Choosing a good mentor and trainer is one of the most important decisions when becoming a dive professional.
Individuals work and prepare for years to have the opportunity to take the Instructor Trainer course that allows them to directly impact the next generation of professionals and divers entering into our sport.
Well you have accomplished the first step by getting certified as an Open Water Scuba Diver. What you will need now is experience, training and time.
Many people around the world hold hopes and dreams about accomplishing big goals in life. For some, the idea of becoming a doctor or lawyer is the ultimate objective. For others, becoming an educator is the greatest goal to achieve. Education has many realms. These realms include academic settings such as classrooms, wondrous facilities such as museums, the natural outdoor world, and various others. As children, many of us remember the class trips to the park, the beach, the mountains, or even some swamp somewhere to look at plants, natural formations, or regional “critters.” For a few people, leaving this outdoor experience was not an option. This group of people may have consisted of individuals who chose to become park rangers, researchers, or environmentalists. All of these job positions allow people to educate others on the outdoor world.
For one small niche , there is nothing better than sharing the underwater world with others. The underwater realm is one that consists of a massive variety of flora, fauna, natural formations, and unique experiences. This realm may include the oceans, rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, submerged caves, and any other place where a person can get below the surface. The idea of sharing these experiences with people is something that never gets old. Those who choose to become scuba instructors may travel the world teaching, or simply stay in a local home-town region and share experiences with friends, locals, and family members. Some may even take on very unique teaching capabilities that allow them to train public safety divers to help keep others safe, or to venture deeper, or farther into overhead-type environments.
For a very small number of dive professionals, there exists one final step to take. That step is to become an Instructor Trainer. Instructor Trainers (IT) are individuals trained to teach new instructors. Essentially, an IT gets the opportunity to mold the instructors who may train the divers of the next generation. Becoming an IT is no small task. Candidates must have a strong teaching history as an open water instructor, and then attend an intensive eight day training program put together by an examiner under the direction of International Training Headquarters.
As an IT, you can train new instructors, conduct crossover programs for instructors coming from other agencies, and staff future Instructor Trainer Workshops with the examiners from headquarters. At the same time, becoming an IT means you have reached the top of the training side of the scuba industry. You may get the chance to help develop new programs or work with experts from around the world on improving the scuba industry.
For some individuals working to reach the pinnacle of training capability is the ultimate objective behind becoming an IT. For others, the ability to “teach the teacher” makes the IT educational pathway worthwhile. The one thing to remember is that education never ends. IT professionals may still have the opportunity to move up the technical or public safety food chains and continue to earn diver, instructor, and even IT certifications in those advanced educational areas.
During the Instructor Trainer Workshops held in Jensen Beach, Florida, all students get the opportunity to interact with headquarters staff members and see how International Training operates. At some point in each program, the executive team at headquarters takes time to sit down with candidates and discuss the future of diving, International Training, and dive education. This event means that every new IT gets the opportunity to sit face-to-face with Brian Carney to discuss what is coming, what may need to be improved, and what he or she hopes to see in the future.
If you are interested in learning more about the IT program contact International Training World Headquarters. The next Instructor Trainer Workshop will be taking place from October 25th through November 1st at the headquarters facility in Jensen Beach, Florida. A second Instructor Trainer Workshop will also be held this year in Assenza di Brenzone, Italy from November 14th through November 22nd.
As an Instructor Trainer myself, one of the most rewarding experiences comes with the opportunity to return to headquarters and assist staff members with running future Instructor Trainer Workshops. Sharing knowledge and watching new Instructor Trainers learn to evaluate and train new instructors can be incredibly enjoyable. Similarly, the ability to return home and help other shops, educators, and organizations grow can make your home town region become a more active dive community. As IT professionals, one of our goals is to promote diving, help other instructors, and grow the scuba community as a whole.
