Student? Instructor? Both?

Are you a student? Instructor? Both?

  • I am a student only

  • I am a student, and occasionally help teach lower-ranked students

  • I am a student, and regularly help teach lower-ranked students

  • I am an assistant instructor and regularly help teach

  • I am an assistant instructor and occasionally teach independently

  • I am an assistant instructor and regularly teach independently

  • I am an instructor and train with my own instructor regularly

  • I am an instructor and train with my own instructor occasionally

  • I am an instructor and train with my own instructor rarely

  • I am an instructor and train independently

  • Other (please describe in post)


Results are only viewable after voting.

Brandon Fisher

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I am a instructor founder of my own system but still train with various instructors. I am a student of the arts first and foremost.
 

morph4me

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I used to teach regularly, and train with my instructor regularly, but circumstances have changed, and I don't get to train with my instructor regularly anymore. I'm teaching, and training in a friends dojo.
 

Shotochem

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I always consider myself a student first. I occasionally help out with the lower ranks. Though not as much as I used to (not as much time available).

In the warmer months I train my son and a few of his friends from assorted arts in my back yard. I just stick to drills, bagwork, generating power and improving mechanics. I look at it more as them training with me than me teaching them. I enjoy the informal structure and extra workout with kids who want to be there.

I only do this with these kids as I know their parents quite well and they are good kids. I am careful not to let them injure each other and I will not let them spar each other. I will however, work on sparring with them individually so they will not get hurt.
 

MJS

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I'm curious about peoples' perception of instructing and learning - thus this poll. Commentary is also requested -
how do you define instructing?[/quote]

I define that as someone who is teaching a person or a group of people. This person is usually the main person in charge of the class.

Assisting?

Someone who is helping the main instructor at the time. They may have their own group of people to work with at certain times during the class, but they're acting under the direction of the instructor.


What is the difference between an assistant instructor who teaches independently and an instructor?

I've never seen this. I'm assuming that you're talking about someone who comes in from another school to assist in teaching? Usually all of the asst. instructors that I've seen, have already been a part of the school.


Are there rank requirements in your organization for instructing, and does that impact whether you are an assistant or a full instructor, regardless of your duties?

I've had people assist me with a class that were green, brown and black belts. If they were under belts, I wouldn't necessarily have them teach anything new, but instead review material that the student already knows.

Mike
 

The Kidd

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I am a forever student, and Assistant Instructor, meaning besides the head instructor I am the lead assistant teaching my own classes, filling in for the head instructor when he is out and assisting him during class.
 

exile

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I chose Student (primarily) and regularly help teach lower belts because I have recently been asked to help out every week with the kids classes. I don't lead the class, but am there to help the kids line up, warm up, pay attention, circulate around and help with questions and that sort of thing. I think I am learning more than they are at times. It was a real eye opener the first couple of classes just how much more effort it takes to be one of those in front of the class, even at a real basic kids level. I have had to take one week of classes due to the main instructor being way too sick to teach. I have to be honest, I was more nervous than I was on my wedding day. I about :barf: worrying that I might not be able to hold the kids interest during the classes, and that I was knowledgable enough to actually do it. The instructor had faith, so I sucked it up and ended up having the time of my life, even the kids had fun.

I'll never stop being a student and hopefully always have the mind set to know I need to keep growing and learning from those around me no matter what my own ranking becomes.

This is very much along the lines of my own experience. I teach one class a week of my own for lower-rank students in our program, and assist my instructor and stand in for him on the very rare occasions when he can't make it. And I recall also being quite nervous about it the first time, although more than 25 years of university teaching have provided me with some tools to control that horrible first-day nervousness that every instructor, no how eminent, or what field they're in, experiences. For me, the major anxiety is always, will there be enough material to fill the time. And always, there's way more than enough material, way too much usually, but that's what the main worry (or my main worry at least) is.

I don't know about you, Scott, but for me the main issue that teachng presents is knowing at what level of technical detail in students' performance it's best to stop. so far as trying to get them to improve their technique. A yellow belt isn't going to have the same capacity for self-correction that a blue belt has, because they don't have a holistic sense of the techs yet, they're not ready to refine them beyond a certain level. Identifying when I've gone as far as is useful (at this point in their MA careers) in critiquing and tweaking students' technique is the main instructional challenge for me...
 

