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Am I justified in being angry?

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  • Am I justified in being angry?

    so today at 5:15 i had my children and jr. advanced class (7-11 blue and up). at about 5:20 2 of my female students (8yo blue and 10yo green) come in for their 2nd advanced class (5 min late). so i sternly said "come on, you guys are late. move quickly".

    so mom comes in after class to tell me that it was her fault they were late and that i was disrespectful talking to them that way. i explained to her that i know it's her fault, but i'm going to talk to all my students the same regardless of who they are (i.e. i think she is trying to pull some girl shit on me).

    her exact words: "i bring them here to teach them respect. the way you were talking to them makes them afraid."

    if i were the boss (i'm head instructor, not master, or owner) i would have said, you know what maybe this isn't the school for you then. i have had problems with this student and her mother before about what i teach and how i teach it.

    i'm going to talk to my master next time i see him and figure out the right action to take. however, i'm just wondering from you guys: do you think i'm justified in being a little steamed over the way she came up to me and talked to me today?

  • #2
    You should have hit her with a flying spinning back kick then laughed menacingly.


    • #3
      i didn't really get steamed until after she left. i felt bad because i had to cut one of the other kids i was talking to off because i couldn't pay attention to him.

      i mean i do like the girl despite the nasty attitude she gets at times. however, if her mother is going to act like this, i'm going to persued my boss to let her go.

      i am talking to him about it tomorrow. unfortunately i think i'm going to have to basically ignore the girl for a few weeks to avoid confrontation (assuming they return). also, i'm telling my boss i am not talking to them anymore and i will not go out to the lobby to watch the kids unless absolutely necessary (i.e. he's not in).


      • #4

        ledfut, you needn't go that far. when you are instructing, everyone (child and parent) must see you are in charge. they do not have the "right to show up late". nor do they have the "right to interrupt another student" to have thier way.

        if this parent was sincere about wanting the child to learn respect, then this parent must learn to demonstrate it as well.

        never discuss grievences during class time ever. unless the building burns down or someone is dead... there is no reason to do so. if you are talking with a student, the others have to wait thier turn.

        frankly, the girls were lucky to be allowed to train. most programs don't allow those who are late to join class.

        it may be in your interest to draw up a memo of class policies in writting and pass them to the parents. if you can get it on your website, so much the better.

        parents are prone to stagemother syndrome and they forget they are paying for a membership... they are not purchasing the right to take over.

        also, make sure you talk with your employer and make sure you are both absolutely clear on what is expected of the students and your methods of conflict resolution.

        when you are teaching, you are the boss. the parents have to get that. otherwise the children won't and soon.... out of business.



        • #5
          thanks for the advice everyone

          well i talked with my boss about it, and his feeling is similar to mine. i have lost those 2 students. he said he could feel it for several weeks and that the mother was just looking for a reason to snap at me so she can feel justified. he said that situations like this are more of the business aspect of running a martial arts school (which i'm horrible at).

          they were at testing on saturday. i only made eye contact with the mom once and she smiled. who knows maybe she was on the rag?

          now that all my testing and tournaments are done until the middle of the summer, i can get back to just teaching. hopefully that will keep everyone quiet.

          funny side story:

          saturday i had classes before testing and 2 kids showed up a bit late. i did the same routine, and dad says "it's not their fault". i said i understand but i'm going to give them a hard time anyway. all he said was "good".


          • #6
            Both students and parents need to be made aware of the rules and why the rules exist. The easiest way is to have a brochure (or even a small contract made up that both parents and students need to sign) explaining the general rules and the basic concepts. It may not be the student's fault but that doesn't excuse the student of the responsibility.

            "Yes, you're paying me to teach you, but so are all the other students. When you are late you disrupt the class and in doing so you are showing a lack of consideration and respect for others; the students, the instructor and ultimately, yourself. This is not merely a matter of money, but touches on something far more valuable that once lost can never be regained; Time."


