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#167153 - 07/13/05 06:07 PM Ever get sick of teaching?
McSensei Offline

Registered: 06/15/05
Posts: 1069
Loc: Kent, England
We, who teach, all know of the tremendous feeling one gets when seeing students progress. I took a class two weeks ago where I could actually see the improvement happening before my eyes. Times like that are what make it worth it for me.
I do not get paid to teach, so it requires times like these to make it "profitable".
Unfortunately, of late things have been getting me down and
I've been thinking it may be time to stop.
The main thing that is affecting me is irregular attendance by some of the students.
I have 2 prolapsed discs in my spine and sometimes train and teach in some discomfort, so it more than annoys me when I hear excuses like, "I had a sore throat" or "I've got a blister" and such like.
Recently we've had some warm weather and the number of students that missed classes saying it was too hot, AAARGH!

Am I expecting too much for people to make a committment to get to training regularly?
If someone was to invite me somewhere at a time when I'd normally be training, I'd say no and try to arrange a different time. Most students would rather forsake their training it seems to me.
Out of the 20 or so students I have only between 10 and 15 show each week. Out of those only about 6 are there every week and it's quite often the most senior students absent, recently.
Is this normal for other dojos?
I would be interested to hear some figures for other clubs.

Edited by McSensei (07/13/05 06:10 PM)

#167154 - 07/13/05 06:24 PM Re: Ever get sick of teaching? [Re: McSensei]
still wadowoman Offline
Improved beefier techno-prat

Registered: 04/10/04
Posts: 3420
Loc: Residence:UK- Heart:Md, USA
You have to appreciate that most people see Martial Arts as a hobby in the beginning. For some of us, at some point, martial arts stops being just something we do, and becomes part of who we are. For the vast majority though, it remains a hobby or they quit.

As teachers, we have to remember that not everyone sees it the same way, frustrating though that can be. And we can only hope that, in our lifetime we inspire a handful of students to love it the way we do.

As for the question in your title, my answer is no, I never get sick of teaching.
Anyone mind if I sit down?

#167155 - 07/13/05 06:33 PM Re: Ever get sick of teaching? [Re: McSensei]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
McSensei -

I am sure you are aware that MA training is a cyclical thing to many people. When I was a full-time instructor, it was not unusual for weeks to go by with very low attendance at times, and then classes would start to fill up again.

There was not often an obvious rhyme or reason to it. Certainly people go on vacation, business trips, get injured, bored, etc...

I agree it can be a teeth-gritting ordeal to deal with whiners. There were days when I was ready to just have the whole class do pushups the entire time because a few people did not want to give their all.

I would not take it personally. However, if you are at the point where you feel YOU may not want to give it your all, it may be time to consider a change.

Edit to answer the original question -

No, I never got tired of teaching. Just all the injuries!

Edited by MattJ (07/13/05 06:36 PM)
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

#167156 - 07/13/05 07:16 PM Re: Ever get sick of teaching? [Re: McSensei]
butterfly Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 3012
Loc: Torrance, CA

The short answer is yes, I have been tired from teaching. But I get over it as class progresses. I too teach pro bono, but get my other classes for free. So I generally teach 2 classes per week. And find the same thing...some nights are weaker than others. But I understand that people are people and if they are paying for instruction (not to me), they can do whatever they want...or not, in the context of coming to class. I also understand that people are busy and I can't blame them for wanting to get some money first, before thinking of the dojo.

The problem is that I do this after work and go directly from work to the dojo...and this means usually 8-10 hours at work and sometimes no lunch..and no supper for me until 10:30-11:00PM. Evening classes are 6:30-9:00. People cool down and ask questions and work out a tad bit after class. I won't ask students to clean I vacuum and clean the mirrors and then pack up and leave around 10:00 PM sometimes a bit earlier.

So, if it's for one or for ten, my obligation remains the same to the student (s). I also recognize that I am human and get frustrated and tired myself...but I always try to put my game face on.

Qustion for you, McSensei, how long have you been practicing and how long teaching? Just wondering how you felt when you were a student and how long has it taken you to feel this frustration?

By the way, I have degenerative disc disease in my back along with a herniated I understand the back issues.


