Teacher/Student Dos and Don'ts (Recovered Article)

I wrote this article to support both instructors and students, to help them get the most from each other and serve each other to the best of their abilities.

Be grateful when students tell you that you’ve inspired them, but remember that inspiration is your job. Stay humble and grounded. Always be learning.
Be kind but honest. You'll serve students properly if you remember not to prize being liked over getting your students to do their best. Not telling people when what they’re doing doesn’t work is like stealing their time and money. They may take your advice or leave it, but at least you did what you were hired to do.
Make sure your class conforms to the description that prompted the students to register for the class, and let them know if anything changes. You can't change it after they pay, as their payment was based on their expectations at the time.
Describe your qualifications and accreditation honestly. It will help you find the right students.
It's okay if you can’t do a particular move or style, as long as you can teach others to do it. To many burlesquers this sounds odd, but many who've been in a yoga or ballet class where the teacher doesn't do the moves but coaches people through them will understand. There are tassel twirling moves that don't work on my body very well, but when I show them to a roomful of people with various body types, they wrk for soem of them.
Remember that your pet peeves are universal standards. While advocating for what you believe in, do tell them that your approach is one of many. Encourage them to research. Offer them positive examples to emulate rather than negative examples to avoid.
Don’t allow photographers in the class without students’ permission, or make students who don’t want to have photos taken have a different experience of the class than those who do. Don't tell them at the last minute. If it wasn't mentioned when they signed up, they didn't agree to it. Last-minute requests to do this are often unfair.
Get permission to teach other teachers’ material, and attribute it to them when you do. A syllabus is actually copyrightable, as is choreography. It's just good form to attribute your inspirations, and it will also impress them with the knowledge that burlesque has a history.
Be forgiving when they take awhile to understand. You used to not get it, either.

If you know more than the instructor, save it. I have never seen anyone who tries to teach the class do well in burlesque.
You don’t need to point out every exception to the rule, especially in a class on fundamentals. However, a good instructor will often ask students about their experiences when class time permits.
Be on time, or if late, be quiet when entering, and don’t ask to be caught up on other students’ time. You can't be briefed on a class you missed during another class -- you should offer to pay the teacher to instruct you individually. 
Asking to "pick someone's brain" is actually asking them to coach and teach, and you should be willing to pay for that.
The payment policy was there when you paid, and it’s there to protect the livelihood of the instructors. Most folks will make an exception for dire circumstance, but it’s not your school’s fault if you missed the bus. They are a small business with limited resources and it's not acceptable to take advantage of them by, say, threatening a bad review if they don't refund you when you're not entitled to a refund. That's extortion.
Check the website before asking questions. Everybody in the world gets too much email already. 
Tell the instructor if you have a problem. Consider doing this before complaining to the other students.
Read the class description carefully and don’t be surprised the class conforms to the description. Let the instructor know if the class description led you to expect something different -- it's very helpful to them and to future students.
If you already knew what the teacher told you, learn from watching the other students in the class learn it.
Give feedback when asked, and offer it when it may be appropriate. Not only is it valuable for the instructors, but it benefits the students who come after you and the burlesque community as a whole.
Don’t teach other teachers’ material without permission and attribution. A syllabus is actually copyrightable, as is choreography. Yes, I’m saying this to both instructors and students.
Be forgiving. Teachers, like performers, occasionally have off days.

WEB - nysb copyHere’s the New York School of Burlesque’s mission statement: “The New York School of Burlesque has worked with BurlyconConey Island USATease-O-Rama, and The Burlesque Hall of Fame. These associations inform our aesthetic, our educational approach, and our values.
The essential mission of NYSB is to provide both unique and fundamental classes taught by experienced performers. We strive to promote diversity in performance styles and so present instructors with different interpretations of burlesque. We want to promote instructors who teach both locally and worldwide. We want to provide classes for a variety of student interests: for fun, for fitness, or for preparing to perform. We believe in glamour that is bursting with intelligence. We believe that studying the history of burlesque is an essential component in creating burlesque with depth and character. We believe in the originality that can come from both experience and inexperience. We respect those performers who came before us, those with whom we now work, and those who will come after us. We respect performers who see things our way and performers with different goals and approaches. We believe in asking challenging questions of ourselves and others. We believe in being open to approaches and history beyond our own easily accessible realm. We believe in self-expression and audience appreciation. We believe in the excellence that develops from study and repetition as well as the excitement that comes from experimentation without guarantee of success. We believed in both seasoned and emerging performers. We believe in entertainment for its own sake, as well as for its ability to change the world.”
As I’m clearly invested in this, I look forward to getting more insight from comments on this article! This is part of a bigger project in which I’m hoping to learn what benefits performers and producers feel burlesque classes provide, as well as what responsibilities members of the burlesque community would like burlesque instructors to assume. If you have suggestions, you can email me at headmistress@schoolofburlesque.com.

Reposted from Pincurl magazine 2013, recovered at https://web.archive.org/web/20130731052336/http://pincurlmag.com/tag/jo-weldon
Other articles by or relating to "Jo Weldon" at
Do you have anything you'd like to add? Is anything about this problematic? Is anything about it helpful? Feel free to comment or to let me know at headmistress@schoolofburlesque.com

I'm recovering some of my old articles and editing them slightly for resposting. Link to the wayback version of the original is at the end of the article. This was originally on Pincurlmag.com in 2013. This is from a burlesque etiquette series I did for Pincurl Magazine in 2011-2014 to follow up on the etiquette chapter in The Burlesque Handbook. Let me know if you would like to see an article on another topic!

I run the New York School of Burlesque, and I get input all the time from the instructors who work with me, as well as from other headmistresses like Indigo Blue and Ophelia Flame. I also get some input from students, though not as much as I would like. Certain issues come up repeatedly, and I think you’ll see a trend when you see them all in one place!

If you find this article useful, please consider buying me a cup of coffee! I've been publishing hundreds of thousands of words of advice for free for over a decade, and I appreciate the recognition of the work that goes into it.


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