Question about teaching

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Talk' started by bookworm_cn317, Apr 17, 2008.

  1. bookworm_cn317

    bookworm_cn317 2nd Black Belt

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    For those of us that teach a martial art, I have a question(actually, more than one):
    When you started teaching, how nervous were you? What was going through your head your first day teaching?
     
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  2. morph4me

    morph4me Goin' with the flow

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    When I started teaching I had already helped out lower ranking students during class and my teaching was done under the guidance of my instructor, who was there watching and would pull me over to the side and make his comments and/or corrections so I wasn't really nervous at all.

    It was awhile ago but it was probably something like "What the hell am I going to teach today?"

    My biggest mistake, and probably the biggest mistake of most people when they start teaching, was that I tried to teach everything I knew about a technique, every detail, instead of giving an overview, letting the student approach something that looked like the technique, and then cleaning it up.
     
  3. terryl965

    terryl965 <center><font size="2"><B>Martial Talk Ultimate<BR

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    For me like Morph I started out with beginners and under the instructor watchful eyes. As far as the first day alone it was why am I here trying to teach these people when I myself do not fully understand and what do I do if they ask a question and I have no answers. Now days it is more like having a complete understanding of what I will be doing that day and even that month, it is so much easier when you ahve a game plan.
     
  4. Kacey

    Kacey Sr. Grandmaster

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    Like Morph and Terry, I started out teaching new students, under my sahbum's eye.... How nervous was I? One thought that kept running through my head was "what if I screw up?" followed closely by "what if I scare the new student off?" As I continued, I started teaching junior, but not new, students - then it was more of "what if I teach them wrong?"

    It depends on what you mean by teaching, I suppose... well before we started teaching first-fourth night students (for whom there is a written syllabus), we started leading warm-ups. The first time I was told to lead warm-ups (months after I started, and when I knew full well what was expected) I blanked out, came up with about 5 minutes worth and needed 20 minutes. The other students (having been there themselves) kindly made suggestions of things I could do, and I got through it - and that was, really, the point: to understand that I could get through it, and that even if I screwed up, it wasn't the end of the world. But even know, having been in an instructor for over 15 years, I still worry about screwing up - and every time my students test, the testing instructor finds something that most or all of them do wrong, which means I missed something... and then I reteach it correctly and we move on. Knowing that I would make mistakes was one of the hardest things I had to learn - but also one of the most valuable.
     
  5. newGuy12

    newGuy12 Master of Arts

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    Its not atypical for the Master Instructor of a school to have an advanced Student lead the class from time to time, even though they are not an Assistant Instructor.

    The Master Instructor knows very well how things are going. If the Student missteps, they will hear about it!

    In this way, the transistion from Student to Teacher is not a sudden jump, is it? No. There are times when the Master Instructor will say, "You go ahead and start the class." Meanwhile, He is watching, listening. Make no mistake.

    That's exactly how it happened with the Assistant Instructor who teaches at the school I go to.
     
  6. pesilat

    pesilat 3rd Black Belt

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    Like most people here, I started teaching informally - assisting my instructor with classes and, eventually, covering some classes for him if he couldn't make it or was out of town or whatever.

    The first time I taught "on my own," though, was a pretty harrowing experience.

    I was 1000 miles from home for work. I visited a school and attended some of their classes. The head instructor at the school was simply incredible (and I later moved down there and spent a couple years training with him) and his senior students really seemed tight. One of the senior instructors at the school had a lame knee (had surgery on it a week after I left, in fact) and wasn't getting around very well. On Tues night, he asked me if I would cover his Thurs night class for him because he didn't think he'd even be able to walk.

    At the time, I had no formal instructorship ranking in anything. I was a seasoned veteran of the martial arts with about 20 years of training under my belt but I was still a year from testing for my instructorship under my primary instructor. Now this man who I had just met had asked me to teach a class for him.

    First, I called my instructor back home. Since I would be representing him (at least in spirit) abroad I figured I should get his OK. He said, and I will remember this until the day I die, "Blow 'em away." No pressure there, right?

    I had no idea what skill level the instructor I was covering for really was - much less where any of his students were. All I knew for sure was that all the instructors in the school that I'd seen teaching ranged from good to really freakin' good.

    I was nervous as a 80s prom queen near open flame (it's a hair spray joke in case you don't get the reference :) ). But I've always been pretty good at putting nerves aside at crunch time so when I stepped onto the floor I wasn't really all that nervous - the time for nervousness had been the two preceding days. I figured, "I'll do my best and it'll either be good enough or it won't."

    I wound up having one of those days where I could do no wrong. I couldn't have screwed up a technique if I tried. Everything just clicked and flowed smooth as silk across marble tile. The head instructor of the school came and watched part of the class and, afterward, complimented me on my teaching.

