Instructors: Why do you teach?


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siglite
October 9, 2012, 12:37 PM
This interview (http://tacstrikeblog.com/222) with Clint Smith sparked the question in my own mind. I have danced around the answer for myself now and again, but I've never specifically articulated it. I have articulated parts and pieces of my motivations, but I've never put together a comprehensive answer. Part of my answer is one word. But some elaboration would probably be required.

Corollary: If you're a student, why do you train? Answering this might help some instructors (such as myself) tune and develop teaching curriculum.

Note something here. I'm not asking WHAT you teach, or WHAT you train. I don't consider that relevant to the question. Whether you teach carbine, handgun, clay shooting, or even reloading, you have your reasons. And those that seek out that training likewise have their reasons.

People post all the time about training and schools. It's usually the "what." I'm curious today, about the "why."

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SleazyRider
October 9, 2012, 01:03 PM
Because to teach is to learn twice, and I am a selfish man.

mljdeckard
October 9, 2012, 01:07 PM
The real reason I finally went to the trouble to get a couple of certs for on-paper credibility? Because of all the bad information I hear from students who recently took their CCW course, or asked their bro-in-law who's a cop about it.

But it is paying off. I have taken all of my new in-laws shooting, and they love it.

hso
October 9, 2012, 01:11 PM
To help others learn the skills to take care of themselves and their families and to help grow the community of responsible gunowners who are aware of the social and political forces around firearms use and ownership.

Al Thompson
October 9, 2012, 01:31 PM
I enjoy it. Nothing much better than taking a poor shooter and coaching them to get good performance.

Also due to me observing new shooters having to wade through a swamp of mis-information, falsehoods and out right lies.

bikerdoc
October 9, 2012, 01:57 PM
Passing forward is its own reward.

rjrivero
October 9, 2012, 03:01 PM
Why does ANYONE teach? Because the believe that passing on this knowledge is important. Without the next generation of students and instructors, the hobby would die out. More importantly, the shooters of today are tomorrows guardians of the second amendment.

Our responsibility to the next generation of shooters is to teach them well.

Frank Ettin
October 9, 2012, 03:06 PM
I enjoy teaching. It's a thrill to see a student "get it" and be able to do something he/she wasn't able to do before.

I also see teaching, especially beginners, as a contribution to the RKBA. It's a great opportunity to be able to help new shooters and gun owners start off with a good foundation of attitude, knowledge and basic skills.

Passing forward is its own reward. Well put.

Hypnogator
October 9, 2012, 03:56 PM
I teach judgmental use of force to law enforcement officers. It is very gratifying to think that the techniques I teach might save an officer's life one day.

It is especially gratifying to learn, on several occasions, that my techniques have saved not only officers' lives but their careers, the lives of innocent bystanders, and even the lives of suspects as well. :cool:

scaatylobo
October 9, 2012, 05:44 PM
In the hope that a few will absorb the lessons that I paid DEARLY to learn myself.

One less mistake is one less person harmed.

Unfortunately the best teacher is THE most painful = experience.

Old Dog
October 9, 2012, 05:58 PM
I kind of fell into it. My employer found out I had a bit of instructor experience from the military and sent me off to become a firearms instructor. I was always a pretty good shot, but I became much better after going through the instructor academy. Then I found out that I truly enjoy teaching, and there's the added incentive knowing that I'm teaching officers who just might be my back-up some day -- so I want them to become as proficient as possible with their tools. I even enjoy the classroom -- I want my students to thoroughly understand the how and why of using deadly force, but also to be grounded in policy and the laws. I try to make the learning experience enjoyable to students, so they might become firearms enthusiasts themselves, and maybe even "spread the gospel" a little ... I just love teaching. A day at the range, teaching folks skills, encouraging them, the smell of gunsmoke and the smiles when students feel good about how they're doing ... beats working!

cfullgraf
October 9, 2012, 07:19 PM
I do not instruct anything related to shooting but I instruct at driver's schools for amateur road racing--you did say to not comment about what we teach.

Why do I instruct?

I enjoy it.

I get to give back something to the hobby and sport that so many other volunteers participate in to allow me to play.

I build new trackside friendships.

I am proud when one of my students excels and becomes successful at the sport.

HankR
October 9, 2012, 07:47 PM
I initially got the (NRA) teaching certs when I lived in an eastern state that was trying to pass a law so that citizens (they use the term very loosely) would have to complete an "approved" course before buying a gun. Our fear was that if the watchers were the only ones who could offer the course it might not get offered very often.

Nowadays the only thing I use my "official" credentials for is to run the cub scout BB gun course, but I do "teach" one-on-one for fun (no money). I'm in a college town in a gun-friendly state but "kids" from more urban areas move through the area for college and I introduce a few of them to guns. We bring the college group from church out every year and with 5-6 volunteer range officers we do a basic intro and have a lot of fun. We had a rapist loose on campus a few years ago (very newsworthy event in this small town). I helped several sororities learn how to shoot a .38 revolver or a small 9mm.Even though they caught the guy before my first class, many followed through having realized "it can happen here".

