About Me

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Yilan, Taiwan
I'm a Social Studies teacher and single mom from Colorado and have lived here for 9 years. Taiwan is an excellent base for us explore Asia, while living in relative (gun free) safety, while benefiting from a cheap and efficient national health care system. The people are amazing too. I have friendships that are 14 years old and I'm always making new ones.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Ballet Basics and Getting Off on the Wrong Foot

Talk about dancing to a different tune. I blame the Taiwanese dependence on tests, and focusing on the end result, not the process, along with just people with petty personalities. Actually, I think on a higher level, forces of darkness (The Shadow Trickster) were trying to steal my radiant source of weekly joy, my beloved 90 minute Wednesday ballet class from me.

Mid June,  it got real with this new dance studio, when I told them Z wasn't happy with her teacher (the owner) and wanted to quit. I had already paid for her June classes and wanted the rest of money back, but she refused. Bear in mind that we were communicating through Facebook messager. I was typing in English and a friend was helping her translate.

Refusing to give me my money back basically forced me to bluntly tell her all the reasons why my kid hated her class. It wasn't enough for me to say diplomatically, that my kid's and your personality doesn't match, so can we just cancel. I kept on reiterating that I however loved my adult class (different teacher).

She demeans the girls, ("You're the worst class, the others dance better than you") - although they are the very beginning class, she hit Z hard (she showed me, totally crossed the line), the teacher is on her phone messaging and chatting most of the time, and she doesn't demonstrate any of the movements herself (like every dance teacher I know does) but basically instructs them orally, while grabbing limbs roughly and forcing the girls' bodies. I had mean teachers before (but they could dance), I also understand that dance teachers have to adjust kids' bodies, pats, are normal, but hard smacks, um nope crossed the line.

I basically commented that I would be curious to ask the other girls what they thought of her using her phone in class too, considering how much the classes cost, and that's when she said I could have my money back and I wasn't welcomed to join the adult class anymore too. It spiraled and got ridiculous fairly quick. I doubt she would of acted the same had I been a Taiwanese mother, for sure she would of reimbursed the money.

Fortunately, my ballet teacher and a mother/fellow student in my adult class, "the peacemaker" helped to have a face to face, saving face meeting. This woman was almost unable to meet me. She took Z not liking her that personally. I think she was humiliated because she lost face with so many people, by threatening to withhold my money and barring me from my beloved class. She's just an insecure person. I was as gentle as a dove meeting her (my attending the class was on the line). We blamed it on a communications breakdown (and not her pettiness).

Those two were able to convince her that my kid's class dissatisfaction and my class, were separate and I was able to remain in the adult class. However for July, since I would be in Okinawa for 2 weeks, she said I couldn't pay for 2 weeks but had to pay for the full month, even though I would only attend 2 classes. (In what world is this good business?) So I told my adult classmates, " Happy Summer, see you in September! " As I'll be out of town for August.

I blame the Taiwanese education of tests on this as well because, the teacher said she felt stressed to have Z's class be very good for some test they would take with teachers from Taipei. Of course I had no idea. I told them that Z just started and we are more concerned that she enjoy dancing and not be stressed, humiliated and bullied. The trickle down effect of sacrificing the means for the ends.

After we return in September I will look for another dance studio in Yilan for Z or some martial arts. My kid still wanted to dance but this teacher totally spoiled so much joy out of learning, its a pity.  I however mourned last Wednesday when I was here in Yilan  but unable to go.

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