Teacher - Student Relationship

I found this on our friend Rylan's website and thought it was really good.

Written by: Andreh Anderson, Rey Diogo Black Belt
Taken from the Atama BJJ Forum of MixedMartialArts.com

Now that I'm teaching on a regular basis, I feel more prepared to comment on this subject. Before the teaching gig, I could only see things from the perspective of the student, so I usually kept my input on the subject to a minimum.

Here are some guidelines I think students and teachers should adhere to. This is just my opinion, of course.

Teachers:

1) The school should be open on time during the posted hours.

2) If you are listed as the head instructor, you should do the majority of the teaching. If you can't, you should make sure that you have replacements on call to fill in for scheduled absences and emergencies. If you do not plan to teach on a regular basis, the students should be aware of that at sign up.

3) Do not ask your students to do anything you aren't willing or able to pay/compensate them for. Asking a student to design your website for you as a favor, for example, leads to problems because you expect him to continue to pay for your services. Be clear in what you are willing to offer (a free month, privates, money) in return for the student's contribution.

4) Anything you plan to charge for should be discussed before the student signs up. If you charge for belt promotions, you should be sure to inform the student of that before he joins the school.

5) If the school is your business and primary source of income, keep friendships with students to a minimum.

6) Your word should mean something, so if you say you will do something, do it. If others say they will do something, hold them to it, as well.

7) Lead by example. You don't have to be a saint, but if you advertise that your school will help build character, you better exhibit it as well.

8) When you're there to teach, teach. Don't do anything that takes your attention away from the students during class time. If you're able to spend time with helping the students after class, that's a bonus, but at the very least you should give 100% to the class during the scheduled time.

9) If students are willing to compete while carrying your flag, you should be there from the start of the tournament until your last student finishes competing.

10) Be a professional. If life is treating you rough outside the school, don't expose your students to it. Life may be treating them rough, as well, and they are paying to escape their problems, at least for a couple of hours.

Lastly, and I know this will be different for each instructor, but if a student leaves, wish them the best and try not to take it personally. I had a student who was my #1 guy (in the sense that he trained the most often and worked the hardest) tell me he was going to switch to a school that was closer to his work and cheaper (due to a discount through his work). I told him I was happy that he found something more convenient for him, and that he was in good hands at that school. I asked him to remove my name from his website because he was teaching at another location, and he promptly did. A week later he texted me asking if he could come back. I welcomed him back.

I think that if you charge for services, you should treat your students as customers. They have the choice of where they should spend their money. That said, if I see that someone contributes to the academy by attending regularly, working hard, and helping other students out, Ill be sure to give them extra attention outside of class whenever possible.

As for the students:

1) Pay your dues. BJJ is cheap when you consider what you get from it. If you enjoy the school, support it by paying your dues on time. If you need to cut some expenses, try going or eating out less. BJJ is better for you anyway.

2) Work on what the teacher wants you to work on, unless its during open mat. As a teacher, I want to see students working on the techniques Im presenting that day. Once I open up the mat to sparring, I encourage them to use that time to either spar or to get together to problem solve or drill whatever they want.

3) Make sure the friendship with the instructor is natural, and not because you want something out of it (attention, promotion, acknowledgement).

4) Take the instructor's criticism as its intended. If the instructor tells you that you arent ready or that you need to work harder, dont make excuses or resent him for it.

5) Try to help the school grow. Do this for selfish reasons. If you help your teammates improve, your sparring will improve. If you bring in new students, you increase the opportunities for you to roll with different styles and levels.

6) Support your teammates when they compete. The best teams are the ones that compete the most.

7) Don't bring your personal stuff into the gym. If you're upset, dont let everyone else know. Sweat it out.

8) Dont worry about tapping. Nothing is more annoying than a guy who throws a fit after losing. Jump back in there and try again.

9) If there is a problem with the way the school is being run, discuss it with the instructor or one of the staff members. Don't keep it to yourself or gossip with the other students.

10) If you plan to leave the school, be honest with the instructor and don't say anything negative about him once you're gone.


I wrote this based on mistakes I've made, or have seen, in BJJ.

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Comment by Todd on February 19, 2009 at 12:54am
for you i'll make the exception.
Comment by Tangy on February 18, 2009 at 11:36pm
5) If the school is your business and primary source of income, keep friendships with students to a minimum.

so does this mean you don't want to be my bahdy? =*(

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