#167157 - 07/13/05 10:52 PM Re: Ever get sick of teaching? [Re: butterfly]
SANCHIN31 Offline
Former Moderator

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 3783
Loc: Arkansas, U.S.
We have a rule that is set from the beginning. If you miss three consecutive classes without prior notice you are out! We teach for free and have certain expectations.There have always been and will be circumstances that we can work around,but there's no reason for no call/no show.
If I get tired and need a break,I take one.I have other people that can cover for me. I've enjoyed teaching ever since I started 5yrs ago.It's been a good experience of learning.
Skinny,Bald,and Handsome! Fightingarts Warrior of the year

#167158 - 07/13/05 11:19 PM Re: Ever get sick of teaching? [Re: McSensei]
eyrie Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 12/28/04
Posts: 3106
Loc: QLD, Australia
It largely depends on your focus. Are you looking at these people as your "students" or your "clients"?

The means for motivating either group is exactly the same. However, how you motivate yourself to deal with either group is quite different.

Sometimes it's easier to simply change your perspective and how you are approaching the "problem".

Edited by eyrie (07/13/05 11:20 PM)

#167159 - 07/14/05 06:46 AM Re: Ever get sick of teaching? [Re: McSensei]
still wadowoman Offline
Improved beefier techno-prat

Registered: 04/10/04
Posts: 3420
Loc: Residence:UK- Heart:Md, USA
Sorry McSensei, I missed the bit where you asked for figures.

I have around 98 active students. about 60 of them train every single week (except vacation/illness etc). That figure drops to around 40 in the summer holidays. out of that 60, around 30 train between 2 and 4 times a week.
Anyone mind if I sit down?

#167160 - 07/14/05 10:14 AM Re: Ever get sick of teaching? [Re: McSensei]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3220
Loc: Derry, NH

I've been teaching amost 52 weeks a year (4 classes 2 youth 2 adult) for about 27 years and have never gotten tired of class.

I only allow 25 members in the program and the average attendance is as you experience.

But I turn out qulality students at as great a pace as a commercial program 50 times my size.

What I've found is karate can be a very part time development, and what is most important is that students don't stop training even if part time. The real issue is long term development. If the student stays with the training over the years they develop the same skills at times to a greater extent than larger programs.

This does not mean full time training does not have advantages, for it certainly does, but full time training does not guarantee the person will stay training 10 or 15 years either, and in the long run it's time that is the most important thing, IMO.

Our students live in a world that is constantly trying to dissuade them from training for multitudes of reasons. We're not living on a small island with only walking for transporation available to most. Our lives involve so many other factors, and if you're teaching youth, they are at the control of their parents and their activities.

But each class is a way to learn how to communicate the art more effectively, to understand what the students do know, what they've still to learn, how their learning process works, it has infinite potential.

And sometimes nobody shows up, and sometimes class is filled to the gills, and sometimes its continually changing.

One of the ways I deal with reality, is I make each class a unique experience never to be repeated, ever. And make the students understand when they can't be there, they're likely missing an experience that will not occur again. And it is the accumulation of those experiences that bulid their skill.

Teach who is there, experience that class fully, and let time pass.
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

#167161 - 07/14/05 12:25 PM Re: Ever get sick of teaching? [Re: McSensei]
1973 Offline

Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 20
I did classes for years and probably will again someday but right now just a few private students. Some days you don't feel like teaching front stance (or anything else) again for the upteenth millionth time. But I'm stll excited about martial arts. If you're in pain it's understandable that this will diminish you're enthusiasm.You may want to consider that now may be the time to start making certain demands of the students you elect to teach. Don't go overboard, but sit down and figure out what do YOU want. A large group with average interest? A small (or large) but very dedicated group, etc. Then what will I (reasonably) require of the students to weed out the ones that don't fit the type of student you want to have. Be prepared to show them the door, nicely, and don't accept just anyone who wants to train. In our enthusiasm to share our art and knowledge we often accept those who may be better off with swimming lessons or something rather than MA. Society has been teaching people that they should be rewarded with little or nothing required of them, sorry, not in my class. This may sound harsh or military-ish by todays standards ( what little they are), but you will only get from the students what you ask of them. As a teacher you give too much of yourself, time and talent, NOT to demand something back. Those students who can't give it to you will usually let themselves out. My opinion.

#167162 - 07/14/05 01:37 PM Re: Ever get sick of teaching? [Re: 1973]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
Well said, 1973.
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

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