"Dance Moms" for months now, and finally caught an episode last night. For those who haven't heard, Abby Lee Miller is a dance teacher and her drama-filled studio* is the subject of the Lifetime network series "Dance Moms". As a teacher, I loathe the teaching methods Abby uses with her students; in the episode I saw last night she taught mainly by screaming directions and berating/belittling her students. She doesn't have any better behavior reserved for the moms who pay tuition for their daughters to learn from her; she treats them just as poorly as the girls. (Not that the behavior of the moms is exemplary...)
As much as teachers are given a bad image in the media and beyond, I can't help but wonder how Ms. Miller would be received as a public school teacher. Personally, I have to think that the same parents who tolerate such atrocious teaching methods while paying dance school tuition (not to mention the expense of the competitions!) would probably be the same parents who would be demanding such a teacher be removed immediately from their child's school classroom. With all of the awareness on bullying, can you not spot that the bully is the teacher in this dance school?
Dance education is important to me; my five-year-old is in her second year of dance, and her three-year-old sister can't wait to begin dancing school. However, my daughter attends a school where students are gently and kindly guided in their instruction, and if they were ever placed in a class with a teacher such as Abby, we IMMEDIATELY would find a new dance school. Why do you think that Abby Lee's behavior is acceptable in the world of dance education? How long would she last as a public school teacher? (I'm thinking in terms of days, if not hours...in these days of cyber-baiting, she could be on youtube by 10:00am and suspended by lunch!)
* I do realize that most of the "drama" is probably generated for the benefit of the TV production. Still, I don't imagine that Abby's teaching style is very different when the cameras aren't rolling.