Diary of a wannabe Diving Instructor – Part 2

Working hard!

Working hard!

Day 3 arrives and it’s time to sit a mock exam. Haven’t heard that phrase since my school days, and it still puts the fear of god in me!  The difference with this one is it is ‘open book’. Brilliant, how can you possibly fail an exam where you have the reference book in front of you. Surely there must be a catch, but apparently not I am assured by Dave, the resident Course Director. As I go from question to question, page to page, it occurs to me how people really could fail this….. a combination of time and knowledge. Not necessarily what you already know off the top of your head, it wouldn’t be open book if that was the case, but more how well you know the layout of the Instructor Manual! The more time you are fumbling around trying to locate individual sections, the less time you have, a simple equation!  And your mind starts playing tricks on you, making you doubt your knowledge…Picture this – Question: Whats the Instructor to Student ratio for a Discover Scuba Diving experience? Answer: 4. Yup, definitely 4. Actually I’ll just check that one (cue frantic page turning). Yes, it’s 4……And voila, that’s another 2 minutes wasted!

cw1I manage to pass the exam with a good score, which is a great confidence boost. So now we get to hit the pool and do a confined water presentation. This is another ‘mock’ I suppose, learning the stages needed to successfully teach a student how to perform a skill during and Open water, Advanced or Rescue course. I am given the skill of regulator clearing, which I am confident I can do with no problems. However, as we descend, I soon realise a very big problem that I didn’t anticipate and I’m not sure how to solve it.  I have forgotten to put a weightbelt on, so am struggling to stay kneeling on the bottom to demonstrate my skill. I’m desperate to hide this from Dave, so I try to carry on, keeping my lungs as empty as possible without passing out. After a few minutes, it appears I’ve been bubbled (sorry, couldn’t resist) and we are told to surface. It is at this point I get introduced to the Necklace of Shame (it’s going to be a regular feature, so let’s refer to it as ‘NOS’). During my Instructor Development Course, any general stupidity will be rewarded with possession of the NOS, which must be worn at all times to be a constant reminder of said event. Not too bad you think, until I learn that ‘at all times’ includes when we are finished for the day, so any shopping, sunbathing or other out of hours activity must include a public display of NOS (hence the necklace part to make this easy!). I won’t tell you what is actually on the necklace, but let’s just say, it’s not something you would volunteer to wear in public!

I’m hoping it’s not too long until the other candidate does something to warrant its re-location!