The Power of Belief

As you may know from previous blog posts, I am a high school teacher by day and a martial arts instructor by night. Over the course of the last month, the power of belief has stood out to me in both places. At ATA martial arts, we say that belief is "yes, I can" and we talk about the importance of belief in yourself and belief in others. One of my favorite parts of the ATA Legacy program is how it helps students to grow as people, not just as martial artists.

Earlier this school year, one of my seniors asked me what the hardest part of teaching high school was. I shared with him that I as a teacher, become very invested in my students. I want to see them succeed and find their passions. I spend 4 years guiding and watching them grow, and then they leave. I never hear from most students to find out how they are doing and how things turned out after high school. A colleague compared it to starting a novel and never finding out how it ends.

In January, I had the opportunity to see several alumni and hear how their next chapter is going. I have to say I was in complete awe of them. The alumni who returned were all members of my mock trial team at one point or another. They shared that they have had the confidence in themselves to try  new things in college, join clubs, speak publicly, and get involved. They described the influence our program had on them having the courage to do things they would not have otherwise tried. For me, in the middle of winter, when things are not always at their brightest, this was a beam of sunlight. It was so powerful for me to hear that what I am doing day in and day out is impacting the belief they have in themselves in the future. It reminded me why I love being a teacher.

At ATA, I have the privilege of working with students for a much longer period of time. I have students who have been training with us for many years. When we have students that show that kind of dedication, we are able to watch what for many started with their parents believing in them grow to the student believing in themselves. Board breaking is always my favorite example of this. As students go through the ranks, they progress with regards to the difficulty of board that they are required to break and the difficulty of technique they are required to use. They frequently attempt and don't break on their first try or even their second or third. Perseverance requires not giving up on yourself and when students are able to succeed on something they have worked so hard on, they stand a little taller and hold their head a little higher. This confidence takes place not only on the mats when they're training, but in all aspects of their lives. That is the real success story.


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