Remember that becoming an educator is not an easy task. Furthermore, becoming a teacher of other educators can be even more challenging. Despite the effort, as an educator you must take pride in successfully helping others learn how to bring the underwater world into the lives of future students. If you choose to become an IT, make an effort to lead by example and help the scuba industry grow to become even better than it is today. The goal for any IT should be to shape the educational world for future divers, thereby making it a safer and more exciting place.
For immediate information on becoming an Instructor Trainer follow this link:
– Dr. Thomas Powell
Owner/Instructor Trainer – Air Hogs Scuba, Garner, NC
by David Houser:
Sea Hunt, a TV series originating in the late 50’s and running until the early 60’s, captivated the audience and may have motivated many young viewers to become future divers. I always wanted to go on underwater crime – fighting scuba adventures like former U.S. Navy Frogman, Mike Nelson. Fully equipped, he always wore a VOIT green label double hose regulator.
In the early 1970’s, as an airman stationed in Austin, TX, talk would sometimes lead to scuba diving. Sears carried scuba equipment, including Navy VOIT double hose regulators (right hose for inhalation and left for exhalation), VOIT 72 cubic ft tanks, masks and fins. It didn’t take long to make a decision that would affect a lifetime. With new equipment and full tanks, our destination was Austin’s own Lake Travis. I was hooked on the first dive.
Transferring to Florida in 1972, and ready to dive, the first hurdle was learning tanks could not be filled without a certification card. Hal Watts’ store offered classes. The certification was NASDS and…WOW… did I learn a lot! My instructor quickly became a good friend and I continued diving, getting my advanced certification and experiencing Florida’s springs.
Nearly every Friday evening we would go diving. Because most of the springs (Peacock, Orange Grove, Troy, Ginnie, Blue Springs, Ichetucknee, Little River and 40 Fathom Grotto, to name a few) were privately owned, we had to hike through cow pastures and woods to reach our destination.
While diving these springs I became fascinated with the underwater cave systems, and subsequently bought single hose regulators with an alternate air source (octopus), double 72 cubic ft tanks with manifold, Atpack (to replace the horse collar buoyancy compensator), and a new SCUBAPRO dive computer. The regulator was put on the manifold in the center of the tanks. The octopus, an idea Hal Watts came up with, was put on a swivel so if a buddy needed air, he could use it.
Switching from a double hose regulator to the single hose reduced the work of breathing, which was not affected by the diver’s position in the water. Another notable improvement included, bubbles being released from under the chin instead of behind the head.
Cave divers needed three independent lights, a primary and two backups. Ikelite and Scuba Pro made several lights, most requiring “C” or “D” batteries. Other divers were making their own lights using motorcycle batteries, so I decided to design my own using plexiglass and an aircraft landing light. The burn time was around 45 minutes to an hour, which was great for the time. However, due to its large size, the light had to be carefully balanced around the neck when entering caves to avoid damaging it.
We trained with several instructors in Peacock Springs, doing appropriate skills and practicing silt out drills. The phrase “plan your dive and dive your plan” was used by Hal Watts, and holds true even today. We planned and executed dives in Peacock 1, 2 and 3, Orange Grove, Olsen, Challenge, Cisteen sinks (all part of the Peacock Springs system); as well as Little River and Ginnie Springs. During some of the dives we would post signs warning divers that cave diving is dangerous without proper training, and attempted to connect tunnels different tunnels.
It was a pleasure to dive and spend time with some of the true pioneers of cave diving, especially Henry Nicholson. As a member of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office Dive team, I hold the highest respect and admiration for Capt. Henry Nicholson. *
The training was great back then, but it’s been amazing to watch how instruction and equipment has, and continues to, improve over the years.
My training and education continues today as an Instructor Trainer with SDI/TDI/ERDI and PADI Master Instructor.
Please remember, get the training you need for the type of diving you want to do.
