Anxiety is real for those of us who suffer. I have suffered all my life! From the age of 5 I remember trying to mentally escape from the world around me. To this day when I catch myself doing the same thing. The causes of which are numerous and I’ll not go into that now!
I often get asked why do you not show it, when your teaching, the simple answer is, I’m in “CONTROL”, I know the “SUBJECT MATTER” inside out! Plus, I love doing it, it’s not a chore. And I “BELIEVE” in what I am doing, and why I’m doing it. Not reading from a script verbatim.
So what do I think are my best attributes as an ADI. Listening, Empathy and able to adjust/adapt a lesson plan at will, and adjust to them, and keeping clam when there’s issues. All of these help’s my gain trust and rapport with the pupil. They often tell me I’m good at teaching, after replying, I am just doing my job, I ask why. Because your easy to talk to and have a calm way of teaching, not pushy and REAL! And last Intuition
Why Listening. Through listening you will find out their fears and opinions. It also lets them get anything off their chest in a none threatening environment. You’ll find out if your pushing too hard, or even if they a getting bored, both not good, for learning, and more besides, so next time you see an ADI at the side of the road for a bit, they may be listening to their PUPIL.
Why Empathy? It’s quite shocking the number of young people of both sexes that suffer from anxiety, and because I have suffered all my life, and have put in my own mechanisms in place, either from other people/TV, whatever, I can understand how it feels to be in blind panic or worry about something that’s completely nothing. Even if you haven’t just LISTEN, it’s important to them, and it’s not your lessons it’s THEIRS!
Why Adapting to them/and the lesson. It’s no good pushing ahead with your lessons plan if they having big issues with something. An example is teaching a turn in the road. So you have driving to the site, and they have stalled twice because of the pressure of traffic behind them. I go about this in 2 different ways.
11) The more traditional, change the lesson plan to busy places and maybe some hill starts, with lots of help
22) Keep the lesson plan, but fix the stalling issues when going from point A to point B
Each way has its benefits, and can be very pupils specific, as one way will not work with everyone. But my favourite, and the pupils from what I can see is option 2. Why? In my opinion they are not thinking too much about the issues of stalling as I have not dwelled on it by making it the main focus, thus keeping their anxiety low about it, they have fun learning something new, and help with the stalling issue’s on route to a new Turn in the road area. For me this works as YOU the ADI have not made to much of a big deal of it, and have adapted to the anxiety. I have changed the lesson plan, but in a subtle way.
Slight clutch issues too can be sorted by subtle changes, one of my favourite is to change to route to slow traffic and keep them talking about them, music/anything. They don’t overthink therefore they don’t panic and stall.
Now your saying this is daft because every pupil is different, yes agreed, but that’s where Rapport comes in and only you the ADI will know if this will work with a specific pupil. Remember these are my own opinions as to why I am successful at what I do, and I do respect that others will disagree.
I have spent a lifetime dealing with anxiety and have made HUGE mistakes because of it, and probably still will. Here are Three things that really helped me personally.
One thing I left till last, is intuition .I Spent 10 years in the SCUBA industry, and it is here where I believe I have honed my skills, these include the above, plus intuition. If you get it wrong in the water, then it can go bad, very bad, because I recognise the signs of panic, I got people to do things, they never dreamed of doing. A bit like I do now.
The support of my wife, I’ve dragged her around the world as Diving instructor’s, and have a guitar addiction. But without her as a sounding board, nothing would have been possible.
Life and amazing people. I have learnt from other’s, one of the biggest for me the Anxious ADI. The person who trained me, Thanks Matthew Bell. And Graham Hooper and his team for my BTEC 3.