As many of you know, children can be difficult to work with, the saying “Never Work with Children and Animals” regularly rings true when dealing with some more challenging elements of teaching. This is no different when training snorkellers… However, sometimes, it just goes right…
This was the case last night, when due to staff shortages I was left with both my group, the clubs Advanced Snorkellers, and Wills group, the Open Water Snorkellers to train.
Having prepared a lesson for my group, a subject unsuitable for the lower group, I had to quickly jiggle my plans. Luckily, part of the Advanced groups training includes an element of leadership and guiding younger divers. So I decided to put them on the spot and set them the task to run and manage the lower group that night.
The task set, was to teach and guide their “students” on how to tie a simple bowline knot in a rope, and to then transfer that to working underwater.
There was a level of excitement and trepidation in their faces when I set them the task, and a few minutes of confusion as they set up, with the usual student chatter while this all went on. However, after a few minutes of establishing an element of authority, my stars from the Advanced group took to thier task like a duck to water.
As you all know, I am an instructor trainer, so I know what to look for when it comes to the work of a trainer. Now whilst this was not polished like an experienced instructor, the job the Advanced group were doing was nothing short of excellent for their level… I was almost astounded!
After showing them how to do the knot, they worked with each student, encouraging, guiding and helping them in turn, so they could achieve the desired result. After a short while they had identified who was struggling, coping and excelling, and had split the group into that demographic, with each of the three taking on their own mini group.
I stood back watching in delight and awe. My group, who normally would be chattering, playing and being general teenagers, were suddenly responsible, caring, role models for the younger students. It was a joy to watch.
I commented so to other instructors on poolside, and they too watched with pleasure.
It was clear from the looks on the faces of the students in the Open Water group, that they were having fun, were totally engaged, and really trying hard to impress their new trainers. It gave me a really warm feeling.
So, what Im trying to say here, is sometimes, kids can be a pain, but other times they can blow your tiny mind with their ability! On this occasion it was the latter…
Im sure with coaching, and guidance, all three of the students who helped me out last night will go on to be amazing instrutors in their own right one day. For certain, I will be doing my best to encourage them to achieve this.
I went home smiling last night. Not because I had taught a good lesson, or because the kids werent hard work, and had engaged in the lesson; but because, suddenly, everything had fallen into place. The student had become the master. I was able to watch some excellent students develop their leadership skills. Become role models for those below them, and have fun while doing it.
Well done guys. You made an old instructor very proud.