Instructors: Never Give Up on Your Students
As BJJ instructors we will come in contact with hundreds, maybe thousands of people throughout our time as school owners and teachers. Of course, we will always prefer that everyone that comes through the door falls in love with our academy and thrives in the environment. But, this will not always be the case. Some of these people will unfortunately have quick stints at your academy. We will make our best effort to help them see the value of BJJ, but this is the reality of owning a school, some will come and some will go.
However, over time we will establish a core group of people that choose to make BJJ an important part of their life, and growth. This core will be the foundation of your academy. It takes time to build. Maybe a few years, maybe longer, but this group will be of great importance to you and the atmosphere of your school. They gave you your start. Pulled you through the first couple years as you worked to create your culture and build your academy. Seeing these faces walk through the door on a daily basis gave you a sense of relief and hope during the uncertain early days of growing your school. They made you feel like just maybe you were on the right track.
As instructors and school owners, we know that we will not be able to keep everyone that comes through the door on the mat, but we can try right? The odds are, you opened your school because of how much BJJ means to you, and what’s it done for you in your own life. Sharing this with others will and should always be your main motivation.
We will occasionally lose members of our core group. At times it will be for reasons that we can not change. Someone may choose to pursue higher education away from home or be presented with an opportunity to better their family situation. There are plenty of solid sets of circumstances that may cause a core member to leave. Of course, this will be very difficult for us, as we become very close with our core. In these instances, we must give our full support to these students and wish them well. It’s our hope that they will keep BJJ as a staple of their daily lives, and we can feel a sense of gratitude for having exposed them to this wonderful art that we hold so dear. We will stay in touch, be there to offer guidance, and help them to get established at their new academy if they need our help. Chances are they will visit from time to time, and through social media and other avenues we will be able to continue to share in their lives.
In the event that you lose a member of this core to unknown circumstances that may be confusing or come with no explanation, be sure to not give up on this person. It could be a simple problem that might be easily resolved by conversation. The academy is not the same without this person. It is your job to make sure they know that.
I am in no way suggesting that you harass a student that has fallen off, but the chances are that this person was close to you, and you understand them more than they may think. When people divest in the most positive things around them, this could be a bigger cry for help than anything. They may need your support more than ever. We have to fight for our students. We have to have genuine concern for their well-being. They made us who we are, they’ve given us the opportunity to do what we love. Simply put, we are NOTHING without them. Everyone deserves to have someone in their corner to show unconditional support and lift them when they’re down. As an instructor and friend, do not turn your back. Offer what you can and be there for your students.
Magic happens inside our little BJJ tribe every day, and everyone on the mat has a hand in it. One person leaving can truly make the entire vibe different in some way. Make sure all of your students have a place on your radar and look out for them. Do your best to keep your tribe together and continue to enrich peoples lives through the power of BJJ. Never give up.
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