Ask the Experts: Getting Faculty to Respect Each Other

Q: How do I get faculty members to respect each other—for example, letting dancers out of class on time (so they aren't late for the next one) and not playing the music so loudly that it's overwhelming in the next room?

A: I have a teacher's code of conduct that includes running on schedule, not playing music too loudly and speaking respectfully about other teachers and the genres of dance they teach. For the most part, this takes care of any issues. However, I have had to hold private chats with teachers on more than a few occasions. Occasionally, jazz music will be blasting in the room beside the ballet class, and classes will run over by 10 minutes—plus another 10 minutes for the dancers to change into ballet attire. (Sometimes my own daughter is the guilty one, running into overtime with her classes!) In these private meetings, I ask my staff to understand how disrespected a teacher feels when you run over into her class time. I remind them how stressed the dancers become when they know they'll be late for their next class. I ask any teacher who has run over her class time to explain and apologize to the teacher of the next class.

In a perfect world, we would all be able to schedule 15 minutes between classes and have 100 percent soundproof studios. Unfortunately, this isn't realistic. Having a staff of teachers who respect one another is essential to having a great studio environment. If one teacher is constantly the problem, and you've tried mediating the situation repeatedly, then maybe it's time for a staffing change.

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