Teaching and Training

I’ve been teaching classes for a while now and I’m happy to see the progression of my teaching skills, although, I still have days when I shake my head and wonder if I’ll ever be a really good teacher. I had a huge class last Thursday and had to teach them a new technique, something I’ve done a million times -the technique, not the teaching part. It was so hard to take the skill I knew and translate it into words.

Harder yet was keeping every single one of the beginner students on track, moving in the right direction, same feet and hands going at the same time. It was a giant challenge for me and I left the floor with a smile on my face but sadness in my heart that I hadn’t given them the best teaching that I should have. I was really hard on myself about. It was very nice when another instructor took me aside and gave me a pep talk about the class. This instructor was there to critique my teaching skills, mentoring me along so their comments were not designed to cheer me up because I was kicking myself. It was just the right thing at the right moment. They admitted that it was an overwhelming task with the large number of students that I had but I’d handled it well.

I tried to take those words to heart but realized when I got home that evening that I was still being really hard on myself. I was striving for perfection. I am always striving for perfection on the mat. I recognized my weakness in teaching and knew what I would have done differently in hindsight. It ended up being a very good learning experience for not just my students but me as well.

Hopefully, I’ve gleaned something from the experience that will make me a better teacher the next time I step on the mat. I know that I’ve recognized something in myself as a student as well. Striving for perfection is good – its what makes me keep going and practicing my karate. I won’t be perfect when I’m a black belt, I’ll just be beginning to learn.

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