Sit down and shut up

Have you ever took a class or training and not too far in to the class you start to think you know more then the teacher… You might even know more then the instructor depending on your age and amount of training or experience ie military or law enforcement. And then you to yourself you start questioning every thing they in your head you want to raise your hand or catch your self not to interrupt then because you think you know a better way.
This happened to me not to long ago after moving for the 3rd time to a new state I have had to take the ccw test 3 different times and as are the laws in states are different the rest of the test is exactly the same with that said i had to CHECK myself and my ego and remember i paid good money for the class $130 .even though I felt i knew more then they did.
Once i sat down and shut up I learned something


Whatever the situation, be it firearms, driving, or baking a cake, I tell myself not everyone in the room knows this. A good instructor, will start at the most very basic aspect of the subject, IMHO. Case in point, when I took my CCW class, we had a woman who had never fired a gun. She knew nothing of the difference between a revolver, and semiautomatic pistol. But, she paid attention, asked intelligent questions, and then paid attention some more. On the range, she had some of the best safety practices, and she chewed the center out of the target. She asked many of us questions while we waited our turn to shoot. She asked about the different guns we had, and why.
When it does hit me that I am the smartest guy in the room, God help us, I will ask the questions I think others need to hear the answers to. Maybe the instructor just got nervous. Maybe, he/she doesn’t know, and it prompts someone to pull me aside and ask. Maybe I’m the one asking the person that is more skilled/smarter than me.


Great points


I think we can all find we will learn something if we can allow ourselves to listen.

We are all teachers and students.


When I teach I never assume I am the smartest one in the room. I just have experience with the materials. I enjoy being in a classroom because I enjoy learning - whether I am there as a student or instructor.


When I was working as a graduate assistant while working through grad school and then my doctorate. I taught and tutored some intro to Accounting classes. I learned more from those moments than any class.

One class particularly stuck out in my head. The Dean and the Chair had sat in to audit one of my classes and we were specifically dealing with how to trace the accounts for a manufacturing class.

So I am up there doing my thing and I whip through the problem, and I turn around. The Dean and Chair are happy but I’m looking at 20+ students who did not have a clue as to what I was doing. So I went back to the text. Picked an easier version and talked my way through each step and why each account was affected and I saw the students start to understand and I had a teachable moment for myself.

It doesn’t matter how good I know something if I can’t have effectively communicated that to the students.


20+ years of classroom teaching, coaching, and school administration has taught me to never assume I am the sole expert of content. Over the years I’ve learned so much from students. I learned early on to embrace a complete learning environment, which includes that teachers, in this case instructors, can always learn from others while teaching the subject matter.


Great example!


Great point. We can teach and learn at the same time.


You sound like the perfect student I’d love to have. Most people are amazing and truly want to learn in class.

There are a handful (very few) who are not and basically just want to ask the “gotcha questions” the entire class. There are firm yet tactful ways to handle these situations without making the person look like a tool (most fellow students already know he/she is), and other students will respect you as an instructor all the more based on how you resolve the interruptions.

As with my day job, I’ve had employees come to me with ideas on how to make things better or more efficient and have welcomed and implemented many of their ideas. The same goes with firearms instructing. The core of the class is unchanging as the USCCA courses have been built by experts way beyond my knowledge and expertise level. As an instructor I’m always open to listening and encouraging students to engage with questions and experiences so we all can learn.


You always learn something from these classes…

Hopefully it’s what to do and techniques to improve your skillset, maybe something new, maybe something that reinforces past lessons you’ve been taught.

But there are times where you learn what not to do, and techniques that do not work or are unadvisable…those are valuable lessons as well.

So yep, sit down, close your mouth, open your mind…and don’t be “that student” that has a war story for everything.


I have NEVER not learned something from a course or class even if it was “I don’t ever want to do XYZ like that.” I get asked to evaluate classes for content and instructor ability and MOST of the time I can make it through a class without saying anything. Every now and then I will get called upon to answer a question and I do my best to give the correct answer without coming off the top rope but usually in a bit more detail than expected. I usually get the puppy dog head turn look from the instructor and possibly a follow up “You seem to be very experienced in XYZ.” My reply is generally “I’ve been around a while.” or something equally disarming. As an instructor I absolutely agree I have learned more from student questions than I have from instruction even in the most basic of classes. This is especially true when you are dealing with professionals in the field and they are also instructors which can be very intimidating if you let it.



1 Like

I’ve been in several various classes listening to some expert lecture. If I think he is wrong on something I will try to be respectful and question it. First I have to question myself, do I have an interest in understanding or am I trying to show off my knowledge to the class?


My Grampa was a pretty smart man. One bit of advice he drilled into my hard head was: If your mouth is moving your ears ain’t working and if your ears aren’t working you’ll never learn a damn thing.


You can always learn something from everyone. Just sometimes it takes a bit of effort on your part to glean the info.


That is what I always liked best about the military (and still miss, other then blowing :poop:up). :boom:
To meet so many people from so many different walks of life an cultures and country’s so many experiences.
To learn and teach, that is all of our jobs. I have found I have learned more by sitting in the background and just listening. :zipper_mouth_face: :ear:


I’ve learned from everyone I’ve ever met. Some people taught me things I hadn’t known, some were another lesson in patience.

1 Like