Taurus 617 CCW
October 9, 2012, 08:13 PM
I teach to give back to my local community. It is a way for me to share the knowledge I have gained over the years while introducing new shooters to the sport.

bergmen
October 9, 2012, 08:17 PM
I am a Certified Instructor with the United States Parachuting Association (I know you didn't need to know but it is important for waht I have to say).

In teaching the skills necessary to become a competent and safe parachutist, one disassembles their own skillsets, examines them in detail and passes them on to those who are in a position to learn.

In doing so, one becomes much more expert at the skill being taught. All bases are covered and each skill is conveyed in it's entirety. As an instructor, one must see themselves as a student of the craft in order to fully understand how to teach and benefit from the lesson being taught. As the student learns (and demonstrates the skills being taught), the instructor is able to see and understand the values of those skills.

It is satisfying to watch a student execute their first jump with clockwork precision and attention to every detail without being distracted by the dramatic effects of stepping out of an airplane and having gravity take over. I get to jump for free too, which doesn't hurt.

Dan

Plan2Live
October 9, 2012, 08:33 PM
The fact that I am beginning to teach will come as a surprise to one of the Moderators here because he has actually spent time training me in the past.

First, I've always been more of a technician than a politician so in my 9-5 job I prefer to teach/manage than sell.

Then one day I was posting a question or two here and one of the Moderators offered to meet me at a range. That afternoon session lit a fire in me to learn more.

It started with an NRA Basic Pistol Course. The Instructor there stoked my interest to teach even more. That led to getting certified to teach the State required Concealed Carry Class and my interest in teaching is evolving from there.

Why, because it is infectious, because I enjoy it and it is something I genuinely want to get better at doing.

Plan2Live
October 13, 2012, 08:34 PM
Follow-up. I teach so I can experience days like today. I had a 70ish year old lady on the range. She only recently started shooting. Her husband started her on his immaculate S&W K-22 but she says it was too heavy so today she was breaking in her Sig Mosquito in .22 caliber. She had a few rounds Fail To Feed, possbily ammo related. She asked if I could help her so I showed her how to Tap-Rack-Ready. She watched attentively and asked me to show her a second time. A few rounds later I heard click when I should have heard bang (well, pop since it is a .22) and as I turned around she said outloud to no one in particular "Tap-Rack-Ready" and performed the drill perfectly and had her Sig running again in two shakes. Her husband, a former Phantom F-4 pilot was standing off to the side grinning from ear to ear.

I teach so I can share moments like that.

beatledog7
October 13, 2012, 08:36 PM
Knowledge unshared dies with the holder. How sad would that be!

Madcap_Magician
October 13, 2012, 11:03 PM
I like to teach because teaching the basics forces you to constantly re-read the laws, re-focus on shooting fundamentals... oh, and when I can teach it pays for ammo.

Warp
October 14, 2012, 12:09 AM
I instruct because I enjoy it. No matter the topic, if it's something I know I enjoy teaching it.

I do my firearms instruction because I enjoy it, I learn, and I believe that people benefit from it.

olafhardtB
October 14, 2012, 05:47 PM
OK, I am going to confess something awful. I find teaching a real ego boost, all those innocent eyes looking like I am God almighty, taking what I say as the gosple. After I realized this, I was sorta disgusted with my own ego and peoples naivete. I read things posted by instructers and experts that I know aren't true. The antis are just as sure of them selves as the pros. I have to say I have real reservations about accepting all these nice reasons, but I do and I hope I am mistaken.

Warp
October 14, 2012, 05:57 PM
OK, I am going to confess something awful. I find teaching a real ego boost, all those innocent eyes looking like I am God almighty, taking what I say as the gosple. After I realized this, I was sorta disgusted with my own ego and peoples naivete. I read things posted by instructers and experts that I know aren't true. The antis are just as sure of them selves as the pros. I have to say I have real reservations about accepting all these nice reasons, but I do and I hope I am mistaken.

What do you mean?

cambeul41
October 14, 2012, 07:44 PM
I don't think I want to know what plafhardtB means.

olafhardtB
October 15, 2012, 02:09 AM
If you are offended so be it. I have found teaching to be a great way to show off. And it is also an efficienr way to push any agenda you have. Have you encountered liberal teachers pushing their point of voew? I have found these tendancies in my self. I do try to tell others how to think and act even about things I don't know squat about. The question was " Why do you teach?" I gave some of my old reasons and while I am more reluctant to now. BTW I am not proud of this nor do I want to influence you all.

powder
October 15, 2012, 02:16 AM
I saw just how crappy all too many instructors really are.

Frank Ettin
October 15, 2012, 02:20 AM
...I do try to tell others how to think and act even about things I don't know squat about... Apparently so, as illustrated by your last two posts.

Warp
October 15, 2012, 02:26 AM
If you are offended so be it. I have found teaching to be a great way to show off. And it is also an efficienr way to push any agenda you have. Have you encountered liberal teachers pushing their point of voew? I have found these tendancies in my self. I do try to tell others how to think and act even about things I don't know squat about. The question was " Why do you teach?" I gave some of my old reasons and while I am more reluctant to now. BTW I am not proud of this nor do I want to influence you all.

