The REAL problem student (part 2)
I got emails begging me or guessing, so I’m giving in. Here we go…
Day 2, take 2: so after our disastrous morning, I have a good cry on a friendly shoulder, a good lunch, and then get ready to go back in the pool with my student and my translator. I’m trying to be creative here so I don’t drown in despair. So exit the 5mm wetsuit and which I change for a 3mm to cut down his weights, I try other ways around the skills (like figuring out a way of putting back a weightbelt on the surface without having to lift it around your own waist…), and try to think of a way of teaching someone how to use fins, basically. Off we go to do all the mask things again, we spend a good hour on just mask skills. Then another hour on buoyancy, and then finish with some swimming around. After almost 3 hours I have exceeded all my patience and I feel like I should be sanctified or that when I get out of the pool some music-hall crowd is going to gather and sing and dance to tell me how amazing I am. But no. So well, I just put stuff away until the next morning.
Day 3: off to the ocean again for dives 3 and 4. We’ve cut down the weight with the 3mm weightsuit so I can actually lift that weightbelt D. is wearing. Dive 3 requires to flood the mask again, and I am not giving up. We start with the mask (at least if he tries to escape I will not be saturated already) but after a LOT of blowing and making faces he does it. Buoyancy control however is just not happening. I go up and down so much during that dive (we are talking about a max depth of 15 meters) that by the time we get to the safety stop my computer is really unhappy, beeping all it can and giving me extra time for stop. Great. The only blessing is that D. is also really bad on air so the dives last about 30 minutes. Which is exhausting enough, really.
Once again on the boat I go over buoyancy control thanks to my translator, but I feel like this is going to be pretty useless, because once again the horizontal position and the proper use of fins is not really happening anyway.
On the last dive, on top of buoyancy skills, he has to take his mask off. Weirdly enough, he can float around in midwater sitting, but as soon as he tries to lay flat and fin, he is once again all over the place. As for the mask...I make him kneel down so I can hold him and control him a little bit, and signal to him that he has to take his mask off. I can see in his eyes that he is apprehensive and tries to gather his concentration or something, then he takes his mask off....and he freezes. He is holding his mask in front of him and he is focusing so hard on breathing with his mask off (and breathing super fast, face frowned, I can see it) that he forgets to put the mask back on, he is just sitting there trying to breathe. After a few seconds I push his hands and the mask towards his face and that wakes him up, and he replaces his mask and after visible efforts clear it.
We get back, and the whole boat ride I am having a conversation with myself: technically, he did all the skills. A lot of them with several attempts or clearly not being at ease, but he did them. He completed the pool, he survived the 4 dives, whatever is said in the bible of the dive instructor he did. However, sending him to dive with a group or a buddy would be dangerous and really not a great idea. With an Open Water certification, you can rent gear and go dive on your own with someone. Also I imagine a group of a few divers and the poor guide leading them while D. is part of that group and that would be a nightmare. Plus really, he CAN'T dive.
So with the use of my translator once again, for the first time I have to explain to someone I cannot certify him. I give him a certification as a Scuba Diver, meaning that he has completed half of the program, and allows him to go diving at 12 meters with an instructor (and I already feel sorry for the next instructor who will take him). But he still has to complete again the other half, and I suggest he practices fin kicks and skills and maybe do a few fun dives before he gets onto that. He is very smiley and nice as he has been for the past 3 days, thanks me ten times for teaching him and asks the translator to tell me he understands and he will practice and do it again like a good student. And while I'm thinking that maybe he should try tennis or curling instead, I feel a bit sorry for him for trying so hard and not succeeding.
Clearly, some people are not meant to be in the water but you can't really tell them that. I would be like me trying parachute jump or something: I can't fly, I have a fear of heights, why on earth would I do this???
And once again, people never cease to amaze me.