Brad Dunne

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Interesting responses, so let me add a new wrinkle. I am a teacher, for I give people knowledge. An instructor in turn, shows people what and how to do it, there is a distinction, be it ever so small.

Now for the wrinkle. When folks reach a certain rank or years of just doing, it becomes almost a burden, because they almost always find themselves in a teaching mode. You go to a friends dojo/dojang, perhaps with the idea to only train for yourself and low and behold, you find yourself teaching someone either the proper way or a better way to do something. It's very hard for anyone who has the arts in their heart to watch someone do something the wrong way, for you realize that they are only losing valuable time and at worst doing something that could get them hurt or worse. Most of the time, other schools/instructors take offense, even though you meant no harm, it's the ego thing. Just something else to ponder...........
 

The Kidd

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In the past I would usually step in and correct someone, I have matured since then and realize there is a proper time and place for that. If I am a guest and that is not my roll then I have learned to be quiet if my opion is asked or I am asked to instruct then I step in.
 

morph4me

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In the past I would usually step in and correct someone, I have matured since then and realize there is a proper time and place for that. If I am a guest and that is not my roll then I have learned to be quiet if my opion is asked or I am asked to instruct then I step in.

I do the same thing, unless I see that someone is going to get hurt. If I'm not teaching, then I'm a student, like everyone else in the class. It isn't easy, but I use it as an exercise in discipline.
 

terryl965

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In the past I would usually step in and correct someone, I have matured since then and realize there is a proper time and place for that. If I am a guest and that is not my roll then I have learned to be quiet if my opion is asked or I am asked to instruct then I step in.


you have grown oh noble one
 

Brandon Fisher

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Here is a new twist to this. As anyone thought of themselves as a student while being a teacher. If teaching someone else is supposed to teach you also wouldn't you be a student also?
 

Brad Dunne

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"In the past I would usually step in and correct someone, I have matured since then and realize there is a proper time and place for that."

Interesting, but when and where would the proper time and place be? If you are a guest, then one would think that the one who invited you would know your background and would likely expect you to take notice and offer your insight(s). I know I would, if in that position. Now if you are there as a student, then unless it's something harmful that is happining, keeping quiet may be more prudent, but trying to confine the "teacher" can become a task.

To the question of teacher also becomes the student, you are correct, for a good teacher is always looking to improve for the students, so learning is always a constant.
 
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Kacey

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Here is a new twist to this. As anyone thought of themselves as a student while being a teacher. If teaching someone else is supposed to teach you also wouldn't you be a student also?

Yes - that's why, when I wrote the poll, I included I am an instructor and train with my own instructor regularly" which describes my own situation. Simply because I am instructor does not mean I cease to learn; rather, it means that I am now responsible for learning as much as possible so that I can properly instruct my own students.

The other option someone asked about, "I am an assistant instructor and regularly teach independently", is one I put in because I know some people who teach extra classes, or affiliated classes, or teach for the head instructor, but do not consider themselves to be the instructor - for example, my assistant instructor (when his work schedule was different) used to teach an extra class one day a week, which was completely optional, but open to any enrolled member of the class. I was never there - but he was still not the students' instructor, I was. In addition, when I was first starting to teach, I taught a weekend kids' class that was part of my instructor's club, but which he rarely attended - therefore, I was an assistant instructor, but I was teaching a class independently under his auspices.
 

Brandon Fisher

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Do you learn from yourself teaching? Do you find things that you had missed before? Its a little different than just learning from an instructor.
 
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Kacey

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Do you learn from yourself teaching? Do you find things that you had missed before? Its a little different than just learning from an instructor.

