Last week I taught the first of 7 classes as a guest instructor at a Summer Camp that my son goes to. When the camp director “Miss Karyn” asked me what the kids should call me so that she could introduce me, I told her Mr. Karstadt.
You would have thought she was having seizure.
It made her so uncomfortable that she asked me if I’d go by Mr. John or Mr. Johnny. I smiled and said no.
With her eyes wide open with concern and shock, she walked to the front of the group visibly uncomfortable and introduced me.
Afterwards she told me how awkward that was for her. I smiled.
You already know we live in a time when authority and discipline are considered not nice, mean and insensitive. Teachers, educators and mentors are more interested in being a child’s friend and being liked than they are about teaching, educating and mentoring.
You teach a martial art. It was developed on a foundation of authority, discipline and respect. It matters that you are called by your last name and there is no reason why you should water down what you do and who you are because it might make someone uncomfortable. (Maybe that person needs your class.)
Will people be uncomfortable? YES.
Is uncomfortable bad? NO. It’s just different.
There’s nothing wrong with people being uncomfortable. What you are doing is different and when they see you sticking to your standards they will respect you for it.
If you let your students call you Mr. John or Mrs. Katie… STOP NOW.
It diminishes who you are and what you teach. Your students need to know that when they step into your school that they are in a unique environment that they can’t get anywhere else. When you cave and start taking actions to be your student’s friend, your school quickly becomes the same as everywhere else and your students and families will treat you as such.
About the Author:
Mr. Karstadt is the founder of 1 TKD Consulting and owns the longest running ITF Taekwon-Do school in Arizona, Karstadt Taekwon-Do in Phoenix, AZ with his father Master David Karstadt. He has been training since 1984, earned his Black Belt at the age of 8 and is currently an internationally renown intstructor teaching the culture, discipline, leadership and business skills of Taekwon-Do in classes and seminars to Instructors around the world. He has been a member of eight U.S. Taekwon-Do Teams and has traveled to 14 different countries competing in Taekwon-Do. He has won numerous medals at the World Championships and in international competition, most notably winning the 2004 World Championships in South Korea with two gold medals and the Men’s Team All Around Trophy. Mr. Karstadt currently resides in uptown Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and three children. Mr. Karstadt can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com