            • #7
              well, the only time you disiplin a student or employee is in private. Scolding a student in front of the class, of course your going to make enemies that way. If you need to talk to them about being on time for class, i'd do that after the class is over with and not make to much of a big deal about it.

              some of martial arts is about disiplin and respect, but if the head coach scolds a student in front of everyone, thats usually reviewed as disrespectfull


              • #8
                Hi There,

                I thought I would just contribute to this thread, as I understand where you are coming from with the displine and respect. I have been teaching for about 14 years. I am from what you call the "old school". If you were late then you would be doing push ups regardless to who you are, if you did something wrong you would get hit, etc, etc. This is how my Master and Instructor taught me and it never did me any harm.

                However times change and the way people teach martial arts needs to change as well. You cannot teach people how your grand master used to teach. I am not saying that all the older generation instructors were super strict and disciplined. However a fair few of them would shout and hit you if you did something wrong.

                This was really brought home to me when I went to back to our main headquarters to teach. I was using the old style to teach and we were losing students and people were complaining. Then one day my master pulled me to one side and told me I can't teach like we did in the old days. The simple fact is that the majority of people's attitudes have changed towards what is right and wrong. Most people will come to the gym to keep fit and self defence. Getting the balance between firm but fair is difficult.

                Lateness is one of my pet hates and we combated most of the issues we faced with a simple rule sheet. This way everyone knows where they stand. When I used to teach if the person was late I wouldn't even need to say anything. They would do their push ups even before joining the class.

                However I will say this to you. If you treat teaching as a business. The kids are the future and where the real money is, so sometimes you will have to change how to discipline them, because you are not only teaching for them but also the spectators (the parents). The best way I found is to have a good communication between yourself and your students. I would always finish teaching about 5 minutes early, so that I could sit down with the student and talk to them about history, techniques, terminology. If I had a real problem with one of them I would take them to one side rather than doing it front of the whole class.


                • #9
                  dont feel bad, the mom sounds like the kinda parets you dont want to deal with anyway. what you think is going to happen if mikey gets a bruise or bloody nose in class? she's a headache. i feel sorry for her kids, because they are not going to learn consecuences. the kind of parents who argue to the school teacher that there kid should of got and A instead of a C. respect? if she doesnt have respect, the kids not going to have it either.


                  • #10
                    Old Thread - New Post

                    This is a consistent problem these days.

                    By way of introduction, I have been instructing the art of Aikido during the las 30 years or so. Formally, for the last 20. I'm 58 years old and my training was "old school". My first teacher made me start out in the children's class and do everything the kids did.

                    My second teacher in Japan did the same. He said, "If you don't want to teach children too, don't waste my time". That is his take on it. Me, I'm more ambivalent on the topic.

                    I've taught Aikido (formally) in Japan, the US, Mexico and in a Caribean Country that must remain nameless.

                    In my school here in Central Mexico, we have kids' classes 5 days a week but my son (24) does them. I will do them again in the future but that is the current division of labor.

                    I, however, am in charge of my own classes and the business in general. So, I have to interface with all of the students.

                    Our biggest problem is the parents (most often the mothers). I had a case of a mother who demanded to know why I had promoted another child (her's was also promoted). I sat down with her and tried to explain that (1) all promotions are MY decision (and I was tactful) and, (2) I attempted to explain our criteria for promotions that is, that there are many subjective issues related to the testing that she might not be aware of and, (3) it was not her child so any conversation would be between me and the child's parents.

                    She was rude to begin with but I was not sucked into responding in the same tone. However, she got really angry and said, "well, I guess that you don't really care about my opinion on the matter!"

                    As I mentioned, I'm a little older so I said, "Not really". Expecting her to ask for more clarification. Didn't happen. She has not spoken to me since and obviously ingnores me when I am in the dojo. Fine with me. She pays on time and never brings her son in late. Oh, there was another mother who was there with the same attitude.

