Recently one of my junior students has been overloaded with school work and unable to assist with classes. She was coming in 3 days per week to help with my Little Ninjas beginner class. Basically the presence of another “big person” in a class of 4 year olds makes the class run as smoothly a Lexus on a freshly paved highway.
But when I’m “flying solo”, there are many more kids fighting for my attention – currently about 15 white/red belt 4-7 year olds!
“Look at this kick Sensei!”
“Watch me Sensei!”
“Sensei, my dad’s a fireman!”
“I went to Disneyland yesterday!”
You know what it’s like, right?
Anyhow with one less “instructor” on the floor, I’ve had to come up with ways to remove me from being so “hands on”, such as holding pads or other training equipment.
One thing I do often is hold a series of relay races in which the kids run down one at a time, do an action and run back. Nothing new for you here as I’m sure you do relay races often. But on this particular day I didn’t have anyone to hold any pads for the kids to hit, since it was only me teaching class. Furthermore, I don’t have a lot of free standing equipment to use, so I had to improvise.
I split my class into groups of 5 students. For each group I then tied a paper cup to a piece of string and tied the other end to an overhead beam. The net result is that the cups are suspended in air at “4 year old punching height”.
This was a neat little exercise for focus, and the kids absolutey loved it. They ran down, punched the cup, ran back and tagged the next person. The excitement of the RACE held their attention and the competitive environment drove them to try harder. Plus it allowed me to step out of the picture and oversee the drill rather than be involved in it directly.
And of course the winning team received “5,000 points”!!
Next time you find yourself flying solo with a squadron of 4 year olds doing barrel rolls and trying to shoot you from the sky, try the “Cups on Strings Drill” and you’ll see just how easy it is to run your class.
Until next time….