I wrote to you previously about how your article on servitude hit the nail on the head with regard to my child's martial arts school. With the pressure to learn to teach (it will speed you through your belt ranks is the main reason they give) and the hours they wanted/expected out of them, I felt it important to explore this further. My one son had been focusing on getting his "teaching" rank in order to get into the instructor class, which promised more intense work outs, quicker advancement through the belt ranks, and the promise of personal training for full contact fighting (which is only done with instructors--kind of like the dangling carrot). After making it into the instructor class he discovered that it wasn't what he'd been led to believe, and more and more was asked of him. In fact, he was putting in over 16 hours a week teaching and attending instructor classes, with next to no time focusing on his own belt material. His grades in school suffered and we told the "master" that he would no longer be teaching. The "master" and "grandmaster" were obviously not pleased with this decision, but we told them his schoolwork was more important (jr. in high school). There has certainly been some repercussions as a result of this--he is no longer the "golden child" they used as the shining example of their school, and there is a less "friendly" atmosphere as a result.
After checking labor laws with regard to volunteerism in commercial businesses I found that it is illegal for any "for profit" business to use volunteers for any purpose that keeps them in business. In other words, if the school can't run classes without volunteer instructors/assistants/trainees, then they are in blatant violation of labor codes. I took it a step further and contacted the Department of Labor and spoke to a representative about this. As I explained to him the use of students as instructors (complete control over the running of classes), students as private instructors (one on one instruction with students--the school charges about $30 for each private lesson and the instructor is not paid) and students as teacher assistants, he said this most definitely is a violation of a couple of labor codes. The violation is compounded by the fact that many of these instructors and assistants are minors and further violates child labor laws. I asked if anyone from the Department of Labor had ever checked into this practice (in martial arts schools) and he wasn't aware of it. However, he was definitely interested in investigating this.
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