Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Joy of teaching

I believe that I've been born with the love of teaching. One of the most enjoyable games that I played was to place all of my toys in order, and to "teach" them school.

As I attended school myself, I was always the student that everyone turned to for tutoring on their confusion.

I have always felt a joy within me when I was able to help someone learn something that they didn't know before, or when I could help someone succeed at their goals.

So, enter this lady into a karate dojo... It wasn't too long that this little white belt was watching a fellow white belt struggle by themselves with the technique they were learning. So, what did this "brand new to karate" woman do? She took the little bit of skill, and knowledge that she had acquired from listening to Sensei, approached her fellow student and said "I really don't know this any better than you, but maybe together we can figure it out. I remember Sensei saying that we need to do this.."

Well.. by orange belt ( 8th kyu), with only 6 months of experience in the arts, I was allowed to help introduce very simple basic techniques to the brand new students, especially the little ones under the age of 8 years old.

Unorthodox.. That is the start of the description of how I creatively recreated the way to teach the simple basics to little ones whose attention would shift every 10 seconds. At one point, to keep their focus, I said to the kids.. "O.K..! I want you to be like little trains.. Punch, punch.. punch.. punch.. choo.. choo.. choo.. choo..." Sensei happened to be walking past me at the time, and I received one of those LOOKS of "What the heck are you doing?".. and a quizzical "Choo.. choo ?" formation of his lips. Now that I look back at that moment with the knowledge of the arts that I have now, I can't help but laugh. However, back then, I was a Mom who was trying to teach little ones and to reach them on their level. I got results though! The kids responded well, and learned.

As I gained in understanding, and knowledge of the arts, I became more and more efficient as a helper to my fellow students. I do not see myself as a teacher anymore, but more as a support, and guide to helping the other person uncover the information within themselves that will bring them to their goal.

Oh I love this challenge! That look of realization that fills their eyes as they understand what it is that they are doing, and how to do it. The look of satisfaction as they go from awkward movements to confidence. The look of happiness as they come to enjoy karate as much as you.

The words of wisdom from my internet Sensei friend, Paul, fills my mind each time I face the challenge of helping my fellow students: "Teach with knowledge, and not derision." Yes! That is so right! That is the kind of Sempai that I chose to become. Thank you, Paul.

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