You have a serious problem, then

siglite
October 15, 2012, 10:20 AM
Ok, before everyone dogpiles on olafhardtB, I have to say... I've seen it.

I've seen exactly what he's describing. I've seen it MANY times. Dozens, even. I've seen instructors who, in my opinion, are motivated by ego to a great degree. Some of them have been pretty good instructors DESPITE that fact. Most, not so much. But, I'm going to (hesitantly) give olafhardtB some credit here for being honest. This is why:

After I realized this, I was sorta disgusted with my own ego...

To some of us, the concept of teaching based on ego is going to be alien, and you'll find his post repulsive. But based on my observations of instructors, I think the law of averages (not pointing at anyone) indicates that some here will be offended because the truth hits close to home.

A long time ago I recognized this tendency among instructors. Since then, I've tried really hard to approach instruction with the confidence that comes with my experience, but without ego.

I haven't discussed my personal motivations, but olafhardtB has told a truth here. Hard truths are still truth.

Frank Ettin
October 15, 2012, 12:10 PM
... I've seen it MANY times. Dozens, even. I've seen instructors who, in my opinion, are motivated by ego to a great degree....We're getting far afield, into an area of psychology, but ego is a powerful motivator. It is also, in many cases, a proper and appropriate motivator.

People who are good at something, be it carpentry, the practice of law, business or teaching, for several examples, tend to have healthy egos and a strong sense of self esteem. And those qualities help drive people to put out the added effort to become especially good at what they do.

siglite
October 15, 2012, 12:37 PM
A fair point, Frank. And that's why I stated I've seen some instructors that were good despite being motivated by ego. However, it's apparent from some of the responses here that many find instruction from a place of ego negative. You yourself reacted to olafhardtB's post with distaste.

After my "softening" of his post into a more clear point and observation, we see a defense of ego as a motivator.

And, yes, to some degree, ego probably is a motivator for much at which we wish to excel. And yes, we're now branching into psychology, and I am no psychologist. :p

olafhardtB took it to extreme.

...all those innocent eyes looking like I am God almighty...

Though, he did preface his confession as "awful." And as he phrased it above, I agree with him. It's awful.

Ego can be a really, really bad thing in instruction. I've seen that first hand. And I personally find a difference in ego-motivation versus some of the other motivations that have been listed in this thread.

And since I'm referencing that, now seems as good a time as any to list my own motivations, since I'm the one that started this thread.

For me, it's about power.

Now, if you read that, you might think, "christ, he's after power." Except, for me, it's not about "power" as an instructor. It's certainly not about control of or influence over my students. Power is the root word of "empowerment." I had an instructor say (in the most unlikely of settings) just last week, "warriors choose to be pacifist." This was an instructor at most of the most liberal universities you can imagine. For me, instruction is about the transfer of power. Good defensive instruction infuses students to some degree or other with the power to defend themselves and theirs. It is a power of self-reliance. And self-reliance is the foundation upon which this country was built. Self-reliance, self-defense, and even on the macro scale, self-governance. I enjoy passing on a realization, that one does not have to rely on others for the defense of that which is truly most precious. Life.

Ego can get in the way of that transfer.

parsimonious_instead
October 15, 2012, 01:26 PM
As a computer instructor, I got a tremendous sense of satisfaction out of helping my adult students improve their Windows skills.
I set the computers up early, gave everybody my best, most energetic self during the instructional part, and hung around a while afterward in case anyone had additional questions for me.
Was there some ego involvement? Sure... but most of that came from seeing the progress, and reading the overwhelmingly positive surveys they filled out at the end, anonymously.

The four firearms instructors who've taught me over the last few years - Charlie Timlin, C. Robert McDowell, Gary LeRoux (with Mark Preston co-teaching), and Cope Reynolds were all excellent men who cared first and foremost about safety, and truly wanted their students to excel in their shooting.

VA27
October 15, 2012, 01:33 PM
...there's the added incentive knowing that I'm teaching officers who just might be my back-up some day -- ...

^This. I do a lot of work with the local reserves, and I always tell them that one of the reasons I'm here is that if some bad guy has me down stomping my guts out and you show up, I want to know that things just got better, not worse.

Ehtereon11B
October 16, 2012, 01:42 AM
Main reasons why I teach are because if I can promote a good attitude about guns to get the populace over their irrational fear, that is worth it. And because most instruction most people get is watching the news or playing games so they don't know anything about firearms. I once had a kid who I was teaching about the M4. Played a game called Counterstrike. The reload animation on that game is pulling back the forward assist instead of the charging handle. Lots of bad information about firearms everywhere and I do my part to correct some when I can.

Infidel4life11
October 17, 2012, 10:58 AM
There is no future without education. A lot of people I come across have no clue about guns outside that the media tells them "they kill people". The Army IMO focuses more on teaching to qualify with a weapon instead of how to shoot/fight with a weapon. Tactics and technique are a must if you are going to be a responsible gun owner/operator. I don't teach "the way" I teach a way that works and can be built off of. If you are going to use a gun for work, home defense, or a tool you need to be able to make a difference with that weapon not become a victim with a gun. IMO

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