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Abyss Scuba Diving
10 Teaching Tips for New PADI Dive Instructors
Diving is such an amazing sport and hobby that it's no surprise that so many people are interested in becoming Professional Dive Instructors. Here are ten helpful tips I've picked up over the past 25 years as a dive instructor, PADI Master Instructor and Course Director.
- Don’t Tell Your Students You are a New Instructor
As a new scuba diving instructor, one of your most important goals is to develop the confidence of your students and overcome their fears. Your student divers need to trust you, and nothing will destroy that confidence more than you are telling your student divers that you are a new instructor and that they are your first students. Avoid the temptation, it's not worth it.
- Be confident
It’s natural to feel nervous when your first time as an instructor. Like anything you do that is new to you, confidence comes with time and experience. What you must remember is that you have much more diving knowledge than your student divers, and you certainly have more experience. They are looking for you for guidance and instruction. Never forget that.
- Make it fun, enjoyable, and social.
Diving is all about having fun! And it’s our job, as dive instructors, to provide the best underwater experience possible to all students. Build relationships and get to know your students, their interests, ambitions, and goals. Socialize with them after the dive. Connect with them on social media. Take some cool pictures and tag them in the post.
- Remember your first time on scuba
Never forget the sensation of breathing underwater for the first time. After all, it was because of this moment that you became addicted to scuba diving and the reason you are reading this blog! Keep in mind that your students, too, are going through that amazing experience and enjoying the transformation moment. Don’t rush this part of your course, allow them to relish it.
- Be patient with your students.
Approach these situations with calmness and empathy. It is the nervous students, who initially don’t meet some performance requirements that will provide you with the greatest rewards as a PADI diving instructor. You see the faces of fear turn to joy. Patience is a great attribute for a PADI diving instructor to have. If your students don't understand your directions, it is your shortcoming not theirs.
- Anticipate problems and prepare
Mask clearing is likely to be a large problem you and your students will encounter or have encountered in the past. Begin your class by having your pupils breathe underwater with their mask on. Have them do this for a couple of minutes, engage in some games during this period. The time will eliminate many problems later in the course.
- Pay attention to your students' body language
When instructing students in the ocean and in the pool, be sure to keep an eye on their anxiety levels. Check in with them every so often and use the OK signal to reduce their stress. Make sure you are watching students' eyes when practicing skills such as mask floods or regulator recoveries.
- Team Teach
Team teach with more experienced Instructors and pick up useful tips and skills. Work with a range of Instructors, study their different teaching styles, methods of delivery, and approaches to delivering scuba diving lessons then model your individual teaching style around what you believe works best for you. Team teaching enables you to focus 100% on your teaching skills and techniques, whilst not needing to worry as much about the organisational details of the course.
- Follow the PADI Standards
PADI standards are there for a reason. They don’t complicate your life; on the contrary, they make your life easier, protect you, and produce better divers. The training courses you are certified to teach have been developed over many years, by experts in several fields with the goal of providing the best possible educational training courses for scuba divers.
- Advocate for the Ocean
As a PADI instructor, you are an ambassador for the oceans, so take the time to get your students excited about the marine life and ocean conservation. Inform your student divers of the threats to our oceans and their marvellous marine life. You are one of a small number of people worldwide who can influence others in this way. Lead by example and practice what you preach.
As you move forward on the path to becoming a PADI Instructor, always remember to do what you do best: provide value to students. Take control of who you are and what you want your students to learn; you’ve just worked hard to become a scuba diving Instructor, but this is only the beginning. What you are about to do will be more rewarding than anything else you have ever done.
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