When was the last time you tried to learn something new?
Do you remember how you felt fumbling through new information or trying to learn new skills?
My 4 yr old son (John David) is learning to play the piano using the Suzuki method (which as far as I know, makes it possible to learn to play before learning to read music). As part of the Suzuki method the parents play a big role and he has to practice everyday.
That means I have to be able to do what he’s doing and know what to have him do everyday. I’ve never touched a piano in my life!
So here I am with my two hands that, for 30+ years, have suffered numerous breaks, constant pounding and have been trained just to smash things, trying to delicately play the piano.
To be blunt, I’m terrible. My joints lock up, my pinky finger gets stuck in place and my hands are actually sore after practicing the little bit that I do.
I’m getting a crash course in what it is to be a beginner and it’s ROUGH!.
I bring this up because as an instructor you must always be paying attention to what it’s like for your students, especially at the beginning of their training.
They want nothing more that to be able to do what they see higher ranks do, what you do and perform at a high level. But sometimes their brain is not communicating with their body they way it needs to in order to have hands, feet and breath all come together in a single coordinated action (or hit the right piano keys).
When you are teaching, take a moment and remember what is was like for you as a beginner. When you get present to what they are going through and their experience of class, they’ll feel like you understand them, are on their side and want them to succeed. This makes an enormous difference in their experience of class, in their trust in you as a mentor and ultimately in your student retention.
Otherwise, to them you become just some “karate guy” who is trying to get them to do something that they don’t know how to do, or don’t think they can do. In their eyes it seems like you’re saying “you suck!”
Eventually this will lead to nothing but frustration and bad experiences, causing students to quit before you know it.
Again, I remind you to put on your white belt goggles and continue to to see things through the eyes of a beginner.
I can’t stress how critical this is for you success as an instructor, a school owner and the success of your students!
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