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ETinCYQX

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Hi all,

I'm in a bit of a unique situation. I'm getting ready for my 1st Dan, and our TKD school looks to be losing the instructor. I've been asked by our head instructor in a different town to step in.

My main concern comes with my age. I'm 18 years old. What worries me is the fact that adults may dislike taking instruction from me. So, here's my question: Would you guys have a problem learning from an 18 year old assuming he/she was qualified? The Master my school is under told me that others are interested and willing but he'd like me to have first refusal. He feels I'm qualified and would be a good teacher and to quote him "Who cares if they want to listen? If they want to train, they'll listen." I do however understand the dilemma an older adult may have. It would also mean teaching my sister which may cause issues, but I'll deal with that when it comes.

I'm honored to be asked, honestly. It's something I'd love to do and to be given first crack means a lot to me. It would also mean doing my part in keeping a school I started in at 6 alive and I'm the only one who can take it who actually trained here. Would be nice to have a student from here in the lead role.

Thanks for your input.

EDIT: Our highest-ranked student is a blue belt and our master has offered to take care of my belt testing and send one of his instructors out to help me out on a semi-regular basis. I won't be testing anybody and for competitions I'll have lots of coaching help. A lot of the guys who would do this stuff taught me years ago and have become good friends of mine. I have a bit of teaching experience and pretty good communication skills which could help the kid's class. Our current instructor speaks Korean as a first language and is a bit hard to understand at times.

EDIT x2: Also, what are you guys addressed as? What I was thinking was going by my 1st name for the adult class and "Mr. Lastname" for the kid's class. Sound reasonable?
 
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Carol

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My biggest concern would be how the teacher interacted with me. My learning style tends to be a bit different than others in class, so how would the instructor react? Would s/he try to work with me? Or would they get frustrated and try to essentially put me in a box with everyone else? My experience training with high school students (that were significantly more advanced than I am) is that if I do not get what they are trying to teach me, they just reiterate the same words over and over...instead of trying to find a new way to explain the concept. I don't think my expectation would be that an instructor is "perfect" but that s/he at least tried to reach those of us that may be a bit outside the lines :D

Personally I didn't start training until I was 36 and I had someone a lot younger than me as an instructor from day 1. I didn't mind it at all. To me it sounds like a great opportunity! It sounds like something you are very passionate about -- go for it! :asian:
 
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ETinCYQX

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Thanks for the support Carol!

I certainly intend to make an effort to reach everyone; I'm more of a visual learner myself and I teach the same way. I'd rather demonstrate than explain something. I'm also going to take some instructor's courses and step in as an assitant whenever I can until the time comes so hopefully my teaching will be up to snuff.
 

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Your master's recommendation should carry the real weight, as long as you trust him. It strikes me as a little odd that you're testing for 1st dan at 18 when you started at 6.

As a relatively older guy of 48, one of my assets is my life experience. I understand kids, teens and adults at different ages and the issues they face both on and off the floor--way more than I did at 18. It would be important for you to be aware of your strengths and weaknesses, and to have supporting seniors who help as needed both technically and with management.

What does your gut tell you? Does this fit with your own long term goals? Where your heart is matters greatly. Have you thought through how you will manage to continue your own studies on top of your teaching responsibility? Neglecting your own growth would be an easy mistake to make, particularly if you underestimate what you would be taking on.

Congratulations on what is a strong vote of confidence from your master. That is an honor regardless of the course you choose.
 

igillman

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Your age does not matter, what matters is your attitude. We do not need to do 10 pushups for doing something wrong, just tell me what I did wrong, I will understand and remember next time. The fact that you have asked the opinion of the people on this board shows that you are already a long way towards the right attitude to teach adults.
 
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ETinCYQX

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Hi Carl;

I had a long lay off shortly after getting my red belt. About 4-5 years and I've been back about two years now. Kind of glad in a way to be testing as an adult instead of for a poom belt.

I'm thinking my growth will slow down either way and my real advancement will be done through seminars and training trips; it's either me or no instructor. However, my basics and foundation will improve through teaching and at least I'll keep in practice.

It does help that all of our current students are around my age and good friends of mine. None much older but that could change. Pure teaching, I'm comfortable with and business, I'm comfortable with.

The biggest problem is one I can't change; I haven't been where you are and I can't relate to you. I think I'm going to trust my Master and give it a shot.
 
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ETinCYQX

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Your age does not matter, what matters is your attitude. We do not need to do 10 pushups for doing something wrong, just tell me what I did wrong, I will understand and remember next time. The fact that you have asked the opinion of the people on this board shows that you are already a long way towards the right attitude to teach adults.

