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Kovar Systems
Staff Development Instructor Tips

Believe in Your Students and Amazing Things Happen

By Dave Kovar

I love our profession. I’m extremely proud to call myself a Martial Arts Instructor. I believe that one of the most important factors that will increase our student’s success in Martial Arts, or anything else for that matter, is our own belief that our students can succeed. Numerous studies have been done on this subject and all have come to that very conclusion. Let me demonstrate this point with a story:

At the beginning of a school year, Mrs. Seiglets, the third grade teacher at Brown Elementary was brought into the principals’ office for a meeting. The principal told her that a special study had been done and they had found that she was the best teacher in the entire school. The principal then told her that as a result she was going to be rewarded. She would be given the very best students in the third grade! The principal explained to Mrs. Seiglets that even though their past scores don’t show it and they might not act like it, they were given special tests and they are in fact the most gifted students in the school.

Nine months later at the end of the school year, Mrs. Seiglets class did in fact end up with the best grades in the school. Her student’s test scores were off the charts. Everyone in the community was amazed with what she had done with these children. When Mrs. Seiglets was brought in and congratulated by the principal, she responded by saying “Thank you! But remember, I am the best teacher and they are the best students.” The principal then said, “Well actually, the truth is that this was just a test – we don’t know if you really are the best teacher in the school or not. We just pulled your name out of a hat and wanted you to believe you were the best teacher in the whole school for the sake of this study. And one other thing, the students were also selected at random.”

It took a moment for Mrs. Seiglets to recover as this really took her off guard. After a moment she asked the principal how they could all do so well if they were not the best students? The principal told her that it was because she in fact believed they were the best students.


I love this story. It really helps to illustrate the attitude that each Martial Arts instructor should have toward their students. As teachers, we need to know and believe that our students have the ability to succeed. Then we simply must act accordingly and amazing things will happen.

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by Dave Kovar