I was thinking about how hard the life of a teacher must be. When I was a kid in school, the teachers were the bad guys, because they were there to make us pay attention, do homework and participate in class, when we wanted to goof off and play. I never ever recognized that they were there to help me, for my own benefit, not theirs. I look back and would like to be able to thank each one of them for putting up with me and for doing their job, as thankless as it seems.
I’ve been training at Jung SuWon Martial Arts for almost 20 years and the same type of teacher-student relationship exists. Great Grandmaster Tae Yun Kim has students all around the world. She has been teaching for over 40 years, so over that period of time, there are countless numbers of students, parents, friends and family that she has come into contact with.
I can’t imagine that it is easy being a teacher and it seems the rewards are often outweighed by the problems that students face. Just look at the news on TV – the bad stories far outnumber the good stories. Being a teacher requires compassion, patience, but also the desire and ability to dole out discipline. Some students don’t react well to discipline and rather than looking inward to try to understand why disciplined was needed, they instead blame the teacher, which is a whole lot easier to do than looking within. I actually see that as a form of bullying.
As an adult, we should all know that life isn’t perfect and things won’t always go the way we want them. Just because we are in an uncomfortable situation, that doesn’t mean it is bad. I think of our testings at Jung SuWon and those are not easy situations; same with intense finals in school or working late at work preparing an important presentation. But, once it is over, the feeling of accomplishment is beyond words, not to mention the emotional and spiritual growth that comes with it. As people, we need challenging situations to stimulate our minds and our spirits. I feel very blessed to be in an environment where people are trying to help other people.
I know young adults that complain about their college teachers. I know older adults that complain about other situations where someone has tried to help them and they didn’t like it. As I grow older, I see that if someone is willing to try to help someone, that is a BEAUTIFUL and HUMAN thing to do. The spirit of the helping is SO important to recognize. If a person decides later that they don’t want help, or that they don’t feel it is necessary, fine, but don’t go and bad mouth anyone that has extended their hand to you. We should be appreciative that someone cared. We hear stories on the news where someone is hurt on the street, but everyone keeps walking by without stopping to help. Where will we end up if no one wants to help?
I don’t like hearing students complain about how mean a teacher is because they assigned homework over the holiday weekend. Sure, I complained too when I was in school, but I see it so differently now – what the teacher did was for my own benefit, not because they wanted to be the bad guy. I don’t like hearing some adults complain about something they thought was so great, and then later changed their mind and are spending so much time bashing what they once enjoyed. Move on! Don’t be a bully like that!