Ask the Experts: What Should I Tell Parents When a Teacher Suddenly Quits?

Q: I just had a teacher quit midyear, and it wasn't on good terms. I need to e-mail the parents about it, but don't want to cause a panic. Any suggestions on how to mitigate damage and make a smooth transition with the new teacher?

A: When a teacher leaves, regardless of the terms, it can be disappointing and upsetting for students. They've spent a good amount of time connecting with that educator, and it's hard to see her or him go. Parents don't know about some of the behind-the-scenes issues you've had with that teacher, and the faster you can communicate with them, the more likely you are to reduce rumors and fallout. E-mail out a statement with an upbeat and positive tone. Include only succinct facts necessary for them to know. Communicate your commitment to your students, and clearly state how they can count on you as the owner and director. Graciously acknowledge the contributions made by this teacher and thank her for the work she's done. Then, quickly announce your excitement for your replacement teacher and the energy and enthusiasm she or he will bring to the students.

For example, your statement could say, "Miss Sarah has made the decision to move on from our studio to pursue other employment options. We wish her the best and thank her for her time, talent and contribution to our school. Everyone here at XYZ Studio is committed to creating our quality dance education program, and you can count on a smooth transition as we begin working with this new teacher." Encourage your staff to repeat elements of the statement to anyone questioning the situation after the e-mail has been sent.

Be sure to give instructions on how a parent could reach you with any further questions or comments, as it pertains to their child. Always respect the departing teacher's privacy by not disclosing details on the matter. While parents may have their own experience and stories about the situation, staying positive with your words, expressions and actions will allow you to maintain your professionalism. If you have a new teacher lined up, it's good to include some of their bio in the e-mail, along with a sentence or two about what they are looking forward to. Be ready to shadow the new teacher the first few weeks with your students to ensure they're a good fit.

Teachers Trending
Alwin Courcy, courtesy Ballet des Amériques

Carole Alexis has been enduring the life-altering after-effects of COVID-19 since April 2020. For months on end, the Ballet des Amériques director struggled with fevers, tingling, dizziness and fatigue. Strange bruising showed up on her skin, along with the return of her (long dormant) asthma, plus word loss and stuttering.

"For three days I would experience relief from the fever—then, boom—it would come back worse than before," Alexis says. "I would go into a room and not know why I was there." Despite the remission of some symptoms, the fatigue and other debilitating side effects have endured to this day. Alexis is part of a tens-of-thousands-member club nobody wants to be part of—she is a COVID-19 long-hauler.

Keep reading... Show less
Teachers Trending

Annika Abel Photography, courtesy Griffith

When the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last May catalyzed nationwide protests against systemic racism, the tap community resumed longstanding conversations about teaching a Black art form in the era of Black Lives Matter. As these dialogues unfolded on social media, veteran Dorrance Dance member Karida Griffith commented infrequently, finding it difficult to participate in a meaningful way.

"I had a hard time watching people have these conversations without historical context and knowledge," says Griffith, who now resides in her hometown of Portland, Oregon, after many years in New York City. "It was clear that there was so much information missing."

For example, she observed people discussing tap while demonstrating ignorance about Black culture. Or, posts that tried to impose upon tap the history or aesthetics of European dance forms.

Keep reading... Show less
Studio Owners
Courtesy Tonawanda Dance Arts

If you're considering starting a summer program this year, you're likely not alone. Summer camp and class options are a tried-and-true method for paying your overhead costs past June—and, done well, could be a vehicle for making up for lost 2020 profits.

Plus, they might take on extra appeal for your studio families this year. Those struggling financially due to the pandemic will be in search of an affordable local programming option rather than an expensive, out-of-town intensive. And with summer travel still likely in question this spring as July and August plans are being made, your studio's local summer training option remains a safe bet.

The keys to profitable summer programming? Figuring out what type of structure will appeal most to your studio clientele, keeping start-up costs low—and, ideally, converting new summer students into new year-round students.

Keep reading... Show less

Get Dance Business Weekly in your inbox

Sign Up Used in accordance with our Privacy Policy.