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Stopping Mid Associates Y8.


Motomum
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My child is really not enjoying their Associates classes at all. They have been fairly consistent about this from the first half-term Y7. they do not click with the teacher at all, and feel the class does not add anything to their training, the teaching style is for my child a bit too loose and vague. They are finding it a joyless few hours except for the contact with their peers. 

The pandemic certainly got in the way which didn’t help as it was then pre-recorded classes and Zoom.

If it were possible to change centres or teachers this would be my preferred option, but it’s not an option.

I’m not a great believer in just stopping things, but it’s a long haul for us to Covent Garden making it all more of an ordeal.

Is it ok just to stop?

 

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Posted (edited)

If associates are not enjoyable, they are a huge unwanted commitment for your child and might risk putting them off dance all together. It is always ok to walk away from any programme, even full-time vocational school, if it isn’t right for the DC. You may well find that your financial commitment runs to the end of the year, but there is no obligation to see the year out in terms of attendance.

 

A child in DD’s JA class stopped attending regularly very early on, presumably because she realised it wasn’t for her. The space was never filled, as she did still come from time to time, and I always thought it was a shame, as her heart wasn’t in it and if she had spoken to the school and withdrawn, a child on the waiting list could have had a try. If you are sure your child doesn’t want to continue, it would be good to let them know, so they can allocate the place.

 

Making the right decision for your child doesn’t always make sense on paper. But following their lead and doing what is right for them is always more important than the prestige of a big name associate programme. 

Edited by Anna C
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I would agree - if it isn't suiting your child and if they don't want to continue, it is probably best to withdraw him/her.

 

However discuss it with him/her before making the decision - they may be horrified at the thought! 

 

When my dd was a child, if she wanted to stop a hobby/activity/class I would say she had to keep going to the end of that term.  That gave time to assess whether it was just a bad patch, and I felt also told her that commitment was important too.

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I think I’ve held on in there for them because it feels like such a big thing to give up when I think of how hard fought the place was for my child to get.

I would say they are bordering on miserable. I’m going to give it until half-term, check again, and stop.

There have been quite a few posts on here recently that have reflected upon when is it time to stop a class, training etc and they helpfully made me revisit this again.

The place will be filled in an instant of that I’m sure. 😀

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27 minutes ago, glowlight said:

I would agree - if it isn't suiting your child and if they don't want to continue, it is probably best to withdraw him/her.

 

However discuss it with him/her before making the decision - they may be horrified at the thought! 

 

When my dd was a child, if she wanted to stop a hobby/activity/class I would say she had to keep going to the end of that term.  That gave time to assess whether it was just a bad patch, and I felt also told her that commitment was important too.

 

I definitely agree with having a thorough discussion with your dc, just to ensure that they really do want to stop (as opposed to the classes being challenging and the teacher merely being more strict than JAs and/or local training, which is to be expected).  

 

If they are absolutely sure that they don’t want to carry on - and assuming you’re happy that this is just a wrong fit (as opposed to any bullying or mistreatment) - then continuing until the end of term if you possibly can is important; firstly to demonstrate professional courtesy and secondly to encourage commitment, as glowlight says. 

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My dd gave up her MA place at the end of year 8. She loved the class but loved the friendships she made more so in this sense it was very hard and her thinking varied a lot, so I gave her all of year 8 to decide as I wasn’t sure if it was teenage angst etc. I asked her to do the end of year assessment to see whether it was a confidence issue but when she was given a year 9 place it only boosted her slightly; she was still confident that someone else would appreciate the place more (she came to the decision that she wasn’t going to pursue ballet as a career so knew someone would be more grateful of a place and she’d already been an associate for 5 years). To make sure she was happy with the decision (as I agree it felt a huge one) I didn’t notify the school immediately but I told her that I had emailed RBS to give her place back, in order to see if she had time to regret her decision. A month later I told her I hadn’t yet advised the school and it was only then, when I saw that she was comfortable with her decision, that I gave notice to the school (which was still in plenty of time for someone else to get the call for September). 
 

Good luck with your decision. 
I would say that there was a dancer in my dd’s year 8 MA class that had moved from another centre that she attended in year 7. I’m not sure if that was due to a house move etc but it may be worth asking for your peace of mind x 

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Posted (edited)

@Balletmum55 doing the end of year assessment is a good idea, this might offer a change of perspective.

There are no options to change centres that I know of.

 

Bizarrely the JA teacher was amazing, much more challenging and dynamic; and I think more of the same was anticipated for MAs, but it is a very different approach to teaching that just leaves my child ‘switched off.’ For them in a ballet class this is very unusual and not at all typical.

I did tentatively broach the subject in the annual feedback phonecall, but having now watched the classes on Zoom I can see why my child isn’t engaged in the classes.

@Anna CI thought at first it was just the newness of it all and maybe that it was more challenging, but it wasn’t. Ending out the term is what I would expect of my child. 

They are in non-res vocational training that started last September which they are just loving, so don’t in any way need to do this class.

