From Texas To Thailand #7 Being an Instructor
So there I was, certified PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor. After more than half a year of hard work and dedication, I achieved what at one point seemed unreachable. Days went by when I would wake up and forget I was one of “them”. The guys I looked up to everyday around the shop. Needless to say, I was definitely feeling accomplished. However, there was certainly still much more work to be done before I was satisfied.
At this point, despite having been through some of the best training offered anywhere in the world, I was still an inexperienced diver – as far as teaching went. During my IDC and my IE, I was most definitely given the tools to become a good instructor. It was now time to learn how to use those tools through “team teaching” at Mermaids. Team teaching is basically when a young instructor – such as myself – assists a more experienced instructor in hopes of being able to personally apply all the information I had previously obtained to real life teaching scenarios. Slowly acquiring more and more responsibility from the more experienced instructor as time went on. Being at such a big shop with so many instructors around really gave me the best opportunity to create my own unique style, as I was able to pick up bits and pieces from different instructors every day.
I was fortunate enough to join in on a PADI Rescue course as one of my first team teaches. A fairly experienced student off the bat makes for a smooth course. Plus, rescue was drilled into my brain not only in my rescue course, but in my divemaster course and IDC as well. As expected, everything was going great. The student was on top of the skills and I was feeling pretty good about the day. At this point we were going through a part of the training that requires the student to remove kit from themselves and a “victim”.
Being the instructor with hands free, as the student removes kit, they hand it to me while they complete the scenario. Everything went great! Our dummy victim was back on the boat and all was well in the world. After a round of high fives to everyone, my student then asked me a question I won’t easily forget. “Hey Tex. Where are my fins?”, she said. At this point in the story you can probably come to the conclusion that I had lost her fins. Oh boy did I feel like a fool. Lesson learned; Hold onto all the equipment during rescue or you’ll find yourself replacing a very expensive pair of fins.
After more team teaching and more time at the shop, I was becoming a confident instructor. My momentum was at an all-time high. I was on the fast track towards making a name for myself in this industry. However, my time spent away from home had reached the one-year mark. It was time to go back to Texas.