Clare Dutton, of Duttons Divers and Vivian Dive Centre, continues her series of tips for UK Dive Instructors…
I am sure that by now as an instructor you are proficient with your skill demonstrations, can find all of your equipment with your eyes closed and are confident in the water. As we teach more and more, these skills get slicker and we may forget the time that we could not do them. The feelings of frustration when being unable to perform a mask clear, guzzling your air content and having to sit on your knees because your weighting is all wrong.
This is something that I do not think we as instructors do often enough…. probably not since our Instructor Development Course! I personally had this realisation when deciding to take more technical courses, having to master the art of a twin-set and was suddenly pushed back into feeling like a Discover Scuba Diver! Which got me questioning, what are the most valuable traits that our students look for? Is it how well we can execute a regulator recovery, how exciting we make the course, or how approachable we are? The general consensus seems to be, patience and understanding.
Sometimes it’s good to move outside of your comfort zone in order to ground yourself back on your students level, improving your interpersonal skills with your student because you can easily recall and relate to what they are feeling. There are many ways that we can to this, continuing our learning, with instructor speciality courses or even trying something new such as technical or free diving.
This leads me to my point that not all divers would have dived in the UK, so as a UK dive instructor, keep that in mind… as this new environment is going to be very frustrating! Yes, your diver coming to take a course or book a guided dive may have a good number in their logbook, but have any of these been in cold water? The diver will now be entering the water to contend with a new drysuit, cold water, reduced visibility and of course extra lead, so just like within my experience, they will likely go from a proficient diver, to feeling like they are learning all over again.
Tip #2: Don’t forget the frustration, and if you do….try something new!
Check back for Tip #2 next month. Find out more at www.duttonsdivers.com.