I think maybe as I write it might be more about me. We definitely got caught up in the RB whirlwind after gaining a Y6 JA place and then the Intensives. Leaving it all behind feels a bit weird, it consumed so much of our lives for what felt like such a long time. 
I thought my child would stay on through the Associate program but when they found out it would be the same teacher , there was no longer a chance of me continuing to read my book over a weekly coffee in the ROH. 😊

Edited by Motomum
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4 hours ago, HopelessMummy said:

If your child is miserable, then leave. Their childhood is so short as it is, you don't want them to remember how miserable they were! 

He had a class today and he was really miserable afterwards, miserable to a point where he was just flat and withdrawn. 😕

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10 hours ago, Motomum said:

He had a class today and he was really miserable afterwards, miserable to a point where he was just flat and withdrawn. 😕

 

That’s such a shame, Motomum.  Did you chat with him to see exactly what makes him feel so miserable?

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2 minutes ago, meadowblythe said:

If they are already in Voc. training do you need associates?  And could it be that it's one thing too many?

 

 

This is something I've always wondered too!

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1 hour ago, meadowblythe said:

If they are already in Voc. training do you need associates?  And could it be that it's one thing too many?

 

 

I didn’t really think about it, as vocational training started last September and child already doing Associates.

I hadn’t really thought of it that way before, children in residential training don’t do associates.

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If your child is already training in the week then let them leave. They wont learn if they are unhappy. There are so many routes to being a successful dancer x

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2 hours ago, Anna C said:

 

That’s such a shame, Motomum.  Did you chat with him to see exactly what makes him feel so miserable?

@Anna CI do know what the problem is, but it’s not resolvable as he can’t change classes. I have tried to tentatively tackle the issue but nothing changed.

 

I think as adults we understand better how to navigate the unpredictability and nuances of each other’s personalities and idiosyncrasies. Children take time and need support to mature and develop into this very complex world, this class does not lend itself well to this. 

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Some students simply don't get on with some teachers.  It's not that the teacher is wrong or that the child is wrong - sometimes they simply don't gel, and continuing down that route can be unhealthy.  

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1 hour ago, Motomum said:

I didn’t really think about it, as vocational training started last September and child already doing Associates.

I hadn’t really thought of it that way before, children in residential training don’t do associates.


it’s unusual for vocational schools to allow associates whether residential or not. It certainly wasn’t allowed at my child’s school. 

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1 hour ago, Jewel said:


it’s unusual for vocational schools to allow associates whether residential or not. It certainly wasn’t allowed at my child’s school. 

If you trust the vocational school, it shouldn’t be necessary. Rest days are carefully scheduled to allow the body (and mind) to recover and overtraining causes injury and/ or burnout. DD’s school doesn’t allow associates and discourages other training outside school (such as workshops etc) unless very occasional for this reason.


My understanding is that associates are designed to help bridge the gap between recreational classes and vocational training to enable delayed entry into full-time training.

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Dd/Ds attended associate classes prior to entering vocational school then stopped. Some continued them secretly. Mainly to keep in contact with a preferred school I think.

After dancing for 5 and a half days a week, time off is necessary as previously mentioned, for recovery and injury prevention. It can be a bit of an overload too. 
If the dc is not enjoying the classes then stop. Dd and Ds have both experienced classes that made them unhappy. Its heartbreaking to watch the love and passion sucked out of them. Also, it’s harder to address that in a vocational setting and you just grin and bare it sadly 😢 It easier to raise concerns with associate classes I feel. 
 

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16 hours ago, Motomum said:

He had a class today and he was really miserable afterwards, miserable to a point where he was just flat and withdrawn. 😕

If there's ever a sign that a child's had enough, it's this. Withdraw him from class.

 

It might not be dance that's the issue but something as simple as wanting a weekend to watch some rubbish TV and just be a kid and go out and kick a ball with his mates.

 

It doesn't sound like continuing until half term is an option. Sorry to be so forceful about this; I see your dilemma and understand how you're feeling but if there is one thing that I have learnt from being a parent, is that they remember all the times they were miserable and won't let you forget for years to come

 

Big hugs to you both x

 

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Posted (edited)

As has been discussed quite a lot on here recently, it can be really hard to step away from an opportunity for all kinds of reasons, including fear that it will count against your child in the future or that you are shutting a door that will  never reopen,  guilt that you are turning down something that many would give their eye teeth for, and sadness at ending a relationship with people or an institution that's been important to you. Those are all normal feelings and totally understandable. It can need real strength to walk away from a scheme - especially a very prestigious one. But the message that the dance journey needs to be enjoyable in its own right is something that can't be stressed too much.

It sounds like your child is expressing his feelings about MAs quite clearly and is in alternative training that he enjoys. Not every scheme is right for every dancer. It isn't necessarily a reflection on either the student's or teacher's abilities, just that they don't gel. If that happens it really is best to say goodbye and move on.

Edited by Pups_mum
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3 hours ago, glowlight said:

Some students simply don't get on with some teachers.  It's not that the teacher is wrong or that the child is wrong - sometimes they simply don't gel, and continuing down that route can be unhealthy.  

