Men Teaching Women
To: Men Who Teach Women’s Handgun Classes
I’ve been thinking about writing this blog to help you out. Not that you need my help. I’m sure your classes are doing just fine. Over the past year, I’ve received some feedback from your women students and I’d figure I’d share it with you. Yes the information is the same no matter who you’re teaching BUT there are subtle nuances that you must know in order to effectively teach women. I’m sharing this info because we ultimately all have to same goal and a win for you is a win for me.
We all know and understand that representation is important so my first bit of advice is to have a woman instructor or RSO present during your classes. It’s easier to believe you can do something if you see someone who looks like you doing that thing (i.e. shooting a firearm). I know women instructors are hard to come by these days so train one. Find a woman close to you and teach her everything you know so she can lead your women classes.
Now this next part may be a little hard to wrap your head around but just bear with me. Don’t call women “females”. Just trust me. I’m not saying that it bothers all women, but it bothers many women. And no woman will be upset if you just call her “woman”. Most of you guys have a military or law enforcement background so I get it BUT just don’t. And while we’re on the military/police topic, DON’T use military or police jargon in a civilian handgun/rifle class. The use of jargon alienates your civilian students. And try not to use foul language during class. It’s unprofessional and unnecessary. It can put them in a defensive mood and they feel like you’re talking AT them and not TO them. They need to be able to relate to you without feeling intimidated.
Your attitude and demeanor in a class is key when teaching any student but extremely important when teaching novice women students. Do NOT get impatient with her when she asks multiple questions. Do NOT bash her for having long fingernails. Do NOT assume she’s never shot before or that she has no firearm knowledge. Please kindly remind her not to wear a tank top or open-toed shoes before she gets to the class. She may not know what proper range attire is.
Lastly, remain professional at all times. Women want to come to a class and feel comfortable. We DON’T want to be hit on while we’re trying to learn. Remember the touch barrier. As an instructor, we now that there may come a time where you have to touch a student to adjust their stance/grip. Always ask permission before you touch a student (unless they’re an immediate threat to themselves or others).
I hope this information was useful. Again, this is not MY personal feedback. These thoughts come directly from the women I’ve encountered over the past few years. Maybe we should listen to them. Good luck!