Thanks, I appreciate it. I've gotten a much more positive reception so far than I expected, from everyone.

I'm planning on keeping the discipline stuff to the Kid's classes. Don't think issuing pushups for adults is quite appropriate but it's a good tool for teaching young kids IMO
 

ralphmcpherson

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I think age does play some part. As a general rule in our club you must be 4th dan to instruct, but where the odd exception to the rule has occured it is usually a 2nd or 3rd dan in their 30's or 40's. Life experience plays a big part, but I have trained under an 20 year old 2nd dan for a couple of months while my instructor was getting a knee reconstruction and I had no problems with training under a 20 year old so long as they really know their stuff. Personally Id be more concerned with being a 1st dan than being 18 years of age. I am a first dan, regularly attend black belt class, train heaps outside of class and have a karate background yet I dont feel ready to start instructing at my rank just yet.
 

andyjeffries

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I'm in a bit of a unique situation. I'm getting ready for my 1st Dan, and our TKD school looks to be losing the instructor. I've been asked by our head instructor in a different town to step in. My main concern comes with my age. I'm 18 years old.

Congratulations, it is a great endorsement that your master wants you to run a school affiliated with his name.

I am also in a fairly unique situation in that I've done pretty much exactly what you've done :)

I was helping my master with teaching a class from 16-18 and when I was 18 he was leaving the area and asked me to continue running it. He would travel back regularly to give extra seminars and perform gradings. I ran it for 3 years and then merged it with another class I was training at.

What worries me is the fact that adults may dislike taking instruction from me. So, here's my question: Would you guys have a problem learning from an 18 year old assuming he/she was qualified?

I wouldn't have a problem learning from an 18 year old. Even though they would be junior to me in grade, there are still things I could learn now from an 18 year old :)

From my perspective, providing you teach the adults with more respect (they're there because they're personally paying and want to be there - as opposed to kids who are often there because their parents want them to do it) they listen - that's from personal experience.

to quote him "Who cares if they want to listen? If they want to train, they'll listen."

The only problem with that is the mistake I made - I knew the Taekwondo side well enough to teach (I believe that, even with hindsight and my Grandmaster did too), but I completely ignored the business side. As the club was based at a school (mainly for school kids but with some adults) as the kids finished at the school and went off to college the numbers dwindled.

You have to remember the business side of running a club/school...

I do however understand the dilemma an older adult may have.

The dilemma is in your mind, not theirs. From their point of view (I'm fairly certain based on experience) if you have something to teach them, they'll listen.

It would also mean teaching my sister which may cause issues, but I'll deal with that when it comes.

Indeed, but you might want to talk to her about it first... so she's prepared that you're not "loving brother" in class but the instructor. I've talked to my children about it, so they know I'm not "daddy" when I'm wearing my Taekwondo dobok but their instructor. It's all about keeping things clear.

I'm honored to be asked, honestly. It's something I'd love to do and to be given first crack means a lot to me. It would also mean doing my part in keeping a school I started in at 6 alive and I'm the only one who can take it who actually trained here. Would be nice to have a student from here in the lead role.

I absolutely agree which is why I'm looking forward to running the class I train at when the time comes.

EDIT x2: Also, what are you guys addressed as? What I was thinking was going by my 1st name for the adult class and "Mr. Lastname" for the kid's class. Sound reasonable?

I'm "Andy" to everyone, but your solution sounds reasonable. There may be a problem if the children hear you being referred to by first name but they have to call you "Mr Lastname" - but I'm sure that's quite normal, providing you correct them if they try it on.

To be honest, I think what you are called is the least of your worries :)

As a further bit of unasked for advice, I would start off with a lesson plan before each lesson. One of the things that comes with experience is knowing where people need to be in 3-4 months (or however often it is between your geup tests) and then planning the lessons between them so that they cover new techniques, the whole syllabus, technical corrections in each area and more refresher style lessons towards the end.

Masters tend to do that naturally in their head, but as a beginner instructor I would recommend planning it out in rough terms a few months in advance, knowing when things need to be known by and then making a more detailed plan for say a couple of weeks at a time. It will help you feel more confident in class because you know what you have to cover, so you won't have any moments where you're going "ummm, what shall we do now?".

I wish you all the best of luck!
 

AlanE

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Hi ETinCYQX,

My feelings are the master picked you for more than your martial skills. I think he saw a leader in you, as you were for many months (i.e. lead yourself before you can lead others - which you did).