 

I agree, glowlight.  @Motomum it sounds like the decision has been made.  If your DC wasn’t already in vocational training it would perhaps be a bigger deal to step back from such a prestigious scheme, but as SissonneDoublee says, Associates post-11 are really designed to complement good quality local training, with a view to training full-time in future.  

 

As (hopefully) your DC is already getting quality vocational training, there’s not a huge need to be doing MAs as well.  The journey is just as important as the destination - especially given the scarcity of ballet contracts these days - and if this part of the journey is causing misery, what’s the point in continuing with it? 

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Interesting reading this thread, I would not hesitate to remove my child from an unhealthy situation straight away.  It is not required as your DS is already getting full time training that they love. 
 

I removed my DS from an associate scheme immediately he told me he wasn’t happy.  He’d just spent a lovely time in the company’s nutcracker season but when we started back in the following term, I picked him up from school to take him to training.  We were half way there and he told me he did not want to go - I told him that if I withdrew him there was no going back and as long as I could inform the school straight away we could go straight home - we got to the next motorway junction and I double checked and he was adamant he wanted to stop it.  That was that.  He never regretted the decision and carried on into vocational training at 14.  It just was not right for him.  Mental health THE most important thing. 

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I have sent the email for him to stop.

I think because Associates happened before the vocational started I didn’t think clearly that he was then doing plenty of dancing.
He is very happy in his current school and training, loves it very much, it’s tough and demanding, plus driving makes it a long week.

 

Thankyou everyone for your input, it just cleared a path in my tired brain.

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Well done. Please have a glass of wine or a bottle and just don't think about it again. You've done grand x

 

Maybe you can do something really nice with him next weekend, like film and popcorn and mummy cuddles x

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4 hours ago, Jewel said:


it’s unusual for vocational schools to allow associates whether residential or not. It certainly wasn’t allowed at my child’s school. 

At least 50% of the older vocational students are in a certain Associates it is the only one allowed by the school.

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Posted (edited)

Frankly I wish full time vocational schools would all catagorically ban their students from attending any regular classes (eg. a weekly/fortnightly/monthly held class....allow occasional holiday course as these do offer good opportunities to broaden horizons & friendships etc)that’s deemed an ‘Associate’scheme. Why would they want their students associated with a different school to their own? By allowing Associate attendance elsewhere doesn’t it kind of send out wrong messages? That they agree their students need more trining than they provide,that they are not covering all the training needed in the genre, that the other school is ‘better’, that students should ‘hedge their bets’  , that some pupils are worthy of having more training than others, that ever training is good, that having a rest day is not necessary or indeed is bad....etc etc etc.... it creates an uneven playing field too & that’s not fair. It also can further promote the imho already unhealthy hierarchy between schools & courses & kids & is parents. I speak from experience of eventually getting sucked into the whole ‘more is better’ & after years of not getting into a certain scheme that once offered a place you just ‘do not turn the hallowed one down’, worrying if one did it could prevent being selected there for any other courses ever again. etc etc etc & permission was granted by voc school.

It was a huge mistake. Pretty sure lockdown did not assist as only one in person Class was attended but it was clear it was ‘more about me’ being part of the scheme than it was about being good for my DC. Hindsight? I’d have said thank you but no thank you (as originally trying for it was only ever intended as the Plan B.... to add onto local classes if unsuccessful at gaining a place in full time vocational training) 

Its also wrong for these institutions to promote these Assiciates schemes as such but to then allow them to filled by those students already lucky enough/talented/trained enough to gain full time (and often with government funding through MDS/DaDa schemes) vocational training places. I truly hope the place my DC very happily handed back has indeed gone to that dancer who didn’t get a funded vocational place but is still perusing & lovinv their journey in ballet & that this will enhance their training & joy!

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On 03/05/2021 at 14:20, SissonneDoublee said:

<snip>


My understanding is that associates are designed to help bridge the gap between recreational classes and vocational training to enable delayed entry into full-time training.

 
I had  heard that description for Mid Associates in particular  especially as there are  some places at Y8 and Y9 that come up and also Y10 has been historically seen as one of the stepping on / off points  

and although it seems less common now there are still some people  who get into the 'big name' upper schools  without Lower school/ CAT  experience  

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Several of my students have become bored and fed up with RBS JA/MA classes. And lockdown zoom classes certainly haven't enhanced the experience. Although the kudos of gaining a place on one of these courses is wonderful and in a few cases aids entrance into vocational schools, in general the classes are long, boring and very simple. Many JA students are at least Grade 4 level on the outside and are then treated as, and given work akin to Primary level students. I tell my students that associate classes are wonderful building blocks, giving them the opportunity to work slowly on their strength, flexibility and technique. However these children are very young and find it hard to see past the slog to the bigger picture. In the past associate teachers were all part of the RB family, ex dancers, RB trained teachers, ex RB students turned teachers. However if you look at the teachers now employed by the associate courses very few have been trained by the RB and many have no more qualifications than local ballet school teachers. My own child left half way through the first year of MA's, the classes were boring and uninspiring. The decision was never regretted.

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