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Good enough?

Enthusiasm alone is not enough to qualify to be a teaching assistant.
You need to prove that you can one day run a class (and perhaps even the class itself).
Daunting? It should be.


From the moment you agree to assist with teaching, Sifu Waller will be paying much more attention to how you behave in class.
Assisting enables you to attend extra sessions, be privy to higher level material and participate in decisions affecting the class.
It does not guarantee that you're going to become a teacher one day.
Not everyone is teacher material, and the student is not the right person to make the determination. 


Every teaching assistant will be given certain tasks to complete in order to qualify.
These will differ relative to the individual. A good attitude is not enough, we also need proof of ability.
You may train hard every day at home but if your form is not that good how do expect to learn the forms, mirror, apply and then teach them?
You need to be realistic about your competence. We cannot afford to be charitable.
Teaching involves a lot of work for Sifu Waller and we must channel our efforts into the candidates most likely to succeed.


Teaching assistants are expected to serve as sempai (mentor) to new students who are struggling.



We look for evidence of skill/good attitude in these broad areas of competence:

  1. Form

  2. Attendance

  3. Relationship with other students

  4. School spirit

  5. Emotional stability/composure

  6. Ability with assignments

  7. Progress

  8. Holiday cover

  9. Shido-geiko

  10. Combat ability

This list is by no means exhaustive.

Good student but not a teacher

Some people are enthusiastic tai chi students but not cut out to be teacher.
Accept this.
If you are asked to withdraw from teaching, continue to be a strong student.
Take the skills and insights gained from your exposure to teaching and use them to enhance your practice.
You are not a failure. Teaching is not for everyone. It never was.


 Light, in the absence of eyes, illuminates nothing. Visible forms are not inherent in the world, but are granted by the act of seeing.

Though the world and events do exist independent of mind, they obtain of no meaning in themselves: none that the mind is not guilty of imposing on them.

(Aeon Flux series)

Further reading...

Page created 18 April 1995
Last updated 29 August 2019