Early this year I have solemnly resolved to change a few things. Teaching someone to really be able to teach falls into one of those. Coaching a professional or leadership level is not about "a topic", instead to "how to teach and aim for" the soon-to-be-diver. Meaning, the instructor-in-training needs to immediately feel the benefit of the context being taught, not just for themselves but for their future divers. Having thought so, I started to ask myself;
“Why I teach?”
So, I figured. Being trained to be an instructor, a candidate is overwhelmed with lots of issues from the trainer. Knowledge, and of course Skills they need.
Ironically the word “skill” comes from Old Norse, which originally meant, literally, “knowledge.” Today, the term “skill” tends to be used in every aspect of diver endeavor. Someone could be described as “skilled” at controlling buoyancy, donning gear, and adjusting equipment. In physical pursuits, the term tends to be used to describe capabilities that are acquired as the result of significant amounts of practice. Indeed, there is increasing evidence that it is the amount of purposeful practice that is by far the most important ingredient of skill in almost all areas requiring hand-eye coordination.
Yes, that’s right, co-ordination.
Talking about the skills that instructor need to acquire in respect of traditional diving subjects, however, the term “skill” tends to be used to describe broad areas of capability such as “communication skills,” “critical thinking,” “problem solving,” or even “learning how to learn.” The last of these is particularly attractive, because it seems to crystallize what we need rookie instructor to be able to do.
In that broader sense, it’s not incorrect to say we should focus on making the best of everything out of a soon-to-be dive instructor;
but what makes an ordinary diver, a great instructor?
Well, they certainly need to love what they are about to do. There is no question that awesome instructor love to teach. Not doing it for the money, prestige, or glory, they teach because it brings them an incredible feeling of satisfaction knowing they are contributing positively to the futures of divers. If an instructor doesn’t have this inner satisfaction, and does not enjoy what they do, they’ll never be able to make lasting impressions in their diver’s minds.
The best instructors aren’t just interested in context of they teach, they are passionate about teaching, not only diving.
An instructor has the responsibility of bridging the gap between themselves and their divers, so good communication skills are a must. Instructors thrive on those challenge that not everyone could effectively communicate.
Good Instructors lead lives of high moral ground, and they set an example to their divers because of it. Really though, admirable instructors are more credible than others. We as people are much more likely to listen to those we admire, because we wish to be like them. Models of who we would like to someday be, great instructors help show divers, the way.
Instructors are leaders. In the classroom, in the pool and out there in the oceans, they own the spotlight, and have the responsibility of being strong instructors so that divers listen to them with determinations. They have to lead them on the right path through the diving experience, and help by showing the obstacles, mentally or physically, that may stand in the divers’ way.
When it comes to diving, instructors should understand their divers better than the diver themselves. They need to understand where their divers came from, who they are, and know the best avenue to take them to how and how they will become. Good instructors have an uncanny understanding of what they teach and how they demonstrate those skills, because they are experts in their fields of knowledge and skills.
Creating desires for diving makes individuals become competent with skills, compassion, and dedication to ending suffering. An instructor can’t teach without confidence. Divers won’t believe in an instructor that first doesn’t believe in himself. Nothing stands in the way of this confidence.
Dive instructor always encounter situations all the time that could be considered setbacks.
Wait, one last thing. At the end it's about being a pro.
Professionalism is the sign of a great instructor. They know that as someone who is responsible for helping people learn how to dive, they must take their work seriously. Professional treat their divers with respect. They believe in timeliness, and are never late, and rarely miss days they are assigned to work.
There I remembered how I teach.
That is in fact,
..the reason we teach.
The Author is PADI IDC Staff Instructor / Master Freediver Instructor