Asking to be paid

Discussion in 'Tae-Kwon-Do' started by Oneoddducky, Nov 8, 2019.

  1. Oneoddducky

    Oneoddducky White Belt

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    If this doesn't belong in the TKD thread feel free to move it. I just posted here because I take TKD and thought I'd ask the TKD community here.

    I am a first degree black belt in a traditional WT TKD program in the US. I have a question -

    Is it super unusual for a first degree assistant instructor to be paid for teaching classes? I have taught off and on free of charge for while now, but recently asked to be paid. My main rationale in asking was twofold: 1) my instructor had been asking me to run classes for weeks at a time and 2) I was the only black belt out of the five in our program who was trusted to lead classes. This led to some amount of resentment on my end as I could not take days off even when I needed to. My instructor was initially angry with me for asking but eventually agreed to pay me. He claims it is not normal for a first degree to be paid as teaching at first degree is a learning activity. However, I talked to a few friends of mine who train at other schools, and they say this is a line that often is used in traditional TKD and other traditional martial arts to get free labor.

    I knew there was a wide range of ranks and thus likely a wide range of opinions and figured I'd throw this out there and see what people said. Was I right to ask to be paid? If I was wrong, how should i have set boundaries so that I did not grow resentful?
     
  2. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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  3. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Definitely read that other thread. One thing to point out though, is "I could not take days off". I don't have to worry about taking days off for a recreational activity. I don't have to worry about taking days off for training martial arts, even as a "learning activity". I do have to worry about it for my job, where I am paid to be there, and signed a contract when I was hired saying as much.
     
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  4. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    A-yup. There is a good chance that you are being taken advantage of.
     
  5. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    no not at all wrong, thee bounders you should have set, were saying no in the first place, not to infrequent teaching, that may be a learning activity, but to taking over for weeks at a time, that taking p155
     
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  6. Oneoddducky

    Oneoddducky White Belt

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    Thanks for your feedback. My main question was whether or not it's "unusual" for first degree black belts to be paid for their time as my instructor has claimed. I guess this was something he had to do as a first degree (he claims his instructor left him for months at a time) and that it is just part of the process. He broke the "tradition" to pay me from his perspective. Is this normal for a traditional TKD program?
     
  7. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    its normal in so much as quite a lot of clubs seem to do something like this, i have no way of knowing what % of the whole it is.

    but as a general rule of thumb, if your will to work for nothing, there's millions of people who are quite happy to let you and if it were ''normal'' you would still be getting exploited along with all the others
     
  8. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    I can’t speak for the TKD community, but I think rank is irrelevant. The issue is, have you simply become a source of free labor? Do you still pay class tuition, while also teaching? Do you still get quality instruction and training as well, or are you doing nothing but teaching? Are you expected to be there to teach all the time?

    If this is your situation, then something is definitely amiss, regardless of what your teacher’s teacher made him do. Two wrongs don’t make a right, rank be damned. Free labor is free labor, no matter how you dress it up, and he could be in violation of labor laws.

    I get that some amount of teaching can be part of the process of growth as a student. But you should still be getting quality instruction and training as well and you should be getting coaching on the teaching you are doing in order for it to qualify as a legitimate learning experience for you. You definitely should not be paying tuition while you teach, and there should be an end to it, it should be a limited experience as a learning component to your training. You should not simply become the “teacher without pay” who works endlessly for the school.
     
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  9. WaterGal

    WaterGal Master of Arts

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    This is one of those "it depends" things.

    Assuming that your instructor is running a school that's a commercial business, and you're teaching a bunch of classes for him, then yes, you should be compensated in some way (whether that's free tuition, or an actual paycheck). Your rank is kind of irrelevant IMO - people are paying him to take the classes that you're teaching, so you're doing labor and generating profit for him. You should be getting some part of that.

    Now, if this is a non-profit TKD club at the rec center, or you're just helping out a few classes a month while he supervises and gives you instruction in teaching, or something, then that's different. But it doesn't sound like your situation is this.

