of the blast in more ways than you think.
Parents let me just tell you right now, if you do not trust your child’s instructor/teacher, please remove them from the environment and find an alternative club/school/group as soon as humanly possible. This will benefit you, the teacher and most importantly, the student. Parents, listen, I know why you don’t do this when it comes to the point of distrust - it‘s because you know that your child enjoys themselves, and has friends there too. Newsflash: kids can make friends anywhere, and will survive a move. Why am I saying take them out of the club/school? Because your distrust of the teacher will turn into downright horsepoo decision making, and general undermining of the teacher. Parents have distrusted me in the past, and it ALWAYS heads in the same direction. The problem is, the blast always takes time to go off. Thats time wasted no-one in the Magic Triangle can ever get back.
So many of us get this wrong! Teacher not respecting students or vice-versa, parents not respecting teachers or vice-versa, students not respecting parents or vice-versa. Teachers who are reading this, hands up if you’ve had the following message from a parent (or near enough):
”Hi [teacher], hope all is well. I’m sorry to do this to you but [student] just will not [insert thing that student should be doing, at home or school], and I don’t know what to do? She never listens to me, but I know she’ll listen to you! Thanks, [parent]”
I mean. Wow. It is great ego booster, but it is wrong on so many levels. I don’t think my mother actually knows that I’ve personally had this message many times. I don’t think she knows that anyone anywhere has ever had this message. I know what my mother would be thinking if I ever told her: ”handover parenting responsibility to the teacher? Wait, you can actually do that?” Well mother, some try. I’m no parent (yet), and I’m sure you parent readers are bending over backwards to hit me in the comments, but no bother.
"Akin to manners, respect costs about the same as the amount you’re willing to spend on your ex’s honeymoon gift."
Why do parents try to do this? Because there is a lack of respect being shown from child (student) to parent. If there is a lack of respect in that scenario, why the hell will the student respect ME? I’m an external authoritative figure who they see for a minority of the collective hours in any given week! Another newsflash (two down so far): IF they currently respect me now, and not their parents, I’m basically riding on a ‘respect-quota’ - when that bad boy is full, I’ve had it as the teacher.
If the student doesn’t respect the teacher... well this will be a short paragraph because we’ve ALL been in situations at school or otherwise where we didn’t fully respect a teacher. What was YOUR behaviour like, in that scenario? That‘s right, Jane... you were a little **** weren’t you? Yep. So was I.
Guess what, students (children) often don’t respect adults and those in positions of authority because... (drum roll please...)
yes you’ve guessed it - they don’t feel respected themselves. They'll pull a full-on 'switcheroo' on you, and you won't see it coming, because at no point did they feel they had the place or time to say to you. Next thing you know, they’ve thrown an attitude-fuelled stink bomb up your left nostril. Good luck. Akin to manners, respect costs about the same as the amount you’re willing to spend on your ex’s honeymoon gift. Give what you wish to receive.
"If little Sophia has been dropped from a group dance, or a gym competition, it's NOT because the teacher thinks she's the spawn of satan"
"the quality of having a modest or low view of one's importance."
Thought it best to drop the dictionary meaning before going into this point. Often, both trust and respect options tend to fail due to a lack of the third important attribute here: humility. Now we now what humility is, what is a lack of it? Or how does that present itself? 99% of the time it presents itself in the same way a 2018 Britney Spears does: unsightly. A lack of humility from a teacher basically begins and ends with the same sentence - "it's either my way or the highway". Teachers, we need to relax with this one. It's a little bit dictatorish... a little bit Kremlin. Yes, it is our class, or even our school/business, but sometimes, you gotta roll with some of the punches.. I mean feedback (feedback comes in the form of Anthony Joshua style punches when it comes from someone with a lack of humility).
So teachers, please do show some humility (yes I'm going for the world record for how many times that word can be used in a single blog post), and be open to change, and to constructive criticism - from both parents and students. Parents. Teachers do love you, when you show this attribute, and unfortunately as the years roll on, there is less shown by parents, which is a shame, and downright anxiety-inducing for teachers on the whole. Pipe-down a little, and pick your battles. If little Sophia has been dropped from a group dance, or a gym competition, it's NOT because the teacher thinks she's the spawn of satan. It's because she's got some work to do, and the teacher will be there to help her every step of the way.
Students, y'all need to show the most humility of all. Its so ugly to see students throwing their weight around like they are God's gift to acro, or dance, or [insert your chosen passion here]. We, teachers especially, do not want to hear this, see this, smell this, or be near this. It is the quickest route out of class, or that event, or that competition. Trust me. Don't do it. In the light words of Kendrick Lamar... "sit down, be humble".
With all the above in mind, if you think two of those three attributes are missing from the otherwise harmonious bond, you might want to drop the mic on that relationship and find an alternative path.
That's it from me, your resident Acro man. I'm out.