A parent told me a few days ago that I have the patience of Job working with the judo kids. I don’t know about that, but I can tell a difference in myself since teaching the kids’ class for a year or so. It was tough for the first couple of months last year, dealing with the chaos. It was two or three months before I really started having more fun than trials. I have learned a few things…
- It doesn’t do any good to get mad at the kids for things they don’t know or can’t do.
- I don’t easily tolerate lying around on the mat, whining, not making an effort.
- Judo is supposed to be about, "You and me getting better together," so I will not tolerate kids being mean or unnecessarily rough with each other (but it is a rough sport).
- When kids get bored or overwhelmed they become more chaotic and meaner and rougher with each other. Instead of yelling about the chaos, redirect them to another task.
- Be prepared with enough 5-6 minute tasks/games/exercises for a 45-60 minute class.
- If the class is more chaotic or frustrating than usual or is not really making progress, don't be afraid to cut it off 15 minutes early and play quiet seated concentration games.
- The biggest time waster I've found is having to stop to re-tie kids’ belts or pants. If I have to re-tie someone’s pants I tend to cinch them up so tight that their feet almost turn blue.
- When you want kids to be structured, like lining up to bow in, give them tape marks to stand on. Space the tape marks far enough apart that they cannot touch each other.
- I would rather bench a kid for 5 minutes for misbehaving than make them do exercises (like pushups or crunches) as punishment. I'm not out to make exercise punishment.