Advice for a student who wants to be an instructor

KempoGuy06

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Hey y'all! After the new year I will entering the instructors program at my school. Im really excited about this, ive decided that I want to teach and give back to my dojo and the MA are a larger scale.

Ive helped out fellow students with techniques that were new to us both but Ive never actually taught anyone anything from beginning to end. Also Ive never worked with kids at my school and this is what we have to do when we enter the instructor program.

Is there any advice some of the instructors her can lend me. Any tips or tricks at all.

B
 

Drac

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Hey y'all! After the new year I will entering the instructors program at my school. Im really excited about this, ive decided that I want to teach and give back to my dojo and the MA are a larger scale.

Ive helped out fellow students with techniques that were new to us both but Ive never actually taught anyone anything from beginning to end. Also Ive never worked with kids at my school and this is what we have to do when we enter the instructor program.

Is there any advice some of the instructors her can lend me. Any tips or tricks at all.

B

Teaching is a skill that you are born with or not, it's a passion..I have met MA's who were superb practioneers but horrible teachers..If the head of the school wants you to teach then they must reconize that you have what it takes to be a great teacher..Tips??? Personally I find a way to incorporate a little humor into my teaching, it puts the students at ease...Teaching kids??? Not for me as I lack the patience..The best of luck to you...
 
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Tez3

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Remember all the feelings you had when you were a white belt, all the problems you had learning techniques and how you worked them out. Be inventive when explaining things, children especially need some lateral thinking when you teach them. :)
 

stickarts

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setting the good example both in and out of the dojo becomes even more important than ever!
 

Grenadier

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This is the standard lecture that almost all instructor training regimens will give you, but it's certainly good advice.

Out of all of your students, there are about 20% of your students who will never "get it," no matter how good of a teacher you are.

There are another 20% of your students who will always "get it," no matter how bad of a teacher you are.

The remaining 60% of your students is who your attention should mostly be directed at, since those are the folks who may, or may not "get it," depending on how you teach them.

Does this mean that the bottom 20% are unregenerate folks? Not necessarily. With some careful coaching, some of those bottom 20% can be pulled into your 60% group, and some of the 60% group can be pulled into the top 20% group.
 

MJS

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Hey y'all! After the new year I will entering the instructors program at my school. Im really excited about this, ive decided that I want to teach and give back to my dojo and the MA are a larger scale.

Ive helped out fellow students with techniques that were new to us both but Ive never actually taught anyone anything from beginning to end. Also Ive never worked with kids at my school and this is what we have to do when we enter the instructor program.

Is there any advice some of the instructors her can lend me. Any tips or tricks at all.

B

Most importantly, I'd start off slow. Teaching can certainly give you the feeling that you're being thrown to the lions. When I started teaching, I only did small segments and of course, there was another inst. on the floor as well. So for example, I'd just to the warmups and the basics, ie: punches and kicks, then the other person would take over. Gradually, more and more was added, until one day I came in and was told that I was doing the entire class! I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous. :)

Working with kids....ahhhh....yes, that can be a chore in itself. My best bit of advice for that is don't lose their attention. Once that happens, you will find it will be very hard to get it back and this will add to your frustration.

Another suggestion for you, would be to plan out what you want to do, prior to the start of class. Its hard to predict how many people will show and what ranks you'll have, but if you have a basic game plan to follow, you could always add/delete things as needed. For example, if the class if 1hr., figure out how much time you want to spend on warmups and basics. The punches and kicks could also be done on targets instead of the air. From there, if there are enough instructors, you may want to break into groups by rank, so you could allow them to work on their required material. You could have everyone line up and run through kata. Start at the beginning and advance up. Once someone reaches the point they can't go further, they could either sit and watch, or again, if there was another inst., you could have them work with the people who're no longer doing kata.

That should be a good start for you. Good luck. :)
 

jarrod

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i like to use the guitar as an analogy. every so often, someone would ask me to "show them something" on guitar. so i'd pick a basic chord like Em which only requires two fingers. i'd explain what i considered the essential music theory behind it, what makes a chord major or minor etc. then they'd say, "that's great. how do i hold the pick?"

so just start at the beginning. the very beginning. if you've been training for a while, don't assume they know how to stand, how to make a fist, basic body mechanics, terminology, or anything.

good luck! teaching will teach you a lot yourself.

jf
 

DavidCC

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How much did you pay for the privilege of working at your dojo?

j/k

I can laugh (now) because I paid a LOT to becom the dojo janitor and substitute teacher.

