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Massad Ayoob on Guns

Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post.

Massad Ayoob


Monday, February 6th, 2017

Just finished our first class of 2017. Good to be back in the saddle.  Thanks to ace instructor John Murphy who hosted us in Springfield, VA.

As a rule, the evil princess and I take off from teaching from mid-December to first week in February.  It’s not a vacation – we use the time to get caught up on writing, podcasting, accounting, etc., and to squeak in a few shooting matches if we can.  More of a sabbatical than a vacation.

Always good to get back to teaching, though.  When I was a kid, I figured teaching must be one of the worst jobs imaginable: teaching the same thing over and over again to people who didn’t really want to learn it.

There’s teaching, though, and there’s teaching.  In the kind of adult ed I do ( nobody’s there to get a ticket punched: the students are there because they WANT to learn, and that makes all the difference.  It’s why I love doing what I do.

I know a lot of you reading this teach something to somebody sometimes.  Share here what you like about it…and what you don’t.

19 Responses to “BACK TO WORK”

  1. Doug Says:

    Teaching Illinois Concealed Carry is very rewarding as the vast majority of students recognize the seriousness of carrying a firearm for self-defense and welcome the opportunity to learn more about the gun as well as the law. Occasionally I am frustrated by that student that is simply looking to meet the minimum requirements of the law, but there are significantly more that are truly interested in learning.

  2. Bob Tinsley Says:

    I sometimes teach woodcarving. I find that in teaching someone to carve a figure or a spoon my own carving skills improve because I am forced to examine in detail how I’m doing it and why. This leads me to discover techniques that produce a final product closer to what I see in my mind in a more efficient way. I teach to improve myself and bring that joy of accomplishment to others.

  3. Roger Willco Says:

    Teaching is good if you have good students. One teacher in a public school, teaching a class of twenty or more students who are undisciplined and don’t want to be there, is a nightmare.

    I am against ALL classroom teaching until the college level. I believe ALL children should be taught by their parents or grandparents. If the child needs a subject which can’t be taught by a relative, hire a tutor. The tutor should be present with both the child and a parent. This way you have two adults keeping one child in line, and the tutor can concentrate on that student, and customize for lessons for that student’s learning style. The parent can answer questions from the tutor, make sure the student does their homework, and the parent will actually be learning along with their child. That’s a good thing.

    With the parent there, the tutor can not be accused of abusing the child. With the child there, the tutor cannot be accused of messing around with the parent.

    I think this would be a better way of learning for the student, and teachers would enjoy it as well. No more trying to teach twenty-five students, with various needs, the same stuff at the same time. No more discipline problems. No more public schools, so property taxes could be reduced by 66%.

    Oh, the child needs socialization, you say? All right, let them play in the neighborhood, go to church, join Boy/Girl Scouts and the Little League. You don’t need socialization at the same time you should be learning. That is called distraction. I call my method, a “custom education” as opposed to an assembly-line, industrial education which we have in public, private and Christian schools today.

  4. Greg T Says:

    Thoughts on legalizing suppressors?

  5. Rusty Ashbaugh Says:

    “the students are there because they WANT to learn, and that makes all the difference.”

    Gotta wonder if regular school would be like this if it wasn’t compulsory.

  6. Michael Sweeney Says:

    I taught my first undergraduate class in the fall of 1975. I’ve moved around a bit but have spent the last 20 years as a professor at Hillsdale College. A special place; we accept no state or federal government funding, avoiding the strings that go along with it. For me one of the joys of teaching is hearing from former students who have moved on to successful careers.

    That said, one of the best classes that I have ever taken was your LFI I course. You obviously love what you do. You are an excellent teacher and I continue to learn from you through this blog.

    Thank you, Maas.

  7. Tom T Says:

    I love firearms instructing for those “ah ha…I get it” moments from the students.
    And when they walk out of my classes with confidence and the understanding that they are now in charge of their own safety and security.

  8. Tionico Says:

    I teach some aspects of coffee…. and sometimes tea. Adult education to equip people who WANT to learn is a whole nuther ball game from even high school teaching.

    I really love it when I’ve a small group who already know (or think they know) somewhat about roasting, or brewing, or coffee grading but who are eager to perfect their craft, extend their knowledge, etc. They PAY ATTENTION, and learn because they want to master it. They literally draw out of me what I know. They ask great questions, make co-relations between this and that, and will soak up as much as I am able to give them. I especially love the hands on part, where the “pie in the sky” turns into live heat on green coffee, and the colour and smell changes through the roast process comes alive, twiddling knobs and logging time/temp data and connecting that with sights, sounds, smells, gets real. Of course, the “rewqrd” is tasting it once its cooled… much like heading down to the target line to check the holes, only much more of a sensory involvement.

