It’s Just Teaching – A Lesson from Tai Chi

I’m a martial artist. Most of my training is in Japanese and South Asian martial arts, but in the fall I started studying Tai Chi as well. My teacher has a phrase that his teacher would say whenever a student was worrying about whether their hand should be turned like this or like that, or whether they were progressing at a good rate, or whether they would ever get a certain move right:⁣

He would say in a soft voice, with a soft smile, “It’s just Tai Chi.” Meaning, there are very few absolute no-nos in Tai Chi; it’s just one part of your life, and there’s no right pace at which you’re supposed to improve. It’s okay. It’s just Tai Chi 🙂⁣

As soon as I first heard my teacher say that, the concept for me immediately connected with teaching: Teaching is just a part of your life, there are very few absolute no-nos, and there’s no right pace or one right way in which you’re supposed to improve.⁣

Yes, education is important. Yes, what happens at school affects other areas of life. But those times when you feel like you don’t even know how to do your own job, or when you wonder whether you should do—or should have done—this in class or that, take a deep breath and remind yourself: It’s Just Teaching.⁣


Food for Thought

What role does teaching play in your life and in your identity?

Are there things more central to your identity than your teacher-ness?

What other things do you value?


This post is based on a video in the “Tuned-In Teacher Mantra” series. You can watch the video below and check out the full series on YouTube.

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