Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ok, this is just weird

I was going through some mail I received late last week but hadn't had a chance to read, and found a card from my ballet instructor. By card I mean a greeting card, with a hand-written message inside saying how happy she is to have me in her class. She also says she's looking forward to making the class better with my help.

This last is probably a reference to a suggestion I made after the last class. The instructor is eager and knows her ballet, but seems new to teaching. We do only a couple of repetitions of a step before moving on to the next, and often I'm barely getting the feel for one step before we're off to the next. I told her that my preference would be to spend more time practicing fewer steps so I'd have a chance to get them right before moving on, rather than cramming a bunch of steps into the class and never really figuring out how any of them are done. Of course, I'm but one of (usually) five students, and I told her I didn't know how the others would feel.

I'm tickled that she'd take the time to send me a card, and write such encouraging words. But somehow I find it a little awkward too. I don't feel like I'm doing the "fabulous job" she says I am; I do ok at the barre, but once we move to the center I feel like an off-balance clod. I guess I don't take compliments well.


  1. I'm a new ballet teacher myself. Just started teaching a super-beginner class in February. And I'll be the first to tell you my students are my pride and joy. Are they good? Er, well, we've got a long way to go. But they keep showing up, working their tails off, and little by little, week by week they improve. As a teacher that makes me incredibly happy and in my mind qualifies them as doing a "fabulous job."

  2. Welcome to my blog, Rori. Thanks for the alternate perspective.

    I'm an engineer by profession, and I'm very honest in my self-criticism. I recognize just how much trouble I'm still having with basic things, especially things I remember being able to do before. Over-praising risks making me question the instructor's judgment.

    This may sound paradoxical, but what gives me warm-and-fuzzies is when she feels comfortable correcting my mistakes, and the more detail-oriented the correction, the better I feel. Why? Because it means she's refining something that's on the right track, rather than just trying to get into the ballpark. I find that reassuring.


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