May 25, 2011

Are you this kind of person?

Why I like my coach

"Back to my tennis........
I’ve started lessons with a new coach and I’m pretty pleased. I’ve been watching and noticing how he manages things and he’s got qualities that apply to most teaching situations.

First of all, he knows just what I’m capable of and he seems to keep me working just at the edge of my limits. He also sees when I’m beginning to get frustrated and when I’m simply beginning to tire. The pace suits me. I’m breaking sweat pretty much straight away – he’s hitting the ball hard enough and just far way enough to keep me stretched but without leaving me doubled up on the ground panting for breath – something he could easily do if he wanted to (he could also bore me stiff like a previous coach who didn’t seem to be interested enough in me to notice how good I could be and just did everything on ‘auto-instructor’ mode).

We start with a warm-up. He gets me to practice strokes that I can already handle pretty well but he ups the pace from session to session to make sure that it’s challenging - I certainly couldn’t have coped a couple of weeks ago with the pace we’re working at now. I’m improving my basics and feeling more confident and becoming more adventurous.

He makes sure there’s variety. He’ll introduce a new exercise each session to work on a new stroke but he doesn’t spend too long on this. I get more wrong than right at the beginning and he doesn’t let me reach the stage where I lose heart. He stops when he reckons I’ve had enough, not because I’ve finished learning the new stroke – we’ve just completed the first step. We’ll go back to it again next time and the following time and sooner or later he’ll incorporate it into the repertoire of our warm-up.

I certainly get more upset about my mistakes than he does and he makes sure he gives me plenty of encouragement by praising shots that really deserve it and not commenting on every single bad shot, limiting himself to identifying the cause of a problem when I make the same kind of mistake several times. The thing is I know that he sees everything and that he sees everything in a broad context – where I started from and where we’d like to get to.

We’re “playing tennis”, which makes me feel great. But I know that really he’s “playing” – not “playing a match”. He’s working on improving me. That’s why I’m here."

It's probably true that all of us transfer our own preferences, tastes and styles (How can you not like pasta? Don't you realise it's fantastic?!) into our students and as teachers "do to others as we would like others to do to us" Teachers who like grammar teach lots of it.
Teachers who like poetry incorporte poetry into their lessons.
Teachers who don't like organisation like to improvise (wing it).

Teachers who like the sound of their own voices assume everyone else does too.
Teachers who feel uncomfortable about 'correcting people' don't like to 'correct mistakes'.
Teachers who are laid back don't expect too much effort from students.

Please add others at will:

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