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School just doesn't understand!


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Sorry this is a bit of a rant..

Currently I'm trying to juggle 5 a levels with ballet, jazz and a part time job. Obviously for me dance is my priority but school just don't understand. The argument I had with head of sixth form this week has been bubbling for a while! Wednesday I went into biology late as I had been to a funeral and the teacher immediately jumped down my throat asking me where my homework was. I hadn't done it because Cinderella rehearsals(for which I am Cinderella) ran over so I couldn't get it done. I tried explainig this to her but she was having none of it telling me that I need to get my priorities straight and stop trying to chase a dream I will never get and live in the real world. It was at that point I left the class slamming the door(maybe not the best move). Anyway I went into school Thursday morning and was told I had to go to head of sixth forms office. Well the meeting basically comprised of her telling me I need to stop my 'negative attitude towards school' how I have 'no commitment' and I am 'wasting my life'. Trying to explain to her how much dancing means to me was like talking to a brick wall! According to her I can go to uni do a degree and then dance, yeah right! So I'm fed up and seriously thinking about dropping out of school!

Sorry for posting but I just feel like on here I can talk to like minded people:(

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Oh Anaballerina how upsetting!

 

I have a teenager just a little younger than you & when she feels like this I sympathise and care about how she is feeling.  A few hours or days later when she is calmer, I'll talk about positive things to do to address the situation.

 

Right now I think you need hugs and calm and support.  It is unfair & you do feel hard done to.

 

When you are ready; hopefully I'll have come up with something constructive for you to do or say to school.

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Thank you both, I'm just so annoyed that they could be so flippant about something I love so much! My old head of year(whose room I ranted in virtually all of Thursday) was and still is so understanding and supported everything I did with dancing even coming to my shows and to watch the last company class I did on my work experience with ballet Cymru! Why can't everyone understand????

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Its never an easy situation when you are talking to people who do not understand.  I presume you have support of your parents and I would urge you not to drop out of school.  You say you are doing 5 Alevels - is that year 12 or year 13?  Universities only take grades from 3 A levels so if you are not coping, surely there is room to manoeuvre on the number of A levels you are taking.  I say IF because obviously I do not know how you are doing academically and you might well be achieving the grades they expect you to.  My DD went to vocational school at 16 but had she stayed to do A levels she planned to only do 3 from the start because of the issue of time management.  Just something to think about.

 

In terms of your relationship and the argument you had with the head of 6th form - I think you should take a step back and write to her as I am sure you can put forward a polite and less emotional argument on paper than face to face.  You say you had just come from a funeral and I would take that as a starting point for how you were feeling when confronted as soon as you walked in the classroom.  Set out your objectives for dance and academics clearly with how you intend to achieve your aims - plan A and plan B and try and explain your time management for this, including the fact that dance workload does vary.  This person might never understand how you feel about your dance and might never actively support you but at least they will be able to see that you have thought about what you want to do and know what you have to do to achieve it and that might make things a little easier.  I wish you luck.  This is not an easy situation.

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Its never an easy situation when you are talking to people who do not understand. I presume you have support of your parents and I would urge you not to drop out of school. You say you are doing 5 Alevels - is that year 12 or year 13? Universities only take grades from 3 A levels so if you are not coping, surely there is room to manoeuvre on the number of A levels you are taking. I say IF because obviously I do not know how you are doing academically and you might well be achieving the grades they expect you to. My DD went to vocational school at 16 but had she stayed to do A levels she planned to only do 3 from the start because of the issue of time management. Just something to think about.

 

In terms of your relationship and the argument you had with the head of 6th form - I think you should take a step back and write to her as I am sure you can put forward a polite and less emotional argument on paper than face to face. You say you had just come from a funeral and I would take that as a starting point for how you were feeling when confronted as soon as you walked in the classroom. Set out your objectives for dance and academics clearly with how you intend to achieve your aims - plan A and plan B and try and explain your time management for this, including the fact that dance workload does vary. This person might never understand how you feel about your dance and might never actively support you but at least they will be able to see that you have thought about what you want to do and know what you have to do to achieve it and that might make things a little easier. I wish you luck. This is not an easy situation.

Thank you:) I have already sort of started writting a letter to her but was struggling with how to start off so thank you so much for your suggestion. My mum is fumming with how they spoke to me and the comments they made so has made an appointment for a meeting with the deputy head as he is a very understanding member of the senior teaching team:) I'm doing 5 the fifth being welsh baccalaureate(which is compulsory in Wales). I'm usually good with keeping up with my work as I am academic and passed all of my gcse's with high grades. It's just these two months while the show is on I struggle to fit in stupid unnecessary homework that they give us. All my other teachers have been massively understanding with it and have just given out whe class essential homework as we are all stressing a bit. It's just the biology teacher????
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I`m so sorry to hear of your troubles,anaballerina. I think a large part of it may be to do with ignorance of the world of dance on behalf of your teacher. If you explained to her that being a professional dancer is similar to being a professional soccer player or an athlete in that it is something you HAVE to do when you are young,and once you are ,say,40 ,your career is over. Explain that although you are very committed to your academic work ,and that you take her and indeed all your subjects seriously, explain to her that you can persue A Levels and a university degree at any time in your life; it is not something you have to be young to do,unlike dancing. She clearly doesn`t have a dancing child herself,but you would think an educated person would have some sort of understanding of the commitments involved. Good luck to you.