                    I believe that every student is valuable. He son loves the classes and so do the son and daughter of the other woman. And, not having her speak to me is just fine. She (and the other mother) just love my son. So, I leave it alone.

                    However, if she were to cause me any further problems, I would not hesitate to dismiss her from the school. It is important to bear in mind that we are in the martial arts out of love for what we do. If a customer takes away from your enjoyment of what you do, it may be better to fire them than to just "take it".

                    BTW, the fact that a person pays on time is not a reason to accept bad treatment from that person. After all, paying on time and being on time to the classes is the LEAST of what they should do.

                    Regarding my locale. This is a fairly up-scale city with about a million inhabitants in the general area. Our students are primarily middle to upper-class. The rest are body-guards and private police.

                    The main problem is that parents are over-protective of their children (if that is possible). They are accustomed to being served. Big shock when some find out that WE run the classes, not the other way around.

                    I know how parents are in the US. But here, it is also a problem. Striking a balance between being a traditional MA teacher and a good businessman is difficult. But, you know, it is a good life.

                    My conclusion? Always be polite and professional but don't sacrifice your principles or training. Don't compromise. Enjoy what you do.



                    • #11
                      Indeed! And thanks kindly for your contribution! (Welcome aboard!)

                      While I do not have issues with students or parents like this I'd like to say what a great experience it can be as a parent of a student.

                      I am fortunate to know a highly qualified instructor in our little community. Of course I wanted my son to learn some good sound fundamentals from the man. I think parents should be gratefull to indulge in the recreational and educational benefits kids get from a given discipline.

                      The "Master" of his school should be shown his due respect.

                      If you were giving piano lessons it should be no different. Maestro...

                      I admire your patience and diplomacy.


                      • #12
                        anger is a sin... i wouldn't justify it in any scenario


                        • #13
                          Life skills

                          I have to take the mom's side here and if it was my kids (not that I have any) I'd have been angry too.

                          If I walk in to my companies office and I'm late due to unforeseen circumstances then I'll say 'sorry i'm late'. This is as far as I know common courtesy . If my boss glared and said something abrupt, it'd either be met by mild nonchalance or blood and feathers time at the farm.

                          Basically, you could have been legitimately angry because they didn't show a simple common courtesy followed by your appropriate honorific, but instead it sounds like you behaved no better, snapping angrily. Does this serve to teach them discipline, or simply that it's ok to bully those of lower rank than themselves?

                          As to the business side, well teaching kids extra curricular activities is about them having something fun to do after school. The more they enjoy it, the bigger the class sizes and the more money for the institute.


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Mr. Arieson
                            Then you would be right at home running a typical McDojo, if that is your attitude towards martial arts training.
                            I wouldn't actually i don't really see the point in training kids at all in MA and I think most dojo's do do it for the money. If I seem somewhat cynical it's because of experiences teaching English in Asia.

                            I'm not saying you are like that I wouldn't make assumptions like that about someone I don't know.

                            Frankly, I question your attitude, Junka. Maybe you should be a PC, Knee jerk liberal, but leave the martial arts training to the experts. XF was exactly right.
                            Talking of assumptions you must be the first person who's called me a liberal lol. No offense but, you don't know me so leave out the personal remarks.

                            I once ran a restaraunt, and there was this asshole sitting there with his spoiled brat kid (who was a boy about 8 years old). The boy was screaming and throwing a tantrum like a little girl, and the dad was sitting there ignoring it, doing an object lesson. This went on for almost 15 minutes!
                            Your preaching to the converted. I just didn't find the OPs example a good one. I believe there should be more discipline, kids brought up to use 'Sir' and 'Ma'am' and for there to be consequences for bad behavior. If that had been my kid I'd have dealt with him.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Junka View Post
                              If I seem somewhat cynical it's because of experiences teaching English in Asia.

                              Why did that make you cynical?