Knowledge of techniques and adaptability to students aside, the one key factor that the teacher has absolutely no control over is the rapport he has with the student. Now I’m not talking about a teacher who isn’t polite, skilled, or a good person, I’m talking about the actual “vibe” that the student gets from the teacher and that the teacher gets from the student. Call it pheromones, a sixth sense or whatever, but certain people just rub other people the wrong way. Not intentionally of course, but on some level there is some sort of dissonance. If there is the slightest sense of incongruity between teacher and student, this will greatly hinder the ability for the student to learn and for the teacher to teach. I say this not for the teachers but for the students. Quite often teachers don’t have control over who they teach, but students have the choice of who they wish to learn from. If you are a student and have a teacher, who is not innately a bad person, and knows what they are talking about, but for some reason you just don’t get along with them, then I suggest that you try and find another teacher with whom you do get along. Your learning experience will not only be a lot more enjoyable, but a lot more productive as well.
The final quality that all good teachers have is an intense passion for what they are teaching. They should love or learn to love or at the very least have some appreciation for the knowledge that they are bestowing to those who have come to learn from them. In addition, they should be genuinely ecstatic for their students when progress is made. A good teacher will make their students passionate about whatever subject it is they are teaching. Whether its math, music, gymnastics, or martial arts a good teacher will infuse their students with a love and desire to not only learn, but to pursue. Students should leave class inspired to learn more. They should be counting down the minutes to the next class and do everything in their ability to prepare for it.
When I teach I teach with all of the above. I educate as well as motivate which, I believe, go hand in hand whenever any form of learning takes place. When students get a move I am genuinely excited for them! When they have that moment of realization that, “HOLY MOLY! I just did it! I can’t believe I just did it!” or “Yes! This is how I do this!” I can see it in their eyes, and I can relate to what it is they are feeling. It’s a feeling that I know all too well and it’s a feeling that’s almost like a drug: it’s the feeling you get when all of the work and effort you’ve put into learning something, all of the time, all of the falls, all of the failures, and all of the bruises– all of it finally pays off. It is truly one of the greatest feelings in the world – the feeling of bettering oneself.
In closing, to all of the coaches, instructors, masters, professors and any other synonym for “teacher” I say this to you: students might come to you to learn for whatever reason, whether its because they’re parents forced them to, or it’s a requirement for school, or it is their dream to pursue whatever it is you are teaching, it is your job, no, your duty to teach them to the best of your ability and to make them understand and appreciate the beauty of the art.
A good teacher, one who possesses all of the qualities named above is extremely rare, if you should be so lucky to ever come across such an individual, learn as much from them as you can, and do them the honor of passionately pursuing the art that they love so much.
Each student that comes to me comes to me with an “ailment” I try my best to deliver the appropriate “medicine”