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I`m so sorry to hear of your troubles,anaballerina. I think a large part of it may be to do with ignorance of the world of dance on behalf of your teacher. If you explained to her that being a professional dancer is similar to being a professional soccer player or an athlete in that it is something you HAVE to do when you are young,and once you are ,say,40 ,your career is over. Explain that although you are very committed to your academic work ,and that you take her and indeed all your subjects seriously, explain to her that you can persue A Levels and a university degree at any time in your life; it is not something you have to be young to do,unlike dancing. She clearly doesn`t have a dancing child herself,but you would think an educated person would have some sort of understanding of the commitments involved. Good luck to you.

Thank you so much! Both the biology teacher and head of sixth form just don't seem to understand however much I say. I'm hoping to be allowed to talk when I have a meeting next week as I never seem to be able to get to the end of my sentence without them cutting me off. Thank you all for listening and being of so much support☺️
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The only other piece of advice would be to just grit your teeth and realise once your A levels are over,how ever many you take,you`ll never have to tolerate these unsupportive people again.!

I'm already counting down the months until I can leave! 16 months to go haha xx
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Just make sure you pay them a visit when you get your first professional contract, to tell them all about it.!

I definitely will and then we'll see who are the people from my year 'wasting their life prancing around in a tutu'!
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If you are studying the higher grades or vocational grades it would be worth reminding the school that these levels attract UCAS points and are highly regarded when applying to any Uni as they show versatility, dedication, time management, multi tasking ..... And the lst goes on. Hope all goes well next week, it will certainly help with mom in your sued as well.

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If you are studying the higher grades or vocational grades it would be worth reminding the school that these levels attract UCAS points and are highly regarded when applying to any Uni as they show versatility, dedication, time management, multi tasking ..... And the lst goes on. Hope all goes well next week, it will certainly help with mom in your sued as well.

I have already accumulated nearly 120 ucas points through ballet, modern, flute and piano exams but the school seem to just brush this off! But I know an that's all that matters. Just going to stick t out until the end and show them that I can do it whether they think I can or not!
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Ive been fuming on your behalf so I can well imagine how your mum feels! I agree with the advice youve already been given especially about the letter. Its important you feel that youve done everything you can to get your view point accross. If there is still no improvement well at least you know you tried. And one big positive is that its obviously confirmed to you your passion for dance and has probably made you more determined to succeed!

 

 

And couldnt you drop biology? Or threaten to...

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Ive been fuming on your behalf so I can well imagine how your mum feels! I agree with the advice youve already been given especially about the letter. Its important you feel that youve done everything you can to get your view point accross. If there is still no improvement well at least you know you tried. And one big positive is that its obviously confirmed to you your passion for dance and has probably made you more determined to succeed!

 

 

And couldnt you drop biology? Or threaten to...

I have threatened to but I need it if dancing doesn't work out as I want to do psychology at Cambridge:/ but I've decided I'm going to move to the other class as I just can't cooperate with a teacher who has feelings like that and could say things like that. Letter has been written and my English teacher said she will check it for me on Monday:)
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That's really tough and not conducive to helping you with either school or dancing. A meeting with a member of your family and school sounds like an excellent idea. Is there anything non essential at school that they would let you convert into a study period?

I've tried getting out of welsh bac(aka the most pointless subject in the world) but they won't let me so I'm just carrying on the best I can. Can't believe this has all kicked off over one past paper question! I have never before been late with any homework, course work or assessment!
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Well, it sounds as though there are some supportive people at the school. If you can get your mother to intervene on your behalf so they realise that you have parental support, that might help. It's so depressing that schools seem to pay much more attention to extracurricular sport than extracurricular arts or sciences.

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I have threatened to but I need it if dancing doesn't work out as I want to do psychology at Cambridge:/ but I've decided I'm going to move to the other class as I just can't cooperate with a teacher who has feelings like that and could say things like that. Letter has been written and my English teacher said she will check it for me on Monday:)

Well it sounds as if you do at least have the support of other staff who obviously recognise your considerable achievements. To have never before been late handing in work etc yet also be able to get to a high standard in both music and Ballet is pretty awesome.

 

I rather think that there might have been heated arguments in the staffroom about you!

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Well it sounds as if you do at least have the support of other staff who obviously recognise your considerable achievements. To have never before been late handing in work etc yet also be able to get to a high standard in both music and Ballet is pretty awesome.