Therefore, while you hold the fort for a short on longer period of time, yes, lesson plans, and much thought will be necessary. No going through the motions - lives are "at stake" ;) It's a big challenge and you are probably up to it, once you realize the scope. Trust yourself as your master trusted you, stay humble and you'll be the instructor that takes your students to new heights, in treatment of others and mastery of their movement. You're the new leader now. Nothing wrong with not knowing and saying you don't know something, while agreeing with your group to a course while you do some investigations. Clear, concise, action over talk, and total respect. Network with other instructors in your area, too. One friendly instuctor can make a big difference for you, speaking to you without barriers. You one of "them" now. Good luck.

Source: I've been lucky to help run teams/events during military life when the coach/leader/instructor deploys oversees (this time it's me: I go in 2 days). Go with what you know, have basic leadership, and add something genuine to others' lives. You don't have to be the best to be willing, able, and respectable (while trying to be the best!)
 

StudentCarl

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I've been lucky to help run teams/events during military life when the coach/leader/instructor deploys oversees (this time it's me: I go in 2 days).

Alan, from one vet to another: Thank you for your service. Complete the mission and come home in one piece.

Carl
 

StudentCarl

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The biggest problem is one I can't change; I haven't been where you are and I can't relate to you.

Actually, the answer to this is simple humility, and you express it well. Be honest about what you don't know, and teach from what you do. That will earn you the respect of your elders. Good teachers learn a great deal from their students by asking questions. If you ask and listen before popping off with advice, you'll hear much of what's going on with everyone's bodies and minds. Along with that is the advice to follow up on your advice with questions and observation over time to keep track of how your instruction has worked with different ages. Good teaching isn't brain surgery, but it does require recognizing your limits when helping people find success. Your thoughtful remarks in this discussion suggest you'll do fine, and you could do worse than continue to discuss and seek advice here. I have great respect for many of the instructors here. Good luck and please keep us informed.

Carl
 

rlobrecht

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The lead instructor for our branch is 12 years younger than me, and our Sabumnim is five or six years younger than me. He started his own branch at the age of 19. We have a few teenage instructors, and I have no problem with them.

Several people have said it, its about the attitude. If you act like an adult, and act like a teacher, your students will respond positively to you.

Good luck teaching.

Rick
 

granfire

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At some point in your life you will be hard pressed to not run into instructors younger than yourself. I only had an instructor older than me a couple of times and he was my instructor's teacher. The couple that runs the school I trained at are both younger than me, and all of their assistants are young.

The one time a 'kid' ran the adult class I had to later tell him that old people have a few quirks young guys are not familiar with for another 20 to thirty years ;)

I forgot what exactly it was I think it had something to do with jumping or so.

In the organization all BBs are 'Mister/Misses Last name', regardless of position, naturally it's not enforced. :D but the instructor is Mr/Mrs
 
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ETinCYQX

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I think age does play some part. As a general rule in our club you must be 4th dan to instruct, but where the odd exception to the rule has occured it is usually a 2nd or 3rd dan in their 30's or 40's. Life experience plays a big part, but I have trained under an 20 year old 2nd dan for a couple of months while my instructor was getting a knee reconstruction and I had no problems with training under a 20 year old so long as they really know their stuff. Personally Id be more concerned with being a 1st dan than being 18 years of age. I am a first dan, regularly attend black belt class, train heaps outside of class and have a karate background yet I dont feel ready to start instructing at my rank just yet.

I agree with you, I'm far from ideal but I do know my stuff pretty well according to my Master and we're planning on having a 4th or 5th Dan in as often as possible. Most likely around 1-2 times a month. I'll also have a higher-ranking BB do my grading.

Congratulations, it is a great endorsement that your master wants you to run a school affiliated with his name.

I am also in a fairly unique situation in that I've done pretty much exactly what you've done :)

I was helping my master with teaching a class from 16-18 and when I was 18 he was leaving the area and asked me to continue running it. He would travel back regularly to give extra seminars and perform gradings. I ran it for 3 years and then merged it with another class I was training at.



I wouldn't have a problem learning from an 18 year old. Even though they would be junior to me in grade, there are still things I could learn now from an 18 year old :)

From my perspective, providing you teach the adults with more respect (they're there because they're personally paying and want to be there - as opposed to kids who are often there because their parents want them to do it) they listen - that's from personal experience.

