Saturday, January 21, 2006

Student Teaching

Cavio did lead the all-belts class today, something I know she's wanted to do for a while. She had the basics just fine. She knew the order of our workout, and had some new ideas as well for the small group of us there. The students, most of whom were around her age, followed along pretty well, at least during the first part of class.

The hard part about teaching, though, is maintaining a connection with a class and maintaining authority. That got tricky for Cavio as the class went along, as might have been expected.

I think it would be very difficult to maintain authority with your peers--especially if your peers are high school and middle school kids . . .

For some odd reason, Alissa and Stephanie started acting up. This completely confused me. I thought they were friendly with Cavio, or at least would be allies with her in teaching. I would have thought they would have wanted Cavio's class to go well--to prove that girls can teach as well as Justin. But that's not what happened. They were silly and disruptive.

I know that they occasionally read my blog. Perhaps they'll explain to me what was happening.

Cavio handled that scene as well as can be expected. After telling the girls to stop goofing around and ordering push ups, Cavio chose to ignore them, which was a good tactic for someone her age. She didn't want to embarrass herself or her friends . . . I guess it's best to let the friends embarrass themselves. Still, it added a note of chaos that affected everyone.

It made me feel in an awkward position. As an adult there (one of 4), perhaps it should have been my job to get them in line. But those girls are my seniors. Also, it was Cavio's class. Also, I didn't know exactly how to handle it best without embarrassing everyone.

After class, the other adults and I were talking, and they expressed the same frustration--and others, too.

The main line of discussion was that chaotic classes run by teens might be the future for our shrinking school.

We have all been a bit worried because of rumors we've heard about Ms. Pryor. The rumors? That she's not just taking a break; she's left our school. I have not heard from Master Hughes anything about these rumors, but I wish I would soon. Not knowing is very hard.

Master Hughes has said recently that the black belts need to step up and help in teaching. That might be true, but at this point, we have no adult black belts who attend regularly, except Stacey. And she's about to embark on an evening MBA course.

If we're going to have to rely on other black belts besides Master Hughes, teaching, it looks like there will be many more classes run by teens who might know the material, but aren't quite ready to engage in real teaching and discipline. Justin is an exception; he's had a lot of experience and is doing well as a teacher these days, but he'll be going off to college soon.

I don't know what to make of all this. Some of the other adults were talking about just switching to other forms of exercise. I suppose I could do that, too. But I'm not learning TKD primarily as a form of exercise. I'm learning it because I want to learn a martial art. I hope that this desire isn't thwarted by dojang dissent and unhappiness.

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