Preferential Treatment?

Before I start, I’d like to say that I am well aware that this post makes me sound whiny and immature – but one of the wonderful things about having your own blog is that you get to prove that old adage about opinions and everyone having one …

🙂

Also, I am aware that I am not completely blameless in this either, but still, everyone has one…

Anyway.

So, there’s this young lady who, every day, is anywhere from 40 minutes to almost an hour late for (a two-hour) ballet class. Every single day, assuming she doesn’t just blow it off completely. Now, this class is at a horrible early morning time, the kind of hour where if you leave home 15 minutes earlier you’ll then hit even more traffic because then there’s all the school buses blocking traffic with their little flashing stop signs, and you get to your destination at the same exact freaking time! Trust me, I’ve done it; I set my alarm earlier, dragged myself awake, left home ealier and STILL got there exactly on the dot or a minute late. And, I’m sorry, but I am not going to get up before the sun rises to drive a couple of miles and wait in an empty parking lot – like I said, I may come across as immature, but I have plenty of responsibilities to take care of at home, and if I’m going to be awake two hours earlier than usual I’m going to be doing my chores!

Anyway, our teacher gives us a lecture on being on time. Except, Miss I’m-An-Hour-Late-And-I-Don’t-Care is so late she doesn’t even catch the lecture! Then our teacher decides that the door will be locked right before class begins, as motivation. Once again, Miss IAHLAIDC is so late that by that point the teacher has unlocked the door (I think because it’s a fire safety hazard to keep the door locked the whole time?), and, rather than having to wait outside, knocking repeatedly, she just waltzes on in.

By this point I’m annoyed. I understand that the teacher’s personal belief is that it doesn’t matter if you’re late by 30 seconds or an hour, but – I mean, seriously! – if you’re so late that the rest of the class is done with barre completely then perhaps it’s not the same thing as running in there right as class is starting. Scratch that – I’m not annoyed, I’m quite angry.

I realize there’s nothing I can do about it though. I could just decide to sleep in for the rest of the session and not even bother with class, I guess. This is a character flaw about me that I really dislike, but I tend to be the kind of person that once I decided that something is unfair it’s very hard to change my mind. But I find this incredibly unfair! If I was the teacher I would have made her (Miss IAHLAIDC) sit out and watch, not allow her to take part in class. It seems incredibly messed up to me that those of us who are making an effort to be there on time- and occasionally don’t make it – get punished more (by having to wait outside until the door is unlocked again) while absolutely nothing for her, who clearly is not making an effort. You don’t get somewhere 45 minutes to an hour late daily by making an effort! To me, that just shows that you don’t care and decided the party won’t start until you get there…

Perhaps… maybe just maybe… could it be because Miss IAHLAIDC has extensions to die for? I’m talking 180 degrees devant and a la seconde, and about 150 derriere, not to mention a perfectly overcrossed fifth position (it’s seriously beautiful) and none of the rest of us come close to that. Do teachers tend to cut much more slack to students that they consider to be “naturally talented”? I mean, this got the gears in my head turning, and now I feel like I can remember plenty examples of people who got many chances, who got away with ditching rehearsals and routine tardiness, but… teachers are willing to look the other way for people that they either consider to be “good” or that they just plain like. I realize at the professional level this may be commonplace (playing favorites, and politics), but it just seems ridiculous at a Beginner class where most of us are true beginners and will only dance recreationally.

Of course, this doesn’t make me feel better; if anything, it makes me angrier. Perhaps I’d be less angry if I hadn’t wasted my time, my gasoline, and my food (I usually don’t eat in the early morning unless I have class), and had just decided to stay home and sleep in since there was no way I was going to get there way early. Well, I guess I’m not angry anymore now that I’ve had my opportunity to rant. Now I just don’t know what’s going on for the rest of this session of classes…

Any thoughts? Yes, I realize that I was technically in the wrong by not being early to class, but I’m mostly upset about how some people get away with it…

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12 thoughts on “Preferential Treatment?

  1. Trippmadam

    As a teenager I took ballet as an extracurricular activity in school. When students were late, they were not allowed to go along with the rest of the class before they had done the full warm up. Teacher used to say he would not let a student dance who was not warmed up, because this could lead to injuries and teacher was not going to take that risk.