* Henry Nicholson was Captain of the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Dept. Dive Team. He founded IUCRR (International Underwater Cave Rescue and Recovery) along with Robert Laird, in 1999. The Nicholson Tunnel in Peacock was named after him, as was the Henry
by Lauren Kieren:
Being prepared for your next TDI diver course is critical to your learning during your progression in dive training. Whether you signed up for the TDI Advanced Nitrox/Decompression Procedures course or CCR Advanced Mixed Gas; learning at this level requires that you connect with the training and fully comprehend the theory development presented in the academic sessions, as well as actively participate in the in-water sessions.
A great deal of learning will happen after you successfully complete the TDI Diver course; however, you should expect to spend an equal amount of time learning outside of class as you spend working in class with your instructor. With that said, class preparation is a vital part to your overall learning experience throughout this process.
In the event you do not prepare for your next series in technical dive training, you can place yourself and others in your class at a major disadvantage. You will put yourself in the position of playing “catch up,” versus being actively involved and thinking ahead during training.
Here are a few tips and tricks to get the most out of your course by showing up prepared and ready to learn:
- ORGANIZE YOUR EQUIPMENT – If your instructor sends you an equipment list and you are expected to show up to class with the items, do yourself and your instructor a favor by getting it organized prior to commencement of training. Lay everything out and double check your list to ensure you have the required items. This is a good time to verify the equipment actually works before you pack it in your gear bag for class. This is also the perfect time to make sure all your equipment, new or old, is labeled with your name.
- GET IN THE WATER – Before you start your next course, take some time to work on skills from previous courses. If all you can do is get in the pool and work on your buoyancy and trim, do it! Showing up with your basic skills fine tuned will help your technical training tremendously, especially if it’s been more than a couple of weeks since your last dive. It is common for TDI Instructors to require an assessment dive where students demonstrate they can perform skills from previous courses. If this dive does not go well, the instructor may require some remedial training that could delay or prevent the start of your course. If you are trained to dive in the equipment you will be using during your next progression in training, get in the water to make sure your equipment is dialed in; verify your harness is adjusted correctly and your hose lengths and routing are where you want them to be.
- COMPLETE YOUR HOMEWORK – Your instructor will most likely require you to complete some pre-course studies, such as reading the required TDI manual and completing the Knowledge Reviews. It’s possible your instructor might suggest additional text or materials outside of the TDI resources… read in advance and try to absorb as much information as possible before you start your course. A thorough pre-course review can help refresh your memory on previous course information, give you more confidence in class, and help you prepare to ask relevant questions, or make a significant contribution to the overall class by offering timely/appropriate comments. After reviewing the TDI manual and materials required by your instructor, make notes if you have any questions on the content, and hone in on the important points.
- HAVE AN OPEN MIND – Your next progression in technical dive training (regardless of the level) is critical to the overall safety and success of your future dives. If you already knew the information and had experience at this level, it’s very unlikely you would be participating in the course. With that said, pay attention and have an open mind. It’s important to be open and willing to receive the information your instructor is providing. If you are unsure of the information provided, ask your instructor for clarification or wait until after class to talk one-on-one.
- GET A GOOD NIGHT’S REST AND COME TO CLASS PREPARED – Finally, get a good night’s rest before you start training, come to class prepared, and show up on time. Arriving for your first day of class disorganized, late, and unprepared sets the tone for the rest of the day, if not the class, and could diminish the overall objective you are trying to accomplish. Being prepared means you’re on time or early, you have all of the required pre-course studies complete, and you have all the necessary equipment (in working order) to start training.
Good class preparation will help you better understand the academic and in-water sessions, keep you confident in class and allow you to make the most of your time during your next series of technical dive training.
For more information on courses offered by Technical Diving International, TDI – Click Here! OR to find a TDI Instructor near you, go to the Find a TDI Instructor Search on the website. We are always open for questions so feel free to send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There really is never a bad question but always think about the question before you ask it; put yourself in the instructor’s fins. Questions are an important tool for instructors when teaching, they let the instructor know what the diver is thinking and chances are good that if one person has a question, others have may have the same but are hesitant to ask.