Being a Sensei is not as easy as getting a black belt and having the money to open a dojo or having the option to teach at a YMCA or community center. There really is a lot more to it!
I know a lot of people do this but have little to no training on how to be a teacher. In the beginning it might not seem as bad because most people use a do as I say model, but what happens when the students start asking questions the instructor doesn’t have an answer too? What happens when they stop making progress?
Being a Sensei is more than teaching a set of techniques.
I started learning to teach by apprenticing under my Sensei (father) for several years before being allowed to teach in the dojo on my own. Later I was appointed as the Chief Instructor of the dojo, when he moved away. A couple of years later I opened my own dojo, but I continued to learn. In my professional life I attended Instructor development and multiple instructor, teacher trainer and so called master instructor courses. Over the years I have changed the way that I teach and relate to students, partially due to these classes but also through the help of my wife and my children, and continuing to learn for myself.
While I cannot give you all of the answers or teach you how to be a great teacher in this article, I can give you something to help get you on the way. Have you ever taught a class and heard the student make comments like “I can’t do this” or “This is too hard”? Have you yourself made the same comments? Have you ever said “I will never be that good”?
Chances are that if you continue to think like this, then it will be exactly the way you think it is.
When you hear your students or possibly even yourself saying things like;
This is too hard, change it too – This may take some time and effort.
I can’t do this, change it too – I can always improve, I’ll keep trying.
I am not good at this; ask yourself what am I missing?
I can’t do _____ - I am going to train my mind and body until I can do ______
If a student says I made a mistake remind them that mistakes can still help them improve.
I have had several students say “I will never be as good as ____, if they would instead change their thought to be “I am going to figure out what ____ does and try it.” Imagine what the outcome could be!
What about those students that say “It’s good enough” how are they limiting themselves? What if they said “Is this really my best”
You would be amazed at the potential people could have just through changing the way that they think or word things.
Change your words and change your mindset