What I've realized since then is that with only 6 years in the Arts (4 at the time) I don't have a whole lot to teach... except to the absolute beginners - I can show them some things that I have learned, but it's more "instruction" than real "education". But, I was a big help to my Teacher, and we became very close, so that was good. And I did learn a lot about running a dojo and runnig a kids class...

But to be a good teacher of martial Arts takes a long time, and I am far far far from that.
 

jks9199

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Teaching is a skill that you are born with or not, it's a passion..I have met MA's who were superb practioneers but horrible..If the head of the school wants you to teach then they must reconize that you have what it takes to be a great teacher..Personally I find a way to incorporate a little humor into my teaching, it puts the students at ease...Teaching kids??? Not for me as I lack the patience..The best of luck to you...
I disagree; you can LEARN to teach. It doesn't mean that you'll have the fire or passion to do it regularly -- but you can learn the skills to be an effective teacher.

Having the desire to learn, rather than simply assuming you can do it is a great start.

You want to learn about the different ways people learn -- and you need to realize that teaching kids is different from teaching adults. Don't assume that the method that worked for you will work for another person -- but don't assume it won't either. I generally stay with the model of "tell - show - do together - do alone - (teach)" in my instruction. BE VERY CAREFUL about demonstrating incorrectly; often people will only remember the first and last thing taught -- so make sure that first and last are done properly!
 

morph4me

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Hey y'all! After the new year I will entering the instructors program at my school. Im really excited about this, ive decided that I want to teach and give back to my dojo and the MA are a larger scale.

Ive helped out fellow students with techniques that were new to us both but Ive never actually taught anyone anything from beginning to end. Also Ive never worked with kids at my school and this is what we have to do when we enter the instructor program.

Is there any advice some of the instructors her can lend me. Any tips or tricks at all.

B

Don't be afraid to tell your students " I don't know, but I'll find out for you." Don't try to teach it all at once, teach the skill and let them work on it until it sort of resembles what you want, then clean it up. Humor goes along way in teaching, and it makes people remember the important points, if you make a silly noise when you teach a technique, or give a pattern a stupid name, people will remember it. Teaching kids is something I never enjoyed and my wife, a teacher, told me why, and she was right as usual. I tried teaching the kids a martial art, and they weren't ready to learn what I was teaching, they enjoyed it when I played games with them that incorporated the skill I was trying to teach. Good luck, you'll be amazed at how much you learn when you start to teach.
 

hkfuie

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I would say, watch the student and give them what they need. If they are not getting it, find another way to explain. I have taught alot of kids and when teaching adults, I sometimes use the "kid picture" type things I have developed. If I apologize about it, they invariably say, "No, that's great. Makes it easier to remember. They just need to know you don't think they are children. :)

I like to visit other instructors and have had a bit of opportunity to do so. I am always amazed at the creativity I see in how different instructors present things. I think this is one of the exciting things about teaching, and one of my favorite things about observing other instructors.

If you find yourself bitten by the bug of teaching, you'll find yourself looking around the world for analogies or different approaches to give the students the "aha" you are looking for. :)

Enjoy yourself. :)
 

Big Don

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Practice! Nothing is worse than a teacher teaching something he/she is not fully versed in. The better you know the material, the easier it will be to teach it to others
 

Gordon Nore

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My short list of dos and don'ts. If your instructor tells you different, s/he's right, and I'm wrong:

Always ask for help from a senior when you can. Let your students see you seeking the advice of a senior. It shows that you too are a student, which is the attitude you want to instill in them.

Don't over parse every movement a student makes. Yes, you want to correct bad technique before it becomes a habit; however, you did not arrive your skill level out of the box. There has to be room for students to grow into their skills, to make mistakes, and to explore technique.

Related to the above, give students some realistic benchmarks. If you look at any beginner's forward stance (whatever art), there's probably multiple things they are doing wrong. Let them know if there happens to be something they're doing well, and suggest one or two specifics to focus on.