Always. I understand things much better after I have to explain them to someone else - which requires considerably more understanding than simply performing them. Since each person learns a little differently, and often needs a little different explanation, I learn each time I teach something to someone - first from the instruction, then from the individual differences in perception and performance, and the feedback on that which necessitates still more understanding and explanation.
 

bluemtn

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I'm a student that regularly helps with the lower-ranked students. I believe that help teaching, teaches you to "re- think" what you already know. What you understand in one way doesn't always work with the next person. I've found that I've had to "slow down" in some ways, and go step- by- step, when I've been used to been just doing it. It also can correct/ build on what you already know.
 

Brandon Fisher

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Always. I understand things much better after I have to explain them to someone else - which requires considerably more understanding than simply performing them. Since each person learns a little differently, and often needs a little different explanation, I learn each time I teach something to someone - first from the instruction, then from the individual differences in perception and performance, and the feedback on that which necessitates still more understanding and explanation.
You just hit it on the head. That is one reason I love teaching so much!!
 

Last Fearner

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I believe that for any of us to say that we are a student first and foremost is a given. No one starts out in the Martial Art as an expert, and certainly not as a qualified instructor. So, who could say they have stopped learning? Only a fool.

I am an instructor and I train with my instructor occasionally (monthly). I am a student when I train with my instructor. When I teach, I learn more about the art itself, but I also learn about each individual student, and I learn more about how to teach. So, for me, if I say I am a teacher, being a student goes without saying for I am no fool.

Commentary is also requested - how do you define instructing? Assisting? What is the difference between an assistant instructor who teaches independently and an instructor? Are there rank requirements in your organization for instructing, and does that impact whether you are an assistant or a full instructor, regardless of your duties?

By my definition, an instructor is a person who has been properly trained to teach a specific curriculum. Anyone can "share" knowledge, and skills they have acquired, and this could be viewed as "teaching," but that would be a loose definition. I believe there needs to be guidance when learning a complex, and in-depth course of study, and guidance when learning to teach. Teaching is a skill, and proper teaching goes beyond passing on information from one person to the next.

In my school (and typically aligned with our National Organization) an advanced student is considered a "senior student" to those who are junior. Senior students are often charged with the responsibility of leading by example, giving commands, and helping to ensure the class runs smoothly. Senior students occasionally answer basic questions to remind students of what they already know, and help them to better understand what they are doing. Senior students may be of any rank higher than the other students in the class, but are typically in the 3rd, 2nd, and 1st grade level. Senior Students are class leaders, but do not lead a class, and do not teach new material.

For our purposes, only a person who is on the instructorship training program may assist in teaching. Usually, this means they have completed at least one instructor training seminar, and have received a certificate of completion. "Assistant Instructors" are those who have been trained and certified in the beginning level, but are not qualified to run a class on their own. They may only teach portions of a class under the guidance of a certified instructor. Assistant instructors do not run any classes in the school, programs outside of the school, or their own school. They simply "assist" a certified teacher. They might be a 3rd - 1st grade color belt, but are often a 1st or 2nd Dan.

An "Instructor" is one who has completed the required instructor training to be certified to teach independent of supervision, but is still under the direction of a "Senior Instructor." They are typically required to be at least a 1st Dan, but might be 2nd or 3rd Dan. The head instructor or owner of the school will monitor the progress and training of any certified Instructor within his or her school. A certified Instructor may be placed in charge of an outside program under the authority and indirect supervision of the Senior Instructor.

In our school, instructor certification and upgrading as an instructor is separate from rank promotions (although they may occur at the same time), however there are minimum rank, and age requirements. Being a Black Belt does not automatically make someone qualified to teach. I also do not favor the concept of "independent students" (those without teachers), or "independent instructors" (those with no Senior Instructor, Master, or Grandmaster to answer to). Everyone of every level needs instruction, and guidance to keep them doing right, and improving their skills as a student, and an instructor. Trial and error, guesswork, and "self-teaching" only takes longer, repeats mistake unnecessarily, and can damage students.

This is how I view the concept of instructorship training.
CM D.J. Eisenhart
 

MJS

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Here is a new twist to this. As anyone thought of themselves as a student while being a teacher. If teaching someone else is supposed to teach you also wouldn't you be a student also?

I'll always be a student. Even though I teach at times, there is still much more for me to learn. :)

Mike
 
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