Learning how to teach diving

May 28, 2013

I sort of knew this already, but the instructor course prepares you to pass the PADI exam, not to actually teach people how to dive. And then, suddenly, you are a certified scuba instructor and people trust you with their life to take them in the water for the first time. And some days you haven't got a clue on where to start. 

 

Well I am slightly exaggerating, you do have the materials and guides and things to help you with it. And of course your fellow colleagues that have done it a billion times already and actually know what they are doing. I feel more qualified for a bunch of other things than this, right now. When it comes to diving, I feel very humble still, a baby diver really.


 

So far, no major issues though. To be honest, I had it pretty easy from the start. My first student was half-way through the Open Water course and was super good in the water. So I just took it from where he left it and finished the course in a couple of days. He loved it, he thought I was amazing, I was super excited about my first OW certification, it all went fine.

Then, after my kidney-stone break, I got back in the water on day one and just went fun diving, and on day two I took this couple for a DSD (first dive ever). The guy loved it, on dive two he already had some idea on buoyancy and was smiling when getting out of the water. It was very easy to get him on the Open Water course. So here I am with my first proper OW course ever. In Spanish as well, to make things a little bit more spicy. No need to say I learnt quite a lot of diving vocabulary in Spanish within a couple of days.

I have to say, I got it once again super easy. This guy was super good in the water, went through all the pool session in about two hours and I even got one of our many Divemaster trainees to help me out. Now, do you want to read about how to look a bit stupid on the course you are actually teaching? Well, here is the trick: be unable to perform one of the skills you are actually supposed to teach. While I read my slates and prepare for that pool session so I would actually know what I had to do, I discover there is a skill called "disconnect the low pressure inflator hose while underwater or on the surface". Never heard of that before. Or maybe I don't remember.
(for you non divers, the low pressure inflator hose connects to your BCD to be able to put air in it. Therefore, when the tank is open, there's pressure in it.)

 

Anyway, how hard can that be? So we get in the pool, we do various stuff and all goes well, until we get to that skill. And here I am kneeling at the bottom of the pool with my student, ready to demonstrate how to do this....and it just doesn't work. I can't get the damn thing off. My student is trying as well and no success either. We go up and I try to put my coolest face to say "Let's not worry about that now, we'll come back to it later". Later, this is when I run out of the pool and to Cody, asking how the f**k to do this.

It wasn't that hard really, once you get the trick, but I just looked a bit stupid really. The rest of the course went great, the guy was really at ease with everything, and in two and a half days we were done. And I had lots of fun doing it as well. It's so rewarding so far to see how people get better at this, enjoy it so much, get excited about just any fish that swims by.

This week, I am teaching an Advanced OW. We did two dives today and it went smooth and easy once again. Either I am already super good at this, which I highly doubt, either I have been randomly given good students, which is more likely. Not sure how that will work when I get a difficult one...

 

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