Not everyone wants to go down the route of being a PADI professional but for those of us that do, there is a clear route to improve our skills and develop as instructors.
As an IDC Staff Instructor, part of my training was how to assist a Course Director on an Instructor Development Course (IDC).
I love assisting on IDCs. I love the mentoring role, taking an Instructor Candidate – someone who wants to learn, and guiding them. Giving them as much as I can from my experience, building their confidence, helping them to improve their skills both as a diver and as a teacher, and setting them off on a path along which they will gain their own experience and hopefully one day will feel able to give some of that back to future Instructor Candidates.
I find that a good analogy for the role is that of being a Divemaster for a Course Director. A good Divemaster will anticipate problems and try to resolve them before they happen, or ensure that the Instructor is aware of them. When they are assisting an Instructor on a course they are able to work with students that are having difficulty, giving them extra practice. They co-ordinate logistics, and they are often the first person that a student goes to with a problem as they are – and should be – more approachable. Ultimately it’s the Instructor (or Course Director on an IDC) that is responsible for the schedule, ensuring that training standards have been met, and for the overall conduct of the course, but the Divemaster (IDC Staff Instructor) helps to make it happen.
I love learning. I want to be the best that I can at everything that I do, and I can only do that by continuous practice and making sure that I take every opportunity to learn something new.
The Course Director and Staff Instructors deliver a series of presentations and then the instructor candidates get several days of practice both in the classroom, the pool, and the sea. Their dive skills are evaluated and brought up to demonstration standards, their rescue skills are also evaluated and brought up to demonstration standards, and finally they have to pass both dive theory and standards exams.
EFR Instructor Training
As part of their IDC all candidates learn how to become Emergency First Response (EFR) Instructors. Along with the serious side, this is a bit of light relief from an otherwise challenging course, as it gives candidates a chance to practice bandaging, CPR and role-playing victims which is always good fun.
The Instructor Exam (IE)
This 4-part exam by a PADI Examiner is a check that the candidates have reached the required standard, and that the Course Director / Staff Instructors have done their job properly.
While candidates must pass the IE in order to teach, the emphasis of a good IDC is as much about real-life teaching once the IE is over as it is about getting through the exam. Course Directors and Staff Instructors bring their years of teaching experience into the classroom, and often continue to act as mentors for a long time after.