Teaching Tigers: The Power of a Smile


I have always had a soft spot for toddlers, even when I was barely out of that stage myself.

Growing up, I was one of the older kids at daycare, so I was supposed to go with the older group on field trips and events. But most of the time, I would find myself wanting to stay back to help out with the younger kids, who were usually between two and six years old. I would play with them, help to set up their crafts, and do anything to ensure they were having a good time. 

So when I was asked by Master Gorino to help teach the Tigers, our 3-5 year old students, I leapt at the opportunity. But not without a bit of hesitation. 

When I first started teaching, I found it challenging to teach the kids classes.  It required more patience and energy with a playful mindset that I wasn’t accustomed to.

But then I remembered some lessons that I learned from my time in day care. Kids that young can benefit so much from having someone older to give them attention, guidance, support, and praise, no matter what they’re doing. 

Day-to-day, a child that young has so many challenges they are facing. It can be overwhelming because they haven’t yet learned how to manage those emotions. Having influential people in their lives can make a huge difference by simply putting a smile on their face. 

When a child smiles, everyone smiles. I don’t know anyone who can resist when a kid smiles at them. I remembered that I enjoy and have been  making children smile. I can’t explain it.

So that became my mission when I agreed to help with the Tigers: make even one student happy, and do that every single day. 

As I got further into working with the kids, I learned that I had a particular knack for helping students who had even more challenges. As I mentioned earlier, children that young sometimes have difficulty managing emotions. So, you get children who cry during class, have separation issues, throw temper tantrums seemingly out of nowhere, etc. I found myself able to work with those students and get control of the situation.

That turned out to be an extremely important part of the job, because those things are going to happen with children that young. These kids are developing emotionally, mentally, and physically. 

Our goal with Tae Kwon-Do is to teach people of all ages how to cope with changes and navigate their lives. Toddlers are no exception.

My time teaching the Tigers taught me a great deal about myself as a person, an instructor, and now, as I have opened our sister school in Williamsville, a Tae Kwon-Do Master. What I loved most about working with the Tigers is the same thing I loved most about working with the toddlers at my daycare: the feeling of giving something back. 

I truly believe that one of the things that defines who we are is how we help other people. And that might be the greatest lesson of all.

Master Gorino’s Tae Kwon-Do offers a trial program for individuals and families in Buffalo, NY and the surrounding areas that allows you to get a feel for the different classes, meet our instructors, and experience our dojang. It’s a great way to see if Tae Kwon-Do is right for you. To learn more or to sign up, visit the Contact Us page or call (716) 836-KICK (5425) and a member of our team will follow up with you on next steps. We look forward to helping you achieve your goals. Pil-Sung!


Your browser is out of date. It has security vulnerabilities and may not display all features on this site and other sites.

Please update your browser using one of modern browsers (Google Chrome, Opera, Firefox, IE 10).

WordPress Video Lightbox