What would you tell a future teacher?

Earlier in the week I wrote about being on a journey.  At the end of the month I will be testing for a Master’s Rank in Martial Arts.  One aspect of this test is that our Grandmaster did not want to produce empty headed warriors.  At Black Belt students are required to write 1,000 word essay and answer a 100 question test on history, terminology, etc.  Within our studio, we have taken this requirement and broken it down into smaller steps so that all of our students have been working towards this goal (ie 50 words, then 75, then 100, etc for the essay and smaller tests in the beginning, gradually getting longer and more in-depth)  But I have digressed from my point.

This essay that is required at black belt is also required at Master’s Rank.  Only at Master’s Rank it is a 20,000 word essay.  After much contemplation I have decided to write mine on an instructor’s box of tricks, a toolbox if you will.  What does every good instructor need to know or be able to do in order to lead a class?  What do we as teachers do really well to make sure that information is passed to our students?  How do we go about teaching the next generation of leaders so that they may be better than us?  Here are just a few of my thoughts:

  1. Know each child by name
  2. Always find the positive before you offer a correction
  3. Greet everyone with a smile, a hello at the door, etc.
  4. Body language is important
  5. Be kind on purpose
  6. Know your audience
  7. Have a plan B, and C, and D, and E
  8. Offer different ways to teach the same skill
  9. Have 3 reasons why you are teaching in a certain manner
  10. Use focus anchors to bring everyone back
  11. Have clear expectations
  12. Practice zero downtime.  Even downtime has a purpose.
  13. Always look for professional development

I would love to hear your thoughts.  My goal with this list is to then design skills and drills to enhance my students understanding of what each of these mean.  They are our future leaders but they need to know how to be leaders. Too often we put people in positions of leadership who don’t understand how to lead, how to communicate, or how to pass on knowledge or ideas.  My goal is to change this, one person at a time.

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One thought on “What would you tell a future teacher?

  1. Wow! Congratulations on testing for your Master’s Rank. What an impressive achievement! And I love that your Grandmaster requires an essay – impressive (if hard work). Your list is thoughtful and thorough already. I might add… be flexible: remember that people have reasons for their behavior, even when you don’t understand them; and laugh!

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