    I’ve also been an Instructore with the Appleseed Programme for some years.. … you may remember a shoot some years back on a cow pasture above Gold Beach……. THAT was a fine weekend. I enjoyed the way you just sat back and watched, enjoying every moment of it all. Sixty five shooters on the line……

  9. Mas Says:

    Greg T, I’m for it.

  10. David S. Keough Says:

    Learning, from through masters is always a pleasure Mas. I’ll get there some day.

  11. Spencer B. Says:

    What I love about teaching is helping to expand accurate knowledge of, along with passion for firearms and the various uses and advantages of the guns. It’s great to see people have “aha!” lightbulb moments when something clicks or they excel at utilizing something they weren’t really all that comfortable with a moment ago.
    What I hate about it is trying to insure that I convey information and technique accurately enough in a relatively short time. Furthermore, I mention passion yet that just can not be taught! Sometimes, the feeling that I may have forgot to convey some important piece of information effectively can be SPOOKY!

    Anyone ever have a “did I forget to mention (insert stuff and/or thing here) feeling?

    I always do my best to remeber myself as well as to accurately convey how to safely handle firearms and to provide the tools to fully ingrain safety when handling arms and afield! Didn’t want to folks to consider that I hadn’t done that. For me it’s more like something that could make that gun just a bit easier to use that I may have space on in a given scenario.

    Not a pro teacher these days but try to help!

  12. Jaji Says:

    While nowhere near the level Mas and his staff are at teaching, three decades of shooting makes me a “gun guru” to co-workers. It’s really strange when those with military experience look to me for assistance…and kind of scary when I explain something that should have been taught originally (like “always remove the magazine before racking the slide or else you’ll only reload the weapon and NOT clear it” kind of thing).

    It is however a great feeling to impart knowledge and see the light in someone’s eyes when they finally understand something they’ve been fighting to understand.

    PS If anyone wants to learn how to cook, though, I can certainly teach THAT with much more knowledge and authority than firearms training! 😀

  13. Steve from MA Says:

    Decades ago I taught a junior college intro psych course to LEO who were trying to get pay raises. It was a tough class of hard nosed folks and the material I chose to present was mind boggling to a lot of the students, reflecting the content chosen by someone in their early thirties. I would choose very different content now. Nevertheless, a few guys followed me to the parking lot to discuss further. I felt a lot of pressure personally to make sure folks passed, an ethical conundrum when some literally did nothing and expected to pass and get their raise. I ended up failing one guy who was just arrogantly lazy. Not sure I would put myself in that position again but am retired now so moot point.

  14. Jason C. Says:

    In the military, I have enjoyed teaching prospective POs and civilians alike in the realm of technology for the last 6 years. There is something about the peer to peer mentor role that satisfies my personal sense of accomplishment. I’m not happy until my students are enjoying the learning experience and asking questions showing they are engaged. I have enjoyed the experience so much, that I have sought to carry it over into instructing firearms and law, both of which have been passions for 20 years. I will likely continue to pursue teaching on this path full time after retirement. I probably should have been a GM, but likely wouldn’t have enjoyed life or my firearms hobby as much if I had to scrub 30mm deck guns.

  15. Suburban Says:

    I have been honored to take three LFI classes from Mas, and must say he is an excellent teacher. On occasion I teach a basic carry class for those who wish to get a permit. I emphasize that what I am teaching is only the very basics, and strongly recommend they take a class from Mas as funds and time allow. You can’t have too much good instruction!

  16. Tyler from AR Says:

    Hey Mas, any chance of new podcasts coming soon? It’s always like getting a visit from Santa when a new one posts.

  17. Two-gun Steve Says:

    The late educator and psychologist Carl Ransom Rogers opened my eyes to the value of “researching the student.” Being familiar with Carl’s 19 Propositions is of great value in promoting learning. Military training can also be an asset, where you really learn to shut up, listen, and learn, or else. Kind of like my fourth grade teacher’s classroom. Mrs. Herring could have been a Marine Corps D.I. A great teacher and a lot of fun, she also exercised iron discipline, back in the day. She hardly ever had to take her 4-foot-long, lacquered wooden paddle off the wall, either. It always reminded me of a beautiful rifle stock.

    Roger Willco, your plan could drastically reduce evil property taxes, too.

  18. James Torson Says:

    I am across the pond from you, but as part of our school’s outdoor education programme, we teach the kids marksmanship (with the BSA Scorpion Cadet for those interested).

    The group I just finished with for the term has had a one hour session, once per week for the past five weeks. They’ve gone from dangerously unsafe to remarkably good, and it’s that which makes everything worthwhile.

    It’s rewarding to see people enjoy shooting, especially in a country where doing anything shooting related makes most people scared. The kids enjoy hitting steel and seeing the poppers go down (they’re pretty small targets) and I can go home happy because they’ve applied the principles that I’ve taught, which is what I look for.

  19. MichaelJT Says:

    You always come to understand a subject better when you teach it to others.
    Makes you look at it from a different angle.

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