Confessions of a Ninja Ballerina: Teaching

I adore teaching. It’s fun, it’s rewarding, it makes me happy.

It’s also hard, frustrating and, at times, depressing.

Oh, but how can it be both?! ***Confusion***

Here’s how; children.

Okay, so I teach both taekwan-do and ballet. At TKD I help with an after-school program as well as teach evening classes.

The after-school program consists of around 40 public schooled children. A handful of them are really wonderful kids. A different handful are really difficult.

At ballet I teach intermediate class, and an after-school 8-12 class. Same deal there.

So how do you teach a diverse group of people?

1: Find out how different people learn. With some kids, you talk to them and they get it. Others, you have to physically position and they remember what it feels like. Sometimes you have to yell, other times it’s the worst possible thing you can do. You have to memorize which way the kids learn best.

2: Patience, grasshopper. Kids don’t like to listen. This is a law of nature. They will blatantly disregard everything you say if they feel like it that day. It’s beyond frustrating at times. But if you blow up, kids cry, kids complain to parents, parents blow up. So careful there.

3: Set a good example. The kids that actually like you, will look up to you. Watch what you say, watch how you act. It will have an impact on their lives.

4: Choose to see the progress. You can’t be negative as a teacher. Your students will be miserable, you’ll be miserable, the parents will be unhappy, and that’s no way to live.

Teaching is hard guys. But it’s so awesome. It’s definitely not for everyone, however.

Any teachers out there want to add onto this? Any parents with questions or comments? I’m desperate for conversation. Comment below!

Confessions of a Ninja Ballerina: Strength

I’m a ballerina. My legs are super strong, so are my feet.
But, my arms? Nooooot so much.
I’m woman enough to admit that when I first started taekwan-do I could barely do ten push-ups, and that’s only going half way down.
Needless to say, I wasn’t the most impressive person there.
Over about four years of TKD, I didn’t improve much, mostly because I avoided push-ups like plague.
But there was hope.
One of my coworkers, Aaron, started making the kids in the class we teach together do push-ups. Of course, I was expected to set a good example and do the push-ups too.
So, every week, twice a week, I would grudgingly sink to my knees, straighten my legs until I was on my feet, and stretch out into a less-than-fantastic push-up position. We would then proceed to do 10, disgusting, horrific push-ups.
I still didn’t improve much. Maybe I got through the ten grueling push-ups a little easier, but I still couldn’t go down too far.
Then I realized that I didn’t actually want to improve that much. I hated push-ups, so why be good at them?
Lately I’ve been pushing myself a little bit more. Going down just a touch farther and forcing myself all the way back up, no matte how hard. I won’t pretend it’s purely self motivation that propels me through my least favorite exercise at TKD. The teasing from the guys helps a lot. Besides Aaron, we have an army dad taking classes. He likes giving me a hard time about my push-ups, all in fun, but still. Drives me to show them that I can do push-ups too.
I have most definitely been improving though. I can get almost all the way down for the first five.
I suppose the only point to this blog post is that striving to do better at something is half the battle. If you don’t want to improve, you won’t.
So go do your push-ups like a man.

Confessions of a Ninja Ballerina: Flexibility

It’s kind of hard being in both ballet and taekwon-do. I mean, they help each other in different areas, but they’re also super contradictory.

However, there’s one field that is the same in both arts; flexibility.

Oh, how I adore stretching. It’s wonderful, relaxing, and rewarding.

People hate me for it.

I don’t want to sound full of myself, but I’m the most flexible person in my taekwon-do school. Since I’m a black belt and I teach classes, I regularly put my students through a 10-15 minute stretching routine. I’ll be at the front, talking them through it and demonstrating. I’ll drop into full side splits with ease. Suddenly the room is filled with groans.

“Show off!”

“That’s not fair!”

“How do you do that?”

Every. Single. Time. I’m almost to the point where I’m ready to just talk them through the stretching so they don’t have to witness my flexibility.

Honestly, I shouldn’t have to repeat myself every class “It just takes practice. You can do this if you stretch at home.”

Are you flexible? Do you wish you were? Keep your eyes open for my next post; a short, easy stretching tutorial.