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Student-instructor relationship


An old Korean proverb states, "Father and mother are the parents who bring me up, while a teacher is the parent who educates me." For this reason, students are expected to pay as much respect to their teachers as they would to their parents.

Another old Korean proverb, "Parents may procreate children, but not their purpose in life." Thus, while parents may love their child, they may never become the child's teacher. The parent/child relationship is emotional, and all objectivity is lost. Without this objectivity, it is nearly impossible to institute and continue absolute control with the learning system. The greatest challenge and reward for a parent is being able to provide the guidance that will make the child a useful and respected member of the society.

Parent responsibility is to provide the proper education that will broaden the child’s knowledge and imbue him or her with a good sense of ethics and morality. Because the parents hesitate to force discipline on their children in an objective manner, it makes it difficult for them to provide the correct education the child needs. There is a subconscious fear that it will create a breach in their relationship. Confucius advised, "Children should be exchanged and taught by concerned parents."

To teach a child to become a person of good character, according to the wishes of his or her own parents, is a great responsibility. In the eyes of the student, his teacher will occupy an equal position with his own parents. There is truth in the adage that the King, Teacher, and Father are one and equal. There must certainly be a degree of love and understanding in all the above relationships, but there must also be a degree of objectivity. This same relationship must also be present in teaching taekwondo.

Certainly, a dedicated and sincere instructor is an absolute necessity for any school for with one the school cannot grow and mature. Accordingly, both instructor and student owe a debt of responsibility to each other that may never be paid.

Good qualities for students

  • Never tire of learning.
  • Be willing to sacrifice for your martial art, school, and instructor. Be willing to help in rank tests, demonstrations, tournament, and in working around the school. 
  • Always set a good example for lower ranking belt students.
  • Always be loyal and never criticize your instructor, school, or martial art, or the teaching methods used.
  • If an instructor teaches a technique, practice it and attempt to use it.
  • Remember, your conduct outside class reflects on the school and your instructor.
  • Never be disrespectful to the instructor.
  • Be eager to learn and ask questions.
  • Be honest with the instructor and other students.
  • Never break a trust.

Good qualities for instructors

  • Never tire of teaching.
  • An instructor should be eager for his or her students to surpass him or her. If an instructor realizes a student has developed beyond his or her teaching capabilities, the student should be sent to a higher-ranking instructor.
  • An instructor must always set a good example for students.
  • Development of students should take precedence over commercialism.
  • Instructors should teach scientifically and theoretically to save time and energy.
  • Instructors should help students develop good contacts outside of class.
  • All students should be treated equally; there should be no favorites. Students should be scolded in private and praised in public.
  • If unable to answer a student’s question, admit it and find the answer as soon as possible.
  • Always be honest with students.
  • Never betray a trust. 

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