In addition, to teaching Martial Arts classes, I have a Master's in Education and I teach college courses part-time. I just finished submitting grades for the semester. [Sigh]. I love teaching, but I am continually amazed by the number of students in this generation who lack respect for others and their lack of ability to take responsibility for their own actions.
Responsibility for Their own Actions:
I had several students this semester who argued over getting B+, A-, and A's. I awarded 19 A's, 16 B's, 2 C's, and 0 D's. Wow, the emails I had to write to document my work and argue grades. The B students wanted A's. The A students wanted higher A's. More than once I bluntly said, "Not everyone can get an A+." I even told one student that if he had spent as much time on his paper as he did arguing about the grade I gave him, he would have received a higher grade in the first place.
Lack of Respect for Others:
Many students in my classes had a total lack of general respect for fellow classmates (not to mention the instructor). They would read novels in class, surf the web, play games on cell phones, etc. And this was even after I asked them to turn off their computers and phones during classmate's presentations. They didn't care. They did it anyway. I could write a book explaining what I did and didn't do this semester to counter-act this behavior and create a great learning environment. (So please don't comment on what I should have done. Trust me I did it).
My Take Away:
I may not be able to do anything about the current generation's behavior. I can encourage them to take responsibility and have respect for each other, but really this is something they should have been learning for the previous 20 years. The chance that my encouragement could change their behavior is minimal, but I do encourage because resigning that there is nothing I can do, is just as socially irresponsible.
How I Help through Martial Arts:
Long story short, this is where teaching Martial Arts comes into play. If kids aren't learning responsibility and respect in Grade School (or at home), then I guess I can help society by teaching it to my Martial Arts students. I strongly believe these are two life skills that are necessary to be successful and socially responsible in life.
I can promise you these are values we stress and require from all our students, from White to Black Belt. And their training in these two areas starts on day one. Students quickly learn it is their responsibility to remember to bring their belt, uniform, and gear to class. Even the 5-year-olds don't get to use Mom and Dad as scapegoats and say, "Mom, forgot it." Some parents say, "Why bother they are just kids." Ya, well, these kids will turn out to be adults someday and they won't have the skills to function if they are not taught. You may teach these skills at home, but I guarantee we will teach them in class.
If nothing else my Martial Arts students will stand out in society as outliers and hopefully will some day be recognized for their responsibility for their own actions and respect for others.
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