Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Missing pieces

Yesterday was the day Drew has his class, and as it's getting closer to testing time, SW was really putting the kids through the ringer. It wasn't bad, and the kids were calling her mean and evil, but she took it as a compliment. Little do they know what she's REALLY like when she gets mean and evil! Don't get me wrong, she can be really good with kids too, but when she lays down the law, it's grounded!

I normally don't watch Drew's classes and try to stay out, but yesterday was a little hard. I had my knitting with me, and was catching up with one mom I hadn't seen for a while. JR, her son, started TKD before Drew by a few months, and he's only a little older than Drew (6 months), but he hasn't taken any breaks, and he even got to the point where he *wanted* to move up full belts and know the whole form instead of half forms. He only has to know half until he's 7, but according to JR's mom, the last two cycles he's been doing full belts, so he's already a brown belt. Drew, on the other hand, granted, he's working on getting his full camo belt (bottom of the upper level color belts). If he hadn't taken so many and such long breaks, he'd be further along too. But I couldn't help watching Drew, as I think that he's one of the, if not THE youngest in his class, even if it's by a matter of months. He's also the lowest ranked one in that class. He's in the right class, mind you, but everyone there is at least 2 or more full belts ahead of him. And they are learning the hardest color belt form right now. But somehow, I felt that he wasn't getting the attention he needed when he needed it. And I'll tell you why.

As I watched Drew, he was making really blatant mistakes. And as SW watched all the kids, yes, some of them were making mistakes, but Drew was making the most and worst of them. Right off the bat, he's supposed to do a slow square block on one side, then shift his weight to the other side, and reverse it. He does the first half wrong, and the second half right. How can you not notice one set of hands going in the opposite direction from everyone else? It's things like that which were occurring. He was doing his reverse hook backwards too-- wrong leg, turning the wrong way. I mean, blatant! Now, I understand that it's a hard form. And it's his first time doing it, and he'll do it again probably this time next year. BUT, whether these other kids have to know more or not, I would think Drew should still get corrections, which he's not.

When it came time for board breaks, he got away with doing a palm heel break. Every class, I encourage him to try a new break of some sort. He doesn't do it. And nobody seems to push him to do it. I know he doesn't like change, and he's comfortable with that, and they were trying to make sure the kids who had to break for testing got their practice in (which were all but Drew and another kid). But still--I'm working at that place so I can afford to send him, and he's not getting that individualized attention he needs other than in disciplinary ways, and that not helping him progress. He did get a little wacky and rough in sparring, but it was quickly resolved, and even another kid (not Drew) was complaining that some of the other kids were being too rough and he had to sit out. Drew also had to be separated for weapons, because they are showing much more complicated stuff, and he's just not ready for that. They just tell him, "Okay Drew, work on your freestyle.". He doesn't know the form they've been teaching for freestyle. He just stands back there and plays with his JB. That's not learning.

I feel like I have to have a discussion about it with SW. I know she's can't necessarily personalize it just for Drew, but if there are things that he needs help on, and he won't let me help him, then he has to get it from her.

While I know she understands his needs very well, and is more capable of handling him than a lot of places, I sometimes wonder if he should transfer to Master C's. He doesn't realize that they are tougher on kids than SW is, but it's closer, and maybe he'd respond better to Master C's teachers. I don't know. I would think it'd be worse because they don't know Drew's history and why he does what he does, whereas my school knows him almost too well. I don't know. I think I have to have a talk with her. I don't expect Drew to be doing this perfectly, but I do expect him to have his form down a lot more closer to correct than what I see now. And while he's being challenged in some ways, he's not in others where he should. I don't know. It's rather confusing and frustrating to watch, knowing what I know.

ETA: I did send an email to her this morning, since I know I won't have a lot of time to talk to her when she comes in this afternoon, to voice my concerns. I really tried to say to her that I realize Drew is not an easy student, and I don't expect perfection, but he does need help and I'm not sure how to go about this. Hopefully she'll respond positively.


Penelope said...

This sounds to me more like the "we need more instructors" issue. She really shouldn't be the only person on the floor because even she can't see everyone all the time. This used to be (and is supposed to be) stuff that leadership/trainee instructors should be doing. Even the RWB collars could be assisting in that class (and probably should be). I understand why you wouldn't/shouldn't since Drew's in it. It's sad that there isn't anyone else around to help out. I know that leadership used to be less about points at her schools, it's sad if that's changed so much that she won't encourage younger leadership students to assist in classes.

I hope she responds (or responded) well to the e-mail. Good luck.

Windsornot said...

I think you are right, it's having enough instuctors on hand. So many graduated and went to college or moved on in the last year, that she's short handed. There's maybe 4-5 teens that are r/w/b or just promoted to red (AS) but aren't there regularly to help, and many of the ones who used to be there but didn't graduate aren't there right now. It was just JZ and SW yesterday, and while in many respects they could handle that, it still didn't seem like enough. SW taught while JZ took a slight break, and vice versa, both handling kids during weapons. It was rough. She hasn't responded as of this writing, but perhaps she will when she comes in. I don't know. For all I know, I caught her on a bad day, and you know how that goes. :-S