Thursday, June 15, 2006

I don't always enjoy kids teaching me

Tonight, Victoria, aka Miss Plummer, was teaching tonight's class. Now, she's a good kid overall, and I generally get along with her, but I think I've decided that I don't always like her teaching style. But then again, I think I have a problem with learning stuff from teenagers. Now, it's not that I don't respect their rank and experience. On the contrary. But when a teenager starts talking down to me, and putting me through things that if I was their age and about 60 lbs. lighter, I could do, but being an "old" woman and quite overweight, plus having some health issues (exercise induced asthma and very bad knees-- see yesterday's post), I get a little pissed. I mean, come on. I know that TKD is not for the faint of heart, and generally I have the right spirit and determination. While I don't say, "I can't", I'm more prone to say, "I can't do that right now, but give me time," or "I'm unable to do that because I have physical limitations that inhibit me from doing so". Mentally, I'm usually the go getter. Even tonight, we were semi-casually talking about what each color belt means, and me, the next to lowest ranked one was giving answers that were at least on the right track, whereas the room full of red belts were all like, DUH. (The lowest ranked was a boy who just got his orange belt, so he wouldn't know.) Hello, McFly! They all should've been answering before me. I think in time, I'll be a good teacher, but I really don't like that a kid is ordering me around, and not showing respect as an "elder" to her in all areas except rank. I can kid around with the kids, but don't always think that I should be treated lowly simply because I'm a lower rank. That's just not right. There has to be a balance of respect, and I just see that it's not always balanced on the side of the teenagers and younger kids teaching. I respect their authority, but they don't always recognize mine. The more I think about it, I think it boils down to maturity. I think I do have a lot of the kids (both students and teachers alike) respecting me and feeling okay around me because I don't try to pull rank (unless necessary), and I also appreciate their strengths and weaknesses. I know the little boy in my class today felt most comfortable around me, because I didn't boss him around, but acted more as the educated peer, even though he's old enough to be my son. (Then again, almost all of them there were old enough to be my children.) But I let him feel it was okay to make mistakes, and that I was still learning and share where I mess up too, and show him my weaknesses so he can gain some strengths-- namely some confidence and good self-esteem with what he's doing. Because in the end, isn't that what a huge part of learning martial arts is all about? Learning to be confident in yourself and feeling a self-pride in your accomplishments, no matter how you got there and made the effort? That's what martial arts should be about, especially when teaching it to a young kid. This is why it is supposed to carry over into "regular" life as well. But to get a little cocky and not respect your elders as much is annoying.

We didn't do weapons, so I am still not sure what we are doing with that. My board break didn't come as quickly today, but that's okay. I still got it eventually. And I was so exhausted and sweaty after sparring (4 rounds! Bleeck!), that I was literally dripping when I took my headgear off. And that was with the A/C finally working and it now being "Every Day is T-Shirt Day" for the summer. I am physically tired, and am looking forward to my shower and going to sleep tonight. That is, if my sick son sleeps through the night.

I also signed Drew and I up for the summer tournament. Of course, I don't know what I'm doing, but at least I'm signed up, and Drew and I are going to get our Competition Team t-shirts. :-) Ma'am also handed me the sales script that Mr. Bassett wants to use. She said it should be simple for me, but I'll still have to study it. I might even make a form to fill out so that I can fill out info pertaining to the sales calls later. I still don't know when I'll be starting, but I suspect it will be soon. Ma'am mentioned something about them getting into the building, like the lease on the space starting, on July 1st, and probably the actual opening will be soon after that. Drew will be coming with me in the afternoons while I field calls in the afternoons, so that should prove to be interesting. It's gonna be a TKD summer for sure!


John Vesia said...

Some people have difficulty being in charge. And kids, by their nature, are immature. But nobody has a right to be "talking down" to you, or anyone else for that matter. Being authoritative doesn't mean being condescending. I had a similar problem years ago with somebody (another instructor) so I asked him to join me outside, away from the earshot of the students. We talked for a minute, and the problem was resolved.

Windsornot said...

I agree, the word I was looking for was "condescending". That hits the nail on the head. And I totally agree-- having authority doesn't mean being condescending, so that is the key. Part of my problem is that with some of these kids, I feel like if I said something personally, they wouldn't pay heed, and I'm a little nervous about saying something to Ma'am (our head instructor), because she knows these kids better than I do, so she's more apt to defend them. I think she would agree with the main issue that we are saying, condescending vs. authoritative, but I'm not sure how she would take it. Once thing, for sure, is that I know the kids would listen to her before they'd listen to me.