Updated: Nov 11, 2019
Lets be real. It's a well known fact. Kids are tiring. Teaching kids takes it to a whole other other level. They can be loud, rowdy, rude, spacey, unfocused, silly, and just plain pain in the butts. HOWEVER, they can also be kind, brilliant, focused, determined, hardworking, resilient and all around wonderful.
Let's face it, everyone has their days. Even as adults. We don't want to go to work. We can't focus on anything we are doing. We get tired and grumpy too, but why does everyone think nothing of it when adults have bad days but when your students have bad days (some more than others) they are labeled as a "problem child" or a "bad kid"?
Kids are no exception. They are allowed to have bad days. That doesn't mean we just give up teaching them. In fact, it should be the reason that we give them even MORE attention. I know, I know, we already give "all of our attention" to kids, but is it really everything we have?
How many times have you caught yourself not correcting the student that you've already corrected 3 times? How many times have you caught yourself ignoring the mistake that the shy kid in the corner is making? How many times have you not complimented the "know it all" in the class? Sometimes we don't even realize that we are doing these things but they happen, consciously or subconsciously, they happen and I think it is our job as Sensei, coaches, instructors, and teachers, to make ourselves aware of these little things and STOP doing them.
Why does one kid, one student matter? Why not just have the general population of the class be great and just have a few bad seeds? The answer is simple. Why is any student better than the other? They aren't. Students come to your school/dojo for a variety of reasons. Some to help deal with bullies, some for an extra curricular, some because they need to work on personal skills like bravery and focusing to help them in ever day life, some come to you simply because they want to try something new and exciting. Some students may try and class and stay for the rest of their lives. Some students may try a class and stay for a few months and than quit. Some students may try a class and never come back. So what?
It does not matter who they are, how long they stay, or what kind of day they are having. Each and every student deserves the same amount of attention (and maybe even a little more) as every other student in that room. Is it hard? Yes. Can it be frustrating? Yes. Is it annoying? Yes. Might it burn out all your energy by the end of the day/week? Heck yes. Teaching kids is exhausting. We have already determined that. But have you ever thought of the long term? The rewards? The fruits of your labour?
To see the shy student that always chooses a spot in the back corner gain more confidence and start choosing the front and now answers questions.
To see the child that was full for self-doubt and worry achieve that next belt.
To watch the kid that struggles with a learning disability finally get the hang of a drill or memorize a kata/form/pattern.
To see the light in a students eyes when they get the hang of a tricky move.
To see the smiles on their faces when they check to see if mom and dad are watching.
To notice the pride they have in themselves after learning something new, no matter how simple.
Even to see the students that aren't so "tiring" set goals and achieve them, or become great class helpers/leaders/teachers.
All of those things happen because you took the time to teach these kids. To show them that no matter how hard something may seem, no matter how bad of a day they are having, no matter who they are or what they struggle with, these students can do it. It just takes time and effort...on everyones part.
Teaching kids is exhausting but it is the little things that make it so so worth it.