5 Things I Learned from Teaching

Right now, I have been teaching for almost 2 years and I learned a lot about teaching. When you teach someone a form, you’re not only helping them but you’re helping yourself by remembering a form you did (doesn’t mean you shouldn’t practice). Say if a new student comes to Wu Tang, the higher level students can review from teaching them Tan Tuei 1-6 and then 7-12. When you review with the students you could also find mistakes so that’s another way of learning.

When I started teaching students I learned something you must have which is patience. You can’t just get angry because the student won’t get it how you expect it. Sometimes it might be even your fault. Like the time when I taught a student named Kenny and when I was teaching him Tan Tuei number 1 it took a long time to get a move (move before going down to Pu Tui) and was getting a bit frustrated. When sifu David saw Kenny and me struggling on different things he said to show him how to use it and what it’s form and when I did that he learned that move much quicker than before. I turned out to be my problem, so that day on if that happened, I would do the same routine sifu David showed me. Maybe sometimes it’s not your fault, but it’s their personalities.
One question that I answered to myself is why do the higher belts teach only? The answer is because of skill. When you get to a high rank you learn more advance forms and how to add more detail and sharpness of your forms. By learning that can add it into you old forms to make them look effective. When you teach them to a student though you shouldn’t teach it right away– you shouldn’t teach it right away because it might get confusing and the students will just end up with more questions. I learned this from sifu Marvin because when I was teaching young students and I taught them a lot of details that I just learned that are in forms. They just kept on getting more confused and that’s when Marvin told to just help them get the sequence right.
I also learned that your own attitude affects who you teach that’s why you must be fair and not be mean. Unfairness can affect the way people think and it will make them feel sad– that also may cause that student to do worse. That’s when encouragement comes in. Encouraging somebody even if they improve a bit always makes them feel better. When you do that, you also need to add some criticism because they also need to learn. Remember not to let kids take advantage of you just because you are giving them a lot of compliments.
Finally, the last thing I learned is how you teach the students. You first show them the movements and make sure they get the idea. Next you can tell them how it works, have them practice it on somebody so they can really use it in a fight. Now tell them to do the form as if they were doing the sequence on somebody. This might take some time for some people because they have to even out the power with their pulling. If that student can do that, then they can do the form in perfect sharpness.
– Sean Zhou, Age 11

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