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Not Good Enough

Students: How demanding was your instructor?

Instructors: what is your pass rate? Why?


If it's really high: are your students all really that good? Or is it that they've done each skill exactly once and that's good enough? Is it that you're that good? Or is it that the shop allots you THIS much time and you get done what you can get done and then sign the paper? Does signing the paper ever require glossing over certain things, or combining things, or overlooking absent, but insignificant elements like trim and buoyancy?


If it's really low: are your students just that awful?


Nah, I'm not going to entertain that. If it's really low it's probably your fault. You can tell yourself it's because you're such a demanding instructor, but you and I both know that there are some instructors in the world way better than you and I who have a perfectly normal pass rate.


Diving is not rocket science. While there is an obvious bell curve, the fact is that most anyone can dive at a recreational level given a little bit of work on both the instructor and the students' parts. But on the inclining slope of the curve it does and should take some work.


Even at the Open Water level, "Go do a few laps in the pool wearing a snorkel and we'll pick this up tomorrow."their diving career. And if - by dint of time or shop demands or whatever - students are trained that "good enough" is good enough, then they will expect that as they progress.

At the technical levels "good enough" is not good enough. Ever. Perhaps not everyone can be a cave diver or make deep wreck penetrations, but most folks who would want to probably can with a bunch of deliberate practice.


In the rec world it can translate to kicking the fuck out of the reef and scaring the hell out of DMs worldwide who would curse your name as their certifying instructor. In the tech world it could mean death. Both are symptoms of a fundamental lack of respect and appropriate mindset for the sport. Neither, should be acceptable.


We shouldn't be afraid to have The Conversation with students.


And I'm not talking about, "You fail! Get the fuck out!" That's not cool either.


"We need a little more time together," "Here are some concrete, measurable things you should work on and then come back in a month for two days," "Let's just go for a few dives at the level to which you're already certified without skills to clear your head."


Even at the Open Water level, "Go do a few laps in the pool wearing a snorkel and a flooded mask and we'll pick this up tomorrow."


Give the certification value; earned is valued. Something valued is something that will be used, which translates to more divers consistently diving.


Yeah, some people will argue. Explain to those people how you're saving their life.


If they think you're a dick for saving their life... so be it.