Can’t get students to wear proper dance wear!?

I know i have already asked this question and i recieved some great answers… but.. i have added more.I currently teach Acro, Jazz, and dance theatre. Some of the students I have been teaching always wear bodysuits. They always come to class prepared…Ex. hair in ponytail etc. and others, not so much. I love…

OK- since there is only 2 months left, there’s probably not a lot of point enforcing rules right now but it is a good time to let the parents and students know that you plan to establish some new ones.

Since you’re not the studio owner, you’re going to have to discuss it with the owner to get a blanket rule regarding dress code- if they aren’t enforcing the correct dance wear rule in other classes it’s going to be a real pain to try to get them to wear it in yours- and I know how difficult it is to teach acro (particularly when you are just starting out) when the kids aren’t doing the right thing.

There needs to be more than a “talk” and a form about what is expected- the studio owner needs to put the rules regarding the dress code IN WRITING and get the parents to SIGN off on it- I really liked the suggestion made before about an “agreement”. When you tell people something, it goes in one ear and out the other often enough- and if you put it in a note, then sometimes it doesn’t even make it to the parent or the parent might not even read it. If you make it so the parent HAS to sign it, then they will definitely read it to make sure they aren’t “signing their soul away” sort of thing. It doesn’t matter if this is a studio “for fun”, you’re not trying to take the fun away you just want them to be SAFE, so you really need to emphasize the safety issue to the parents- even if you have to do so in graphic detail! parents WANT their kids to be safe- you just have to show them that that is what you want as well.

I don’t want to cause any controversy here, but when you write a notice or give a talk to parents you have to assume that at least one person in the room is a complete idiot- so make sure your notes and speeches cater to that specific person. (And even then you are going to get some people who will STILL do the wrong thing) It’s worth while sending a warning note home every second month or so about how studio dress code will be enforced if you aren’t getting an effective response. If the student for instance is wearing something that you feel compromises the safety of that student, feel free to call the parents direct and say so right there and then. If you continually call attention to it in a big way, you are not going to have to do it for long- because remember, all you are concerned about is the kids safety- you can’t let them wear something unsafe can you!

Regarding the hair- when I mentioned it before I forgot to mention that use of the studio hair box isn’t free! We charge a small fee for use of the box- we keep a record book and add the fees to their bills. The charge for use of the hair box is itemized on the bill so parents are aware that that is the reason there is an extra charge. At the other studio I worked for there was also a “laundry charge for use of the “spare uniform”. Just a few dollars- less than a cup of coffee, but when it happens a lot it does add up and parents clue up fairly quickly if their child is a serial offender. 🙂

It doesn’t hurt with younger students to have some sort of “reward” for turning up in correct clothing and it gets them in good habits. A “star” chart with inexpensive rewards for so many days in correct clothing could be effective- kids hate to miss out on their “stars” and they will whine to their parents when their dance clothes aren’t out of the washing machine on time!

If you decide with the studio owner that there should be some “punishment” for inappropriate clothing, be it a fine or not being alowed to partcipate in the class that day or whatever- you MUST carry through with it and accept no excuses. If you let just one single person slide and someone else finds out it will be “but you allowed them to do it”. It’s much better to be thought of as a bit strict than unfair.

Hope this is a bit better help than last time- feel free to email me if you need to discuss something with another teacher at anytime.

Ok…I feel like perhaps I answered your question like this before. So I apologize if I’m repeating what I’ve already told you. I have to say though, I battle the same problems week after week. I teach ballet, tap, and jazz and I can’t believe what students will show up in, for ballet! It’s crazy. So I feel your pain. I have some advice though. First, I would talk to the studio director or to who ever is your boss before doing anything. I would ask if this is ok first before telling students and parents!

1) Use the 3 strikes your out rule. This is rather affective in my middle school classes where I have the most problems. Tell your students that they have 3 strikes. If they come to class unprepared (wrong attire, hair not up) then you will write their name down. If they get they’re name written down 3 times, they are not allowed to participate and a phone call goes home to let the parents know that they sat out. Again, make sure this is ok with the studio before doing this. If you make any parents mad, you must have your studio back you up.