    I will say... it is common for martial arts teachers to just kind of expect their paying black belt students to teach a bunch of classes for them at their commercial school for free. Often while not actually providing them with any kind of real instructor training program. That's both 1) unethical IMO, and 2) self-sabatoging. But it's not uncommon unfortunately.
     
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  10. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

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    People can have their opinions on it. But personally I'd never want to be paid money for it. Firstly I have a job I make money I don't need it. Second I don't want to start mixing financial bs into my martial art time. I ask to be paid then it goes into payment rates then there's if your on holiday do you get paid or If you don't turn up then what. I don't need that crap. Martial arts for me is about getting away from everyday life and from work and money problems, I don't my martial arts to start getting involved in work and money and tbh I'd never ask because any club I've trained at simply can barely afford the rent for the location so I'm not going to be a jerk and ask for money when my instructor is paying out his own pocket to rent a space.

    But yeah you should get some reward. Whether it's free training or free gear If you need it or just free private sessions.
     
  11. JowGaWolf

    JowGaWolf Grandmaster

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    This sounds very similar to how it was for me. I received free lessons because of financial hardships, so what I couldn't contribute in money I contributed in other ways to keep the school open. I had some non martial arts skills that was very beneficial to the school, Then when one of the instructors left, I sort of just filled the gap.trying to contribute where I could. It was more important to me to have the school open and to be able to train than it was for me to get paid for teaching. Kung fu was and is a big health benefit for me and it was the only time I could really forget about the world for about 1 or 2 hours. It was really important to me to be able to just be in that moment and only live for the present

    There should be some form of appreciation especially if the Sensai is counting on the OP to help run the business like that by asking to run classes weeks at a time. I was a little different. I wouldn't go home lol.
     
  12. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    amazingly i agree, well with the point that money changes the relationship to one of a business rather than a friendship and can then lead to further discontent that the money paid isn't sufficient.

    but there's the point of recognition and reciprocation for your efforts, if thats missing then its fairly sure your being taken advantage of. i do a great deal for people i know, even people i know casualty, if their car is broke i'll go and fix it for them, even if its just some bloke who lives down the street i walked past with a broken car, But Il expect them to make a point out of thanking me and to reciprocated to help me in the future with what ever skills they possess. if im knocking on their door at 6 in the morning coz my taxi hasn't arrived and i'm in danger of missing my train. then i expect them to get up and take me with out complaint or next time their cars stays broken.

    I have a 40 year year reciprocation agreement with some random bloke who knocked on my door in 1980, to ask if i could fix his mothers cooker at 2 in the morning as she had to finish a cake for the morning, i did and since then we have been helping each other out many times a year, if i'm stranded 300 miles away in a train strike , he will come and get me, if his sons blocked his toilet i unblock it etal, saved us both thousands over the decades

    in the situation under discussion its seems recognition and recripcation are missing from the arrangement, if the guy is running an unprofitable school as a hobby its a bit rich to expect someone else to run it for weeks at a time for not even thanks, because you think they owe you loyalty for taking money off you to teach them ma
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019
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  13. Oneoddducky

    Oneoddducky White Belt

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    This is EXACTLY what the issue was. I felt I was being taken for granted. Our program is actually quite successful and I rarely felt the arrangement was mutually reciprocated. That was why I asked to be paid. I am not making a lot of money and that honestly doesn't matter to me. You don't go into martial arts to get rich. The issue was one of principle, not needing compensation for my time. I needed to know I was appreciated, and I rarely even got a thank you.
     
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  14. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

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    well being paid isn't necessarily the answer, your still not being appreciated or he wouldn't have argued the point, it rather depends how you value your time, mines precious to me and i wouldn't trade my sitting around listening to music or spending time with my family or friends for a token amount of money paid with bad grace, its marginally better than doing it for nothing, but only marginally
     
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