I've operated a martial arts school full time for 45 years. I may have made every mistake that can be made in this business. The reason I'm still in business, I believe, is I asked for help. I learned quickly that others before me had already found solutions. In this column, I'll point out key mistakes I made in my career, which are common errors among school owners, both large and small, throughout our industry. And I'll share the solutions I used to overcome them.
This is something I ask myself often. If I simplify it and remove martial arts from the equation, what the question really asks is "What separates a teacher from a good teacher?"
While you're thinking about that, I'd like to share with you the differences I see between teachers and instructors. To me, an instructor is someone who knows the techniques and can articulate the technical aspects well but might struggle to adjust to the different types of students. A teacher is someone who knows the techniques very well and can teach them to all students. A teacher has the ability to adapt and find the best way to teach things to each individual student as well as understand the best approach for a group. An instructor may struggle with leading a group of students of varying skill levels. A teacher will know when to push and when not to push, when to speak and when not to speak. Teachers, to me, are a bit more insightful.
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