    That experience was a big one for me as a teacher. There were other experiences that tied into the epiphany I had but that was one of the big ones. The epiphany can be summed up thusly:
    1. I have (usually) been invited to teach so, apparently, someone figures I have something worth sharing.
    2. I am not teaching the material. I am teaching my perspective on the material. This one is huge! No one in the world - or, for that matter, in the history of the world - has ever had my perspective (on the material I'm teaching or on anything else, for that matter). Consequently, it doesn't matter who's watching. It might be the person who taught me the material or the founder or grandmaster of the system I'm teaching. It doesn't matter one iota because I'm teaching my perspective. I may not have any material to teach them but if they're open minded they can almost certainly learn something from my perspective on the material.
    3. What's the worst that can happen? I guess I could make a fool of myself but - see #1. I'll get up and do the best that I can and not worry about what anyone thinks. I know my stuff - I've spent (literally) more than ten thousand hours working on it. If I don't let my nerves rattle me then all anyone is going to see is that I do know my stuff.
    Now, your "time in" might be less than mine. No shame there. If you've spent hundreds of hours training what you're teaching (which is about the bare minimum for anyone who has attained instructor rank in something) then you probably know more than most of the people in the room. And the people who know more will understand - we've been there, too :D

    Since I had this epiphany (or, really, a series of "oh!" moments that led to a big epiphany), I have had no problem teaching/presenting in front of anyone or any size of crowd - and I've had some doozies. Whether it was teaching in front of the founder/grandmaster of the system I'm teaching or presenting a demo in front of (literally) tens of thousands of spectators in a huge arena in China (it was sheer madness - but in a good sorta way - at least in retrospect :D ) Or even just walking into a teaching situation where I don't know anyone else in the room or their ranks or anything.

    For me, it always goes back to the fact that no one in the world has had or ever will have my particular perspective on the material - and that perspective is what I'm actually sharing with people.

    Mike
     
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  7. YoungMan

    YoungMan 2nd Black Belt

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    Not nervous at all. I began teaching regularly to cover for one of our instructors who couldn't make it regularly because of work and family obligations. I drove 40 miles each way to do it. I just plunged in and taught the way I'd been taught. I was honored to have been asked in the first place and considered it a way of giving back.
     
  8. Grenadier

    Grenadier Administrator Staff Member

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    At all of the schools where I have taught, they use the same method, where a prospective instructor is brought along step-wise. It will start by the prospective inst. giving individual lessons, helping out a full fledged instructor, etc.

    During that time, the prospect also attends instructor meetings and classes.

    If the prospective instructor does this for a while, then he'll be able to step in on a regular basis. He can then teach a class under supervision for a while, and eventually take over teaching a class by himself, no supervision needed.

    This is a very safe way of bringing along your instructors. Still, some of them might be nervous when they have to teach the class by themselves for the first time, under supervision. By the time they're about a quarter of the way through the classes, though, they're doing just fine.
     
  9. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

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    I no longer teach but when I did I really was not that nervous because like others here I had assisted my Sifu on many occasions prior and had filled in for some of his classes when he was unable to get there. My current sifu has me teach now and if he needs someone to fill in he has already asked me if I would be available.

    There is a guy I know that came out of old school martial arts matches (fights). He went through all the assistant instructor stuff as well but when he opened his own school he said he was nervous about it until he had this thought (now if I had a teacher say this to me or I heard he/she say it to anyone that was a student I would leave or suggest leaving) but he had the thought, &#8220;Hey there is likely no one in the room I can&#8217;t take in a fight so I guess it is no big deal.&#8220; He never said it to any of his students though.

    Actually he was and is a good teacher and he has never beat up or fought with any of his students and they all seem very happy with the training they receive form him.
     
  10. still learning

    still learning Senior Master

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    Hello, When one worries about themselves first? ...you will be nervious teaching.....(most people become nervious because they are thing only about themselves FIRST! ...Wrong way to think...

    When you realize teaching is about helping others learn...the nervous is GONE!

    Those students sees a NEW TEACHER? ...they are more nervious than you...NOT knowing what to expect....

    It is your JOB to inform them and make them feel good about themselves..

    Like a upside down "pyramid" ..the teacher is serving the students....than you will always be in the RIGHT MIND OF TEACHING...

    Aloha, Lead by example in all parts of your life...
     
  11. IcemanSK

    IcemanSK El Conquistador nim!

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    I have had similar experiences & feel the same way to this day. But I've also learned that it's one of the best ways to learn something well is to teach it to someone else.
     
  12. bookworm_cn317

    bookworm_cn317 2nd Black Belt

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    Well, I survived my first teaching experience. I taught the newbie the fighting stance, front punch, back punch, and front kick(front leg & back leg).

    And I warmed up & stretched everybody out. <--this happened before Jim gave me the new kid to teach, though.
     
  13. terryl965

    terryl965 <center><font size="2"><B>Martial Talk Ultimate<BR

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    So it went great that is awesome
     
  14. IcemanSK

    IcemanSK El Conquistador nim!

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    Fantastic! I knew you could do it!123
     

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