I rather think that there might have been heated arguments in the staffroom about you!

I can guarantee it! Staff get very hot headed in our school haha!
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I bet the teacher wouldn't dared to have said to a member of the school football team that they were wasting their life chasing a ball up and down a field!!!

 

Maybe she didn't realise that you had been to a funeral so should really apologise to you for her outburst especially if in front of the class and is obviously not a ballet lover......well not everybody is.......can't blame her for that.....but she does appear to have been rather rude......especially as you seem to be a pretty good pupil so far and if she was genuinely concerned that you were "dropping off" a bit .....though it doesn't really sound like it ......then she could have been more tactful and even concerned.

 

I do admire you for being able to do so much though. Perhaps when you do your performances you should leave a couple of tickets for this teacher in the staff room!!!

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I think it may be biology teachers. DD had the same attitude when she was taking A levels.  Her History teachers were far more sympathetic.  I have since been informed that biology is a very difficult subject at A level and I think this is why the teachers are so full on, but that is no excuse. Hope you get it all sorted and hugs sent.  

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Honestly, when you have a motivated student who's doing well academically as well as playing a musical instrument and dancing to a high level, and holding down a part-time job, and not falling apart under the stress of it all, the teachers ought to be bloody impressed, not complaining about things. They ought to be focussing their ire on the lazy students who don't have the excuse of serious extracurricular activities, not on the ones who are self-motivated and achieving.

 

I wonder if this biology teacher had some sort of dream as a youngster that didn't pan out. Those people very often seem to want to spoil it for others rather than encourage them to succeed where they themselves failed.

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Can I suggest being pro-active may help?  

 

The school at which I work (not as a teacher) has very high achieving dancers, show jumpers, olympic rowers and musicians, all of whom have been supported - the showjumper is juggling sponsorship commitments with the 5 A levels etc!   Taking her as an example, as soon as she has qualified for any national/international shows she works with the teachers to make sure she is ahead of her work, and checks for any upcoming coursework deadlines.  Were the school made formally aware that you had a major performance coming up, and would appreciate their support in combining this with the schoolwork?

 

Yes they should support you, but perhaps you and your parents could make it easier for them to support you by planning for upcoming performances (I know you can't help funerals) rather than dealing with problems when deadlines have been missed.

 

However hard it is, let them say their piece before you react - are you listening to them as well as carefully as you are expecting them to listen to you?  Are you offering them the courtesy that you expect from them?  

 

In any walk of life, and perhaps especially as  professional dancer, you will not necessarily have the chance to change to a teacher you like, and slamming doors will never get you very far in the long run.  Maybe the trick is to learn to recognise you have no personal relationship with a teacher but that changing course or teacher may not be in your interest in the longer term.

 

Just a different point of view

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Please don't lump biology teachers all in together! As I teach in school including sixth form I can understand why the teacher may have been frustrated but if you're normally good with homework then they shouldn't have been quite so quick to judge. If this was one in a long line of missing lessons or homeworks etc due to dance or music then that would be different but it doesn't sound like that.

 

I'm no way condoning the attitude but teachers in school have a HUGE amount of pressure on them based on the performance of their students, to the point where salaries and in some cases, redundancies, are based on results. Sadly it sounds like your biology teacher took some other stuff out on you and it was not a good time for either of you.

 

There's a few ideas on how to move forwards 1) While I realise that dancing is a very important part of your life, I think that for the sake of a bit of peace at school it may be easier to 'downplay' it and not even mention it. Make it at least appear that your a-levels are your main priority and if it all gets too much, offload onto people you can trust.

 

2) invite your teachers and head of sixth form to watch you perform in this show. Only the other day my colleagues in the science dept were discussing going to see one of our sixth formers do something (I think it might have been boxing so a bit different!)

 

3) talk to your old head of year and see if they can approach the head of sixth form about it.

 

4) try to stay calm and avoid getting wound up. Agree with the people at school, smile and nod. After all,you've made the commitment to study A-levels so if you're then going to spend the whole time talking about dancing it doesn't look like you're all that commited ( and I'm sure this isn't the case).

 

I would definitely recommend apologizing to your biology teacher for your behaviour, and explain that while it's not an excuse, you had been at a funeral and were feeling emotional. Offer to catch up on work missed, and then some.

 

Another point is to ask (or maybe for your mum to ask) if they are concerned about your performance at school. We often see high achieving pupils who do well in gcses start to struggle at A-level as there is a huge jump. This is often picked up by teachers before students are aware there may be an issue and it could be that they are a bit worried about how much you are doing and if you're going to be ready for the exams (as they are definitely creeping up fast) but have not yet communicated that to you or your mum properly.

 

Sorry to write so much but I thought you should hear from a biology teacher!!! ????????

 

Feel free to PM me if you want

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