Posted by: yoko | January 11, 2005

Lessons in Being a Teacher

1. Know your limits, and stick to them. Two examples:

A. A guy whom I was mentoring in aikido had made improper advances towards me, which I had at first refused politely. Unfortunately, he was persistent, and sent me several e-mails a day, saying, among other things, I was his only salvation and that he would “self-destruct” if I didn’t go out with him.

I’m not his savior. I broke off the mentoring relationship and told him not to write me anymore. The staff at the dojo has been informed and is on alert should he try to act out.

B. A student of mine let me know that she will no longer be taking lessons with me– she will be studying with a teacher who is well known in the clarinet world. Although she and I had a good rapport during our lessons together, I know that she can learn things from this teacher that I, as one who is not active in performing professionally, cannot teach. I wish her all the best.


  1. Good for you… It’s beter to cut that situation off before it got more out of control….
    Your student was lucky to have such a good teacher….. There are a lot of bad teachers around who only care about the money….

  2. sheesh — it is terribly unfortunate that you have been made to feel uncomfortable in the context of a place that embodies strength and comfort for you. It sounds like you have a lot of support, which is great. Is your ex-mentee now restricted in any way from the dojo?

  3. It sounds like you’ve handled both potentially difficult situations extremely well. It’s also commendable that you’re able to draw lessons from both, although I’m sure it’s not easy.

  4. Thanks for the kind words, everyone.

    Shasta: The head instructor is meeting with the student tonight to assess his status. She assured me that my safety comes above all else.

  5. “His only salvation?” Good thing you said no… sounds like that would have been a pretty high-maintenance relationship!

  6. Kung Fu Infighting

    A long, rambling post in which I talk vaguely, in order to keep my identity secret, about unpleasant matters that have come up at my martial arts school. Also an exposition of my decision to seek cross-training in another system.
    Warning: this post m…


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