When it comes to teaching children anything it can be either a complete drag, or the most fun you will have the whole day. Your attitude will determine whether or not the clock will slowly inch it’s way to the next minute or run out before you realize class is done. I will explain here in Afterschool Kung Fu Fun the three ‘E’s to actually enjoy teaching a kids class no matter the age.
Afterschool Kung Fu Fun
The first thing that must be done is to establish a line of discipline with the student’s. Without discipline there will be utter chaos in the class. No matter how fun the class is there will always be some sort of disruption. In my article Afterschool Martial Arts: Showing You Care I explain in details a few details about establishing discipline. Understanding the line between fear and respect is crucial. Contrary to belief you cannot force someone to respect you. You can make them act a certain which may be perceived as respect.
Respect is only achieved when the student’s know that you truly care about them. “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” This is a phrase I live by. Before class starts I try to speak to as many of them as possible. I can build individual relationships with them and they can connect with me. We build trust and respect this way.
Embrace Your Inner Kid
Once you have established your discipline your class will go much smoother than without. A focused energy rises in the class when discipline is held across the room. You must capitalize on this energy. To use it you must embrace your inner child. If your 12 year old self were to be in this class what would make it fun? Answer that question over and over and you will find you are making new and exciting ways to do drills. You will find yourself looking forward to class. It becomes a chance to really have fun with your class.
By “becoming a kid” again you’ll see that you have the ability to take the same workouts and put a new spin one them that the kids will love. A perfect example is around Christmas time. At Sifu Och Wing Chun we have the kids to military crawl for part of the warm. The spin I tell them is that they are the Grinch and they have to sneak through the house without getting caught. Another fun warm up spin is something I call “ninja mode”. The students pretend to be ninjas while I give them instructions. Whether it is running quietly or jumping to avoid the incoming “sword”. They are able to get a good workout hidden under the guise of pretend.
The last thing that must be done is crucial. You must learn to be efficient with your explanations. Since their young minds have trouble focusing you must be potent with your talks. Clear and concise are your best friends. If you are able to explain techniques quickly you can spend more time drilling, working on their focus and persistence. Long explanations can also wear them out. While you don’t want to skimp on good info you have to find the balance or their little legs won’t be able to handle standing still for too long.
To wrap things up. Three keys to having a good kids class: Establish discipline, Embrace your inner kid, and Explain quickly. If you can put all of these things together you will really enjoy teaching your kids class no matter the age.