Teacher’s Pet

GAH!  It’s becoming obvious that I am the new “teacher’s pet” in TKD.  I just earned my assistant leadership, along with the snappy new black pants.  Now Grandmaster is asking me to lead the end of class…..every time.  He also chooses me to be the example in class more often than not and keeps thrusting me into situations where he wants me to “lead”.  This is supremely uncomfortable for me.  Mostly because I really don’t want anyone to get the idea that there is any favoritism, but also because I am not a natural leader.  You know those people who seem to ooze authority?  Like that person in your group of friends that can introduce a totally ridiculous idea, but people go along with it anyway?  So not me.  I am naturally very content to just do what I’m told.  I’m task oriented.   Tell me what is expected and what needs to be done, and I’ll do it for you.

He had me finishing up class the other day and was correcting me the whole time.  Apparently I need to work on my “command voice”.  I’m just trying to get to the point where it doesn’t feel like I’m shouting at people.  It seems to come off that way because I’m exhausted after 45 minutes of hot, sweaty TKD and it’s all I can do to get myself to do the exercises, let alone have the energy level up to help others get through it.  I’m sure I’ll eventually find a way that works for me though.

I’m trying very hard not to complain.  My attitude is one of the things I’m working on lately.  I’ve found myself mentally criticizing myself, or crabbing out the instructors, and it’s not healthy or working for me in any way.  While in class, I have to consciously tell myself to relax before doing certain kicks or moves so I can perform better.  My hope is that in time this will become more of an unconscious action.  Grandmaster always tells me to relax and just have fun with it, and when I do, it’s infinitely more enjoyable, but it’s also much easier said than done.

After my next belt test, provided I pass, things get tougher and I need to learn a lot more.  Not just my own belt level stuff, but everything, in class format, for white belt.  Up until now, I’ve been confident enough that passing my tests have been all but assumed.  However at the higher levels they get tougher on the judging.  Some classmates of ours failed recently for doing a back stance in poomsae instead of a tiger stance.  I was shocked to hear they didn’t pass.  Usually they give you 5 minutes to review and correct and if you do it correctly you can pass (if that was your only mistake).  They have been changing requirements lately though, and some of us are a little confused as to what is going to be required.

On top of knowing all my requirements, I have tasks I need to do with my new assistant leadership position.  Like assisting in classes that I’m not participating in and some leadership projects that are required for full leadership.  It’s starting to feel a little overwhelming.  Enough so that I had a nightmare about tidal waves last night.  I haven’t had one of those in ages.  It probably didn’t help that one of the members who is also accelerating admitted to me the other day that he was ready to walk away last month.  He’s gotten past that, but it was shocking because he is one of the most dedicated students there, and he’s testing for black belt this October.

I swear I’m working on the attitude thing.  Sometimes it’s just a little harder finding a way to turn what seems so negative into a positive.



  1. It sounds as if you are the one with the reservations about your teaching abilities – not the teacher. He/she is obviously grooming you for something he/she thinks you are ready. Despite the doubt you are feeling, this instructor thinks you have what it takes. You should consider that a huge compliment and enjoy the challenge. Keep up the great work, Minivan Ninja!

  2. I’m the opposite – I tend to be the leader in most groups I’m in – but I do empathize how hard it is to be in the role when it doesn’t come naturally to you.

    Do you somehow feel like you haven’t earned the trust your teacher is placing in you to instruct or lead others? As Lisa said – your teacher seems to think you have.

    If you know you have – others will not see you as “teacher’s pet”, they see you as someone that has earned a position of authority. Behave accordingly, and those you are instructing will trust and admire you for what you have rightfully earned and accomplished.

    Besides – sometimes the best way to learn is to teach.

    –Her, aka TwentyThree

  3. Try treating it as psychological poomsae. Through instruction and practice he helped you control how your body moves. Now he’s trying to help you grow as a person. It builds character when you step outside your comfort-zone. Try reading some books on leadership. Leadership is a skill that has to be developed, studied, practiced. Be patient with yourself and rise to the challenge. In the long run, you’ll be glad you did.

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