2) Do note home. The best way to do this is if your students arent prepared for class, send a note home the following class to all students and make them get it signed by a parent. If it continues to happen, stop making letters too all students and directly write to the parent about that particular student. Explain to the student and parent how important it is and use an example (you wouldn’t wear jeans to soccer practice, you wouldn’t wear a basketball uniform to karate) Explain that this is the uniform just like any other sport or activity.

3) Be consistent! Don’t let your students get away with it, even once. Because once they do, they will walk all over you. If those are the rules, and that is the dress code, then that is that. No excuses. Call the parents, bring them in to the studio and address the problem, call out which students it is. Embarrassment is good. LoL…as long as it’s constructive. Don’t be afraid to say “Hey Hannah, you aren’t in proper dance clothes and I’m going to have to give your mom a call” And don’t be afraid to give special rewards for the students who are prepared. Extra stickers, candy, free dance time. Whatever the reward may be, praise the students who are correct and who are consistantly correct.

My last piece of advice is to not wait. It may seem silly to address these issues now, but it will only get worse next year. Address them now and keep on those kids. They will do anything to get away and push the envelope. Don’t let them. Good luck! Hope I helped a little. If you need anything else or have any other issues don’t hesitate to ask me. I’ve been doing this a long time now and I’ve seen it all. If these are the only problems and issues your having, consider yourself lucky. It could be a lot worse.


Edit* Just thought of something else. Always make sure that you are prepared and in proper attire. Even if you aren’t required to wear what the students wear, the best way to get kids to do what you ask is to lead by example!

When I took dance classes, part of the registration form contained an agreement to comply with the studio’s dress code (which was very strict, black leotard, pink tights, hair pulled neatly away from face). If students were not dressed appropriately (even if that just meant that they had on a different color leotard), they did not get to take class and did not get a refund for the day because it was part of the agreement. The teach had a stash of hair supplies on hand and was a little bit lenient about allowing you to go to the restroom and fix your hair, but no baggy clothes were tolerate. It was always presented as a safety issue and as a sign of respect for your fellow dancers. When I started teaching, I instituted a similar policy. It really is a major safety issue, and the parents should understand that. You just have to decide that you are going to enforce your dress code and stick to it. You will need to do something more substantial than just making an announcement, though.

Here’s some solutions: After making it very clear what the dress code is and explaining why it’s important, if they still aren’t following the dress code make they sit out. Do not teach them, do not let them participate. You’ll have want to warn them that this is what will happen if they don’t dress out at the beginning.

As for the hair, don’t provide them hair ties, if they don’t show up with their hair back then give them rubber bands. I had a teacher that did this and everyone always remembered their hair ties.

As a new teacher the kids are going to push you and try to get away with as many things as they can. You need to be very firm and show them that what you say goes.

I would start now and enforce it at the beginning of the year next year.
Tell the students that they will have to sit out if they do not have the proper clothing/hair.

Tell them that it is most important now to get ready for the recital and they must be properly dressed.

After they sit out or see others sitting out they will see how important it is and make sure they are properly dressed every single day.

Good Luck,
I hope this helped

I’m not a teacher, but I suggest next year that you make sure its very clear that about the proper uniform and tell the parents that the student will not be allowed to participate if they dont have the correct uniform. Instead, they can sit and watch.
Also, make sure that thats ok with the studio owners or your boss, make sure that they understand why you are enforcing that rule and make sure you dont make any exceptions.

Hope this help, and good luck

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My dance studio is fun too, and we had that issue. But the owner finally out her foot down – either you wear the studio shirt and leggings (or ballet attire for ballet and pointe) or you don’t dance. And ever since we don’t have that issue. You have to tell them that it is for their own safety and will make the learning process easier and more enjoyable. You’re the teacher – take control.

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They don’t come to class prepared in a leotard or etc, with hair up, they don’t get lessons that day. they can go home and come back when they are ready to learn to their fullest ability by being prepared.

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