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Old 09-29-2003, 09:10 AM   #12
Dojo: Great Wave Aikido
Location: Alberta, Canada
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 543
Peter Rehse (PeterR) wrote:
Call me lucky but I have yet to have one teacher that's stopped learning.
Man; I sure have, and given the talent of one of them; it's a real tragedy.

At the beginning of the thread; Bruce used the somewhat mangled ( ) line: "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach." As a teacher; I agree with this in many fields. Example: a trades teacher in a college may teach what he knows, and teach it well; but without the day-to-day work in that particular field; he'll fall behind in experience with his peers; sooner or later becoming hopelessly out-of-date in his knowledge - it's a difficulty we all have to deal with.

In dynamic fields like U/C or MA training however; it's different, or at least it's supposed to be. The teacher is teaching and learning right alongside his students, IOW both practicing and teaching within the field. Ideally; he'll improve himself while improving his students.

Unfortunately; the ideal doesn't always work for two prime reasons: 1) the instructor's teaching skills are less than they could be, or 2) the instructor's ego is greater than it should be. If 1) is the case; it may be because the instructor doesn't have the skill to balance both teaching and learning - a universal problem easily solved through identification and practice. If 2) is the case; the instructor may have the "I know more than you" mindset, and refuse the chance to learn in the mistaken belief he doesn't need to know more. As Lynn pointed out (in a sideways sort of fashion ), the best teachers are those who consider themselves students, and quite happily join in the training with the group. This does far more than keep the insructor's skills up; it brings them down to a human level for the students; gives the students something to respect far greater than mere rank.

For myself; as an instructor I've always looked upon myself as a servant to my students - everything I do in relation to them is for them; not for me. Admittedly; it's cool being a teacher, and I always get the ego-rush stepping to the front of the classroom. But my greatest rush is seeing my students excel - that's after all what I'm there for. Down the line when I start teaching Aikido; I'll approach it with the same attitude - my students' success will determine my skill as a teacher.


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