It's good to come at instruction with a strong sense of responsibility, but don't take it too seriously or personally. You're not sending them into battle the next day.

Have fun. Be yourself.
 

Kacey

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You've already been given some great advice, so instead of repeating it, I'll add this: don't try to teach too many things at once; stick with one thing at a time. It's very tempting, especially with capable, interested students, to attempt to give them everything you know at once - DON'T! Work on one thing at a time - for example, if you're teaching a kick, work on one aspect of the kick at a time: foot position, leg motion, position of the supporting foot, etc. If you try to teach all aspects of a technique at once, you'll just confuse your students. Teach one aspect until the students understand it, then add the next - and be aware of the different learning styles and speeds of your students. It's much easier to teach all students the same thing at the same time using the same instructional techniques - but students are individuals, and need (and deserve) to be treated as such if they are to be successful. Unfortunately, it's also much harder to individualize than not.
 

jks9199

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Along the lines of some of the other comments...

One more thing to think about. It's very easy to try to teach something at your current level; all the pieces, parts, twists, and turns that you put into it. But you didn't get to that level in one day... it took you years. When you teach that new student a technique, don't try to teach them everything you know about it the first time.

An analogy I often use is building a road. Watch them build a road sometime; it starts with one guy running out and planting flags or other markers for where the road should go. Then some other folk come out and start clearing the trees and brush. Following them are the graders and other devices that level the roadbed and get it ready for the asphalt. And even after the blacktop is down, someone else comes out and puts the lane markers and Botts Dots and signs up... Then, later on, someone has to come out and patch some potholes and do some repairs... maybe even tear things back down and rebuild it or repave it.

Martial arts training is the same; we start with the grossest outline of the techniques, move on to refining them, and once we think we know them -- we find new principles that we have to go back through and add into everything else. Sometimes, those new principles make us almost start over on a particular technique, tearing all the way down to its base level.

But if you try to teach a student the whole thing (as you understand it) on the first night... it's like trying to build a road by dropping the asphalt down, already marked, without a thought to the subsurface. Won't work well...

(And boy did that "quick thought" get long winded!)
 

KenpoTex

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Gordon Nore and jks both made some of the points I would have made.

I tend to be very analytical and am somewhat of a perfectionist which made it difficult for me, at first, to see someone messing up and not correct every little thing.
When someone is just starting, they're going to screw up everything...pick one thing at a time to work on. Once they have that, then go on to something else...don't overwhelm them by being too "nitpicky." (now obviously there's a difference between a beginner and a brown-belt about to test for black. At that point, nitpick away :D)

As was also stated, don't be afraid to admit that you don't know something. If someone asks you something you don't know, don't just BS your way through it, get one of the other instructors to help you out.
And when you have a brain-fart and say something dumb (it will happen :D) just admit it, laugh about it, and move on.
 

jks9199

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I've found that if you correct more than 2 or 3 things in a single class (especially if it's all on one technique!), you overwhelm many new students. You can tell, they're eyes sort of glaze over and they just kind of "stall." Once you've seen it a few times, you can tell... and correcting much beyond that point, and you'll just frustrate the hell out of them.
 

terryl965

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Being a instructor anybody can do, being a respected instructor only a low percentage can achieve. Remember being able to teach and stay in control is always the key and having the patience to remember not all people learn at the same rate and are there for the same reason.
 

bradwhalen

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I am in no way a martial arts instructor but have been teaching golf for 17 years. The best advice I can give you would be to really watch closely at how other good instructors teach. What I mean is when you are in a class you are more focused on learning how to do a move or form yourself but watching how the instructor teaches said move or form to other student with different "problems" from you will help you immensely. Good luck to you I hope I will have the chance to teach MA in the future too.
 

tshadowchaser

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My only advice is when you start out KEEP IT SIMPLE. If you are working with kids this is even more important.
If you are having them practice a certain stance keep talking to them explain a little of what the need to concentrate on and may be why they are learning the stance while they are in in.
If they are doing blocks correct something once in a while but not on every move. Also be sure to watch each individual separately and be sure to give positive fed back to them not just “that’s wrong, do it this way”
 
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