Sunday, February 9, 2014

I Have No Former Students


I have been thinking about my teaching quite a bit lately. I started some new classes at the beginning
Tai Chi Beginner
Tai Chi Beginner
of the year. That's the busiest time of year for new classes because of all those New Year's resolutions. Like all other tai chi teachers, most of my students only take a few sessions of a tai chi class before they disappear.

What are we to conclude from that? Am I a terrible teacher that drives students away? I don't think so. The students that do stay with me seem to enjoy class with me. I need to change my thinking about this.

Maybe the students are failing me. Is that the right way to think about it? Again, I don't think so.

Do I have a lot of "former students"? This seems to be the key question. I think a better way to think about this is to say that tai chi is only a small part of the life of most new students. They have work and family to balance. They have kids that need a ride to after-school activities. It's hard for a tai chi teacher to admit, but tai chi just isn't the most important thing in the lives of many people.

I occasionally meet a former student somewhere else in town. They remember me and want to talk about class. They often tell me that they loved learning tai chi, but they are too busy to continue. This is especially true for younger students. The most "reliable" students tend to be older. The children have moved out and they now have more time for themselves.

I am adopting a new motto. I have no former students. I have students that haven't made time in their lives yet for tai chi. In fact, some of them have come back to my classes lately.

© 2014 Eric Borreson