We may learn differently, but we do learn

You know how different people have different styles of learning,how some are visual, others are auditory, etc? And some people learn stuff physically with their bodies? I am not one of those people.

All my life I have had two left feet.  I don’t know if this is as a result of not playing any sports or I didn’t play sports as a consequence of it.  I guess it’s one of those ” did the chicken or the egg come first” things.  But my point is, I was not one of those kids that seemed to have this amazing awareness of their body.

The reason I bring this up is something my most recent ballet teacher said in class one of the last days while we were stretching.  She mentioned that as a child she had trouble reading and was considered to have a learning disability.  Academic subjects were very hard for her and it was only through dance and movement that she was able to get through it.

Here’s the problem though: she would run class as though we were all the same as her.  If we couldn’t pull off a certain move or combination(in my case jumping higher while pointing my feet or executing the whole thing twice as fast) she would tell us that ” we must not really want to learn” and that “if we put it out there it will happen, so obviously we are not putting it out there”.

And honestly this is messed up.  I don’t see how this would be any different from one of her reading teachers telling her that “she must not really want to learn.”  We are all different, with our own strengths and weaknesses.  If my (relatively) weak legs and high center of gravity make it more difficult for me  than the average student (if there even was a way of determining what is average)  to perform a move or moves it doesn’t mean i don’t really want to learn any more than her reading difficulties meant she didn’t want to learn.

This double standard is upsetting sometimes more than others.   In my year and a half doing ballet, there have been so many times when I have felt unnaccepted  or inadequate. And this is rediculous, no adult student should be made to feel this way.  Obviously I know that I’m not doing it because Im hoping to make a career of it.  Besides my inherent clumsiness, I am a decade or two too late.  I do it because it’s fun and makes me feel good.  But the way some teachers run their classes, it doesn’t make you feel very good sometimes.  It can make you feel awful.

But a wise person once said that” no one can make you feel inferior without your consent” and  she would be as right today as the day she said it.  And so I will go on.

3 thoughts on “We may learn differently, but we do learn

  1. Pingback: The ballet teacher haunts my dreams… | balletandorbust

  2. Pingback: On the positive side | balletandorbust

  3. kit Post author

    Wow, can’t believe it’s been almost two years since I wrote this (and took this teacher’s class (S Teacher)). I still feel the same way about it – picking and choosing which learning “disabilities” are valid and which aren’t is really some double-standard discriminatory stuff. Seriously, for someone who knows firsthand how frustrating it is to have your teacher tell you you must not *want* to learn when you *are* trying your hardest to turn around and do it back to a student, just… **deep breath** … you’re not a very nice person (or good teacher).

    I’ve improved so much in ballet, but I’ll probably always be a slow learner. Thankfully, it’s not my career, so my livelyhood doesn’t depend on it. It’s when I contemplate my slowness in learning that I am in fact *glad* that I found ballet as an adult; if I’d started as a child and dreamed of going somewhere with it, only to be repeatedly passed up for parts and opportunitites because of my slowness, well, that would have been heartbreaking.
    I guess all clouds have a silver lining…


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