Thursday, March 16, 2006

Drew's class yesterday went fine, for what I watched of it. I was doing a lot of chatting with one or two moms, and then I was talking to Ma'am about the leadership program for me. Mr. Anderson was teaching, and I think he's got a better grasp of keeping things moving along for the kids than the teenagers do sometimes, so Drew was responding well. He still makes mistakes, but once he's in class, he does things with extra...vigor, for sure. He seems to be enjoying having his punches and mouthpiece, for sure, and paying attention better in class. He'll say he doesn't want to go, but once he's there, he's having fun. Even a parent commented that to me, that he seemed like a very happy boy in class. He's also one of the youngest, but he holds his own pretty well.

So, I finally got the guts to talk to Ma'am about stuff. She was very open and not critical at all. One strong suggestion she made for Drew was putting him in the Masters program instead of keeping him in Basic. I told her that she was preaching to the choir about getting the rest of his gear, because soon enough, he'd be bored with just having his sparring gear. It's JC who's holding things up on that. And for good reason-- it's about $300 for the equipment, let alone that his tuition would double because he'd have to take class twice a week. I mean, you can't blame him for his hesitancy in that, especially considering Drew's only 5. JC's argument, too, was, "What happened to letting him try soccer or basketball?" I said we'd to that TOO, not instead of, and it wasn't so easy to find something for Drew these days. He also suggested maybe taking Drew back to My Gym (the kiddie gym) for gymnastics and tumbling or something like that, as that's what Drew seemed to like best, and I told him I'd look into it.

So I did the research. I found out that going to My Gym once a week was more money that Drew going to TKD twice a week per month. JC was also getting things confused about camp and extracurricular activities, especially with his overly mindful eye on the budget. So, I spent at least a good hour and a half talking to him about the costs, programs, etc. available for Drew, and discussing my desire to join leadership and put Drew in Masters. Not including equipment fees, application fee for leadership, etc., just TKD tuition alone would be $300 a month for both Drew and I together for TKD. Granted, that's a lot of money. I'm not denying that. If I stayed in Masters and Drew upgraded to Masters, that'd be $260 a month. There are definitely different perks in going into Leadership program, as Ma'am put it. She sees it as you can be a Leader and help in that role, or you can be a Leader/Instructor. She said the ATA usually views adults looking at the Leadership program as potential school owners. She doesn't do that, because not everyone is cut out to do that. Some are cut out just to be leaders, and some are cut out to become instructors but not owners, and some are owners as well. She doesn't put pressure on anyone to become an owners or instructors. I'm fine with that. She did explain to me that part of being an instructor trainee is learning the business end too, which she felt confident was the easy part for me-- doing the sales pitch, calling back potential students' parents, etc. She said there was definitely opportunity since she was opening a school in Pennington, and there's an inner city school in Trenton too. (Of course, my mind is already racing to Pennington.) She also mentioned that there is the Leadership class on Wednesdays after regular class where you review and learn how to teach forms, etc., and there is also workshop classes on the occasional Sundays to learn and earn your teaching stripes (yes, you even have to earn stripes like belts in teaching). I'm game for that, I think. I even explained to JC that even in just being a Leader, at least if I compete, I'll rank, whereas with Masters I can compete and beat everyone, but not rank. That's like a tennis player beating everyone at Wimbledon and all the tennis opens, and still doesn't get seeded. That's just wrong!

JC's response was, "But is this what you really want to do? Is this what your life dream is to be?". I honestly said that I don't know, but I think I have a lot of the right qualities to become an instructor. I like working with kids, and I think I have the right demeanor for working with them. I like that the ATA works with disabled kids, and I have a pretty good knack for that. I have the business acumen for it. I like what the ATA stands for and what it promotes. The ATA promotes volunteerism, using your mind, good academics, and being a good citizen as much as it promotes the sport. In fact, the recent ATA magazine said in it that unlike other TKD organizations where the emphasis is on the physical, with the ATA, the emphasis is on the mental aspects. Anyway, he agreed with my assessment, but he's still unsure, especially because of the financial commitment, and I understand that, because that's the major part of my hesitancy. I'm not making enough money at the moment to support my "hobby" (or at least this one) at the moment with my other "hobby" (TBSAH), which I admit I've let lag big time. And I'm trying to get that up and running again.

We made a decision for Drew that he'll take a break from TKD this summer in favor of camp (which I was going to do anyway), and he'll take it through the end of the school year, and then start up again in September when he starts kindergarten. Maybe at that point, he'll be ready for it again. In the meantime, I have two weeks to decide whether we can pull this off. I'm still going to be doing classes during the summer. I have the 2 weeks deadline as the next tuition payment is going to be due, and if changes are going to be made, it should be done now. I can get some of the equipment later, or as time goes on, no biggie. And I can do my stuff that I do have to do now in payments. But it's being sure that this is what I want to do, and getting JC behind it 100% both in spirit as well as financially. This is hard. :-(

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