New Respect for Teachers


Master of Arts
Jan 16, 2003
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The woods of Marin County, California, USA
Little bit of a story:

As one of the senior students in our TKD class, I'm always helping instruct the lower belts. But last night, I was reminded of what it really means to be a teacher when I volunteered to help our instructor teach the first white belt class of the quarter (our class is taught at a university). Our instructor had to leave halfway through, so what he wanted to do was basically have me teach them everything, with a little bit of his supervision. It's been a really long time since I had to think about starting from scratch, but I didn't realize how hard it would really be.

First off, our instructor introduced himself, me, and said a few words about TKD. Then I got things started. I had them line up, had them bow in, and started with some warm-up stretches (we were running short on time so we skipped the jogging warm-up). No problems there. Then I started to teach TKD.

Thankfully, the real instructor was still there to lend a hand when needed. I started off trying to show them how to stand in a front stance. From there, I was about to show them how to walk they way we do when we do moves in basics. Oopsie!

I should have started by teaching them to throw a punch, just while standing still. No, wait! Scratch that. I need to show them how to make a fist first. D'oh!

For about 5 minutes, the real instructor took control of his class back to help us get started. He explained and demonstrated everything in the simple terms that I wasn't able to. Thankfully he was there, or we would have had some very confused white belts. (So sue me- I learned to punch when I was 6- like I'm going to remember how to explain it to someone who never learned. :shrug: )

Then he had to leave, and it was just me and the newbies. Things went a lot smoother from there, but I still struggled to try and explain some things in terms that someone without any martial arts experience could understand. (I also managed confuse my left side with my right once, making me look like a real genius.) I was actually very relieved to see that at the end of the session the whole class seemed to be getting the hang of everything I had taught them. Hopefully they show up for the next class, lead by the real teacher. :D

I've said this before, but I was really reminded of it last night: You only truly understand something if you can explain to those who know nothing about it.
Good post, Zepp. You are right. In my short time in TSD, I was asked a few times to help with the kids. It helped me understand certain techniques better, because I had to show someone else. It opens your eyes to things you have been doing for so long, and better understand it. Or notice things you never noticed before. And going back to the basics isn't a bad thing either. Your last sentence sums it all up :)
You know the stages of understanding? In education, there are many stages, I'll try to remember them...

If you just look at it, you'll remember 15% or so of it and will be able to do that 15% but you rapidly lose the newly-gained knowledge.

If you could do it without assistance, then it's almost set in there. I remember the rating being around 70%.

If you can teach it, then you're around 85.
yes... teaching actually humbles you. it makes you realized that its not so simple. i usually teach the kids class on saturdays. it is difficult but worth it. it just takes time and patience. it can only get better. you learn by of luck!!

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