    Reply
  2. asher

    Huh … First, for what it’s worth, this would drive me crazy, too, both in terms of the disregard for the teacher, the art form, and the other students, etc, demonstrated by rolling up 40 minutes late and in terms of the injustice of the variance in treatment.

    Second — part of the purpose in not being late is respect (for the teacher, for the other students, for the Grand Tradition), but part of it also boils down to safety. Barre prepares the body for the rest of class (and because of this, our instructors will make us sit out if we enter after pliès). In short, as an instructor, I’d be concerned that the student in question would blow a tendon halfway through petit allegro or something.

    The only way I can see this being remotely acceptable would be if one was coming directly from a class that ended in the middle of the class one is always late for *and* has an existing agreement about it — but even then it seems that it would be polite to let the other students know what’s going on.

    Reply
    1. kit Post author

      Yesh,the safety thing’s a big one, for sure. Whenver I see people dance full out without warming up it makes me cringe. I’ve seen teacher’s allow students to come in partway thru if the student in question just came out of a different technique class and was already warm, but this person in particular has admitted that she’s just late to get out of bed…She does go and do some plies off in the corner by herself, but that’s no replacement for a full barre.

      Reply
  3. nadiainherownworld

    I agree with what everyone’s saying about safety and respect, and it probably is unfair. But personally, as someone who’s paying for class, I just tend to think of being late as missing out on valuable class time. So I can’t really envy people who are always late any more than I envy those kids who always manage to drop one of their ice cream scoops (even if they can be annoying and probably shouldn’t get away with it).

    Reply
    1. kit Post author

      Yes! That makes perfect sense to me and I feel like I really needed to hear that different perspective on it. You’re absolutely right though, it’s missing out on paid class time rather than being able to get away with something.

      Reply
  4. Dork

    Why don’t you chat with the tardy person after class and ask why? Maybe she’s got a perfect reason and an agreement with the teacher? That said, I can understand you perfectly. I also absolutely hate it when people are late for class (especially when several people insist on walking in a couple of minutes apart). So far, the problem has never been so bad as to prompt a comment from the teacher. What asher said would also bother me: I doubt I would be able to go through with the second half of my ballet or jazz class without the warm-up. Not only would it increase the risk of injury or just plain old painful muscle cramps (I get those if my warm-up is even 30 secons short, ha!), but also because my performance would be abominable. So I’m really curious as to why someone would do this all the time!

    Reply
    1. kit Post author

      We’ve heard him lecture her before about it, so I doubt they have an agreement. Her reason’s as good (bad) as mine – we like our sleep a little too much in the morning, and unfortunately, for summer session ballet was only offered at this time. I know because I *have* talked to her – not in an accusatory way or anything, it just came up in conversation a few weeks ago when we partnered up for an exercise (and before the teacher had started that door locking business). I was just pouting because it seemed like she was getting away with *something* but then all the coments from you all really helped me to see things in a new – better – perspective.
      And I know what you mean about the warm up. If I don’t do my pre-barre exercises (mostly ankle rolls, flexing and poointing, and forced arch stretched) I feel like even for the plies I’m off – and everything else that follows. It is a very unpleasant feeling for me to show up to a class that has already started or is about to start. But as to reasons… I guess never underestimate a person’s love of sleep, and some rare days it wins over the love of ballet? I realize that sounds bad… but for what it’s worth, I am now setting the alarm even earlier and today I definitely made it in on time.

      Reply
  5. yorksranter

    This reminds me of the time I heard someone knocking at the studio door after we’d already started a warm-up sequence.

    Me (in passé rélevé, hands in fifth, about to throw them down for a core check): “Lisa, I think there’s someone knocking at the door.”

    “Yes…yes..there seems to be.” (as if I’d said something about the weather) OK, point taken, really punctual from now on.

    Reply
    1. kit Post author

      That’s almost exactly what happened last week, except then the teacher asked “should we let them in?” in a joking way, and after we said “yes!” (we’re a nice bunch, I guess), he shrugged and opened it. Must have caught him in a good mood that day…

      Reply
  6. Olivia

    My thought was- her loss. It seems to be how we all see it- the warm up is important for the body as well as the technique time. My new outlook this season has been to accept with love where that person is in their life and leave it to them- so instead of being angry, I check in with my emotions and try to turn them around. It takes practice lol.

    Reply
    1. kit Post author

      That is a very wise and mature attitude… I agree that it takes practice… but I should probably get to practicing it more…

      Reply

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