The only problem with that is the mistake I made - I knew the Taekwondo side well enough to teach (I believe that, even with hindsight and my Grandmaster did too), but I completely ignored the business side. As the club was based at a school (mainly for school kids but with some adults) as the kids finished at the school and went off to college the numbers dwindled.

You have to remember the business side of running a club/school...

The dilemma is in your mind, not theirs. From their point of view (I'm fairly certain based on experience) if you have something to teach them, they'll listen.

Indeed, but you might want to talk to her about it first... so she's prepared that you're not "loving brother" in class but the instructor. I've talked to my children about it, so they know I'm not "daddy" when I'm wearing my Taekwondo dobok but their instructor. It's all about keeping things clear.

I absolutely agree which is why I'm looking forward to running the class I train at when the time comes.

I'm "Andy" to everyone, but your solution sounds reasonable. There may be a problem if the children hear you being referred to by first name but they have to call you "Mr Lastname" - but I'm sure that's quite normal, providing you correct them if they try it on.

To be honest, I think what you are called is the least of your worries :)

As a further bit of unasked for advice, I would start off with a lesson plan before each lesson. One of the things that comes with experience is knowing where people need to be in 3-4 months (or however often it is between your geup tests) and then planning the lessons between them so that they cover new techniques, the whole syllabus, technical corrections in each area and more refresher style lessons towards the end.

Masters tend to do that naturally in their head, but as a beginner instructor I would recommend planning it out in rough terms a few months in advance, knowing when things need to be known by and then making a more detailed plan for say a couple of weeks at a time. It will help you feel more confident in class because you know what you have to cover, so you won't have any moments where you're going "ummm, what shall we do now?".

I wish you all the best of luck!

Thanks a lot, I hadn't thought of a lesson plan. Definitely a good idea to stop me from getting lost.

I'll definitely be the senior rank at the school though; I think the only people I can name who are close to my rank are directly related to me.

Hi ETinCYQX,

My feelings are the master picked you for more than your martial skills. I think he saw a leader in you, as you were for many months (i.e. lead yourself before you can lead others - which you did).

Therefore, while you hold the fort for a short on longer period of time, yes, lesson plans, and much thought will be necessary. No going through the motions - lives are "at stake" ;) It's a big challenge and you are probably up to it, once you realize the scope. Trust yourself as your master trusted you, stay humble and you'll be the instructor that takes your students to new heights, in treatment of others and mastery of their movement. You're the new leader now. Nothing wrong with not knowing and saying you don't know something, while agreeing with your group to a course while you do some investigations. Clear, concise, action over talk, and total respect. Network with other instructors in your area, too. One friendly instuctor can make a big difference for you, speaking to you without barriers. You one of "them" now. Good luck.

Source: I've been lucky to help run teams/events during military life when the coach/leader/instructor deploys oversees (this time it's me: I go in 2 days). Go with what you know, have basic leadership, and add something genuine to others' lives. You don't have to be the best to be willing, able, and respectable (while trying to be the best!)

I've always tried to be one of the people who made kids want to do martial arts. Even more important, I try to be one of the people who make parents think kids should do martial arts. I worked as a tour guide in an airplane museum last summer so I like talking to people about something I know and passing knowledge on. I think I will at least try this and hopefully I can make a 6 year old love TKD as much as my first instructor did for me.

Thanks for the encouragement and the excellent advice. Good luck on your deployment and thanks for serving.
 

Xue Sheng

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To be honest I would have a problem with an 18 year old instructor, but then ‘m old and crotchety and don’t like anyone under 30... but then I am getting close to 25..... for the second time :D

Bottom-line if you have the confidence in your ability and those senior to you have confidence in your ability then what other think, including me, does not matter at all. Any problem I have with an 18 year old teacher is my problem don't make it yours.
 

Maestro402

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IMHO ... There should be no problem with your instructing based on your age. The only questions I have for instructors is qualification, attitude and teaching style. I am 32 years old and I have been instructed by 20 year olds. They were completely qualified and did a fabulous job. I guess it comes down to the fact that I trust my Master and know that he wouldn't put anyone in charge of the class that isn't qualified.

For you, just be confident in your ability and don't be cocky (not that I thought you would be). In other words, be yourself and do what your Master knows you can do.

Most of all .... don't forget you can still learn and you'll do great.

Maestro
 

K31

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My dojang had quite a few "helper" blackbelt instructors who were young. One, I was surprised to find out, had his father drive him to/from the dojang. I sought his advice and it was always sound. I was always really surprised at how mature this guy's were for their ages. I often thought that they would make excellent employees no matter what the career.
 
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