Whether you are researching into your PADI SCUBA instructor course or have already made your booking, there is a point not too far away from now where you will need to start preapring for it. As the old saying goes, ‘failing to prepare is preparing to fail’ so the simple act of turning up for your Instructor Development Course (IDC) isn’t enough. The biggest misconceptions for instructor training is that you will be taught everything you need to know and this is completely false. There are certain things you are expected to already be comfortable with before attendance as they are not taught in the instructor course but they are evaluated.
There are three main areas in which you should be preparing. You are training to become a PADI SCUBA instructor, PADI is the Professional Association of Diving Instructors - the first word is professional. Anyone undertaking professinal training and wanting to represent themselves as a professional should act accordingly, being as prepared as possible for this high level course certainly fits that description. Your levels of preparation will not only influence your performance and understanding within the training itself, but it will also heavily dictate who you are as an instructor when you emerge from the process after your certification as a PADI SCUBA instructor.
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Once you officially register for your course we can send you the required PADI eLearning code for the IDC. This eLearning must be completed before the IDC starts. It is important not to rush through this as the information you will learn is applied throughout your instructor course. As part of this eLearning you are also issued with a digital Diving Knowledge Workbook which you also need to complete. This is where you build upon the five areas of dive theory that you were taught in your Divemaster training - Physics, Physiology, Equipment, General Skills & Environment and the Recreational Dive Planner. More than anything, this is the area that people take for granted by assuming your Course Director will simply teach this to you but that’s not how this process works. This is a knowledge base you are expected to have attained as a Divemaster and should bring with you into your SCUBA instructor training. As with the eLearning, you are evaluated in this area by way of exams which you need to pass so take the time to get your theory strong before attending an IDC. Once you are at a level of comfort where you can explain why something is correct then you are there, because explaining things is inevitably going to be your role. Any areas or specific questions you don’t understand you will be expected to first find out because this is what it means to have a positive, professional attitude. If there are only a couple of things you’re not sure about then don’t worry, we will be able to explain some things during the instructor course. It is probably already quite evident that your success is determined quite heavily by your commitment level. Those who do not commit stand a much lower chance of success than those who do.
Your general diving skills and comfort levels are an ongoing assessment whenever you are in the water during your training, so be sure to have recent dive experience before turning up to your PADI IDC. If you have access to a pool or confined water then make a point of rehersing the updated PADI skill circuit, remembering that just being able to perform the skill is not enough, you must be able to demonstrate the skill. This means performing each of them in a slow but clear manner with exaggerated motions in the key places. We have a video you can view to help guide you on what we are looking for in a demonstration, take note of the steps in each skill and how emphasis is placed in critical parts to help highlight them to the observing student. Of course, there are variations on how some skills are performed and if you do them slightly different that is perfectly fine.
In addition to the 24 skills which make up the PADI skill circuit, it is also a good idea to re-familiarise yourself with the skills from your Rescue Diver training as these are also integrted into your SCUBA instructor course. Some of them you might even be tasked to teach during your IDC. There is a workshop of these skills within the IDC but as we highlighted in the above knowledge section, your desire to make a review of these will help with your development within the course.
PADI Material Familiarity.
Become VERY familiar with the current version of your PADI instructor manual. You should download it (for free) from your PADI pro account as this ensures you have the most up to date version because changes to standards occur routinely and you don’t want to be referring to an older version which could lead you to be using incorrect or outdated information. The instructor manual is used continuously throughout your dive instructor training course workshops as well as having your knowledge of the manual evaluated by way of exams that must be passed if you wish to progress from your IDC to your IE. Make a habit of looking things up instead of assuming. The individual sections/courses within the manual are seperated into small sections so it is easy to maybe set aside 20 minutes per day and just read one section until youve gone through it, it will serve you well because again, you are expected to be able to reference this with relitive comfort.
Beyond the PADI instructor manual, you should download the PADI app and look at the various features and their contents. During your SCUBA instructor training we will be teaching you how to create effective teaching scenarios and use of the digital products is expected so it makes sense to aquaint yourself. This is an extremely easy and has some great features too.
Ultimately, you will get out of your training what you put in to it. The better prepared you are, the more sense it will all make and you will be using your time within IDC more effectively than those who are unprepared and thus having to always be doing extra study or extra work on top of what is already a pretty intense course to begin with. You should always be able to reach out to your Course Director for guidance in these areas.
Have a great IDC, we wish you the best of success. Our contributor Stephen J. Aynsley is a 4-year PADI Platinum Awarded Course Director in Utila, Honduras. Follow him on Instagram @padicoursedirectorsja or on Facebook