Diary of a wannabe Diving Instructor – Part 4

annieToday is a break from all things diving and time for us to do our Emergency First Response Instructor course. It’s a pre-requisite for the Instructor Exams and is a highly regarded first aid qualification as well enabling us to teach others these valuable skills.  Although it’s compulsory, it covers no diving first aid, instead covering the basic first aid skills needed for both adults and children. Dave informs us that this course is actually taught in many businesses all around the world, from day-care centres to multi-national corporations.

First we refresh our own knowledge before being shown how to teach all the information to future students.  Once we have run through what we should know already, it’s straight into the practical. Little Annie doesn’t know what’s hit her as me and my fellow student start trying to resuscitate a plastic mannequin. Quite frankly, it’s embarrassing but I suppose if it saves someones life one day, what a flushed face?

recoveryOur next task is to create a scenario that Dave can help us as a ‘qualified first responder’, so we get the idea from practical examples (although ketchup was declared a better idea than actually injuring someone for the sake of realism!). Dave acts like a true professional throughout, and how he does this with two giggling girls in front of him I’m not sure, bandaging, splinting and generally patching up as he goes.  Then he breaks it to me that the day will end, as a few have, with a final exam.  Luckily, the practical scenarios today have ensured that the information has stuck in my head, and I pass this one, dare I say, with ease! (certainly easier than I remember the Divemaster exams being!)

It is a pleasantly short day (compared to the last few), and we are just about to go home when it appears that no-one is currently in possession of the NOS. In truth, Kim and myself are disagreeing with each other over who the current holder is, and thought that if we left it long enough, Dave would forget. Turns out not, and the NOS is to be shared. How’s that going to work?


Diary of a wannabe Diving Instructor – Part 3

ow slatesFour days in and I’m still really enjoying myself. However, my hopes of palming off the Necklace of Shame (NOS) are dashed before we’ve even started. It was however, my fault entirely!  I wasn’t feeling too well yesterday, so decided to spend last night trying to fight off whatever was trying to ruin my dream of becoming a PADI Diving Instructor. Some paracetamol and a few garlic cloves were taken, along with early night, and I’m as right as rain today. However, it came at the expense of doing my homework, so the NOS remains firmly around my neck. It’s a sacrifice I’m more than willing to make if I can carry on the course.

We start with more exams, and because the Instructor course covers much more in depth theory than the Divemaster Course, I’ve got to brush up on my physics and biology if I’m going to ace these tests. But its amazing how easy it becomes when you actually have something to apply it to.  Asking how much air has to be put into a lift bag to successfully surface an anchor is something I want to know!

ow boatIn the afternoon, we go on the boat to complete some Open Water training. This is different to the confined water training in one big way. In confined you are teaching someone a ‘new’ skill, and you can only move onto the next one when you are confident the student has mastered it, and that is in preparation for this moment, the Open Water Dives. At this point, as an instructor, you are not teaching, you are making sure the student can repeat the skill in deeper water. No demonstrations, just a hand signal to tell the student what they should be showing you. It’s the first time I have realized the importance of judging ‘mastery’.  If someone cleared a mask badly in the pool and had to surface to cough and splutter, as happened on my Open Water Course (and yep, it was me!), then it’s a potential nightmare if that student is then asked to do it again in deeper water (which didn’t happen to me as I was not allowed to carry on until I could clear that mask, in the pool, like a pro!).

Back at the centre, with another day finished, I have a thought.  Wow, the responsibility I’m taking on is huge, I hope my judgement is up to the task.


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!


Diary of a wannabe Diving Instructor – Part 1

aysenurHi. My name is Aysenur and I want to be a PADI Instructor! To help me do this, I’ve just enrolled in the Instructor Development Course being run here at Sail Rock Divers.  It’s a 12 day course that should teach me everything I need to know to be able to pass the Instructor Exams and then embark on a new career! Much like Harry’s Divemaster Diary, I’ll also be writing the Sail Rock blog for the next couple of weeks, so if you are interested what is involved in becoming a Diving Instructor, or know someone who is, let them know about this blog and you can follow my progress.

Firstly, I’ll tell you how I ended up here. After passing my PADI Open Water course in 2000, I sadly did little with my qualification, until I came to Thailand and found myself on Koh Phangan, within reach of  the famous ‘Sail Rock’. I chose to dive with Sail Rock divers as it seemed a sign (and they seemed like a great dive centre!).

After seeing the way the centre was run and chatting with some of the guides, I decided that it was time to take my diving career a little further, and enrolled on my EFR and Rescue courses. My Instructor, Blue, made it all so interesting that it re-ignited my passion for diving, and with no particular plans in my head, I started my Divemaster.  What a great way to travel around the world, earning a bit of cash and getting paid to dive. My Divemaster course really showed me what it’s like to work in the industry, and I loved it. With no time restraints, I worked out I could stay and do the IDC and IE and be able to share my love of diving by not only guiding divers but actually teaching them!

And so, here I am.  I’m only a day into the course, and we are yet to hit the water, but already even the academics are building my enthusiasm (and yes, I realise how sad that sounds). As we breeze through Physics, race through Standards and start doing presentations, the dream is just that little bit closer.

I have a feeling it won’t be this easy for long!


Whats happening in the Dive Centre ? 7th May

One of our more 'serious' students!

One of our more ‘serious’ looking students!

With a few people off sick, it doesn’t take long before all our instructors are working and today is one of those days. As one of the few centres with a boat going out today, it’s strangely quiet around the village and on the pier.  Our diving guests range from a Rescue diver with a couple of hundred dives to a recently qualified Open Water diver, about to embark on his first ‘fun’ dives. We are also welcoming some snorkelers on board, one of which is very keen to watch his dad from the surface…in fact he doesn’t seem too bothered about the fish at all. That’ll change when he gets in!

In the centre, it’s the first day of an Open Water course, and Neil is the instructor. For the next three days, his student will be introduced to all aspects of diving, in a fun yet safe way. She is very excited and can’t wait to get in the water. After the first section of the theory is completed, Neil cracks and lets her in the pool. It’s earlier than normal, but with someone that enthusiastic, it seems cruel to keep them in a classroom-it feels like watching a caged puppy!!

Any ideas what they are doing?

Any ideas what they are doing?

The pool is a hive of activity today, there’s a mix of skills being done, so it’s a game of guess which confined session as a few locals pop in for a spot of lunch.

The afternoon brings us one more guest, a man who is desperate to go to Sail Rock, but has just got over a mild cold and is taking advantage of our daily free try dive in the pool to check his ears are okay before he books in for tomorrow. After a quick briefing he’s soon swimming around, ears ok. Then, as quick as a flash, he’s out again, filling in forms ready for tomorrow.  That’s what we like, an eager guest, and the centre seems full of them!