"My Journey" - some thoughts from our newest OWI, Phil!
Have you ever wondered what got our staff into diving and encouraged them to continue on into teaching others? In the first of a series of short stories, our newest Open Water Instructor Phil tells us how his diving journey started, and what made him take the step from recreational diver to dive professional:
I’ve always been interested in scuba diving since I was a child watching Jacque Cousteau but it wasn’t until 2010 that I started my journey into the underwater world with my Open Water Diver certification. In 2015, I advanced to Master Diver, then onto Dive Guide and Divemaster in 2018. At this point, I was happy where I was in terms of certification, and wanted to explore different fields of diving and turned my attention to Tech diving, earning my XR Technical Extended Range Trimix (60m) certification.
As I got into my role as a Divemaster, I felt accomplishment in helping with Try Scuba divers & Open Water Diver trainees, but not interested in instructing.
My mind was changed one day by a person trying scuba for the 1st time - that person was very nervous and had no confidence in the water, but after 1 hour in the water, I had that person enjoying the first steps into a new and amazing underwater world. They signed up for the Open Water Diver course, and I followed them closely through their course: they passed with flying colours!
Now that diver is certified in Deep Diving, Night & Limited Viz, Drysuit Diving to mention a few, and still enjoying their time in the water! When speaking to that diver, out of the blue, I was told that if it wasn’t for me, they wouldn’t be doing what they are doing today. What they said to me was the driver in my decision to become an instructor - what they said to me meant more than being given 1 million pounds!
So I signed up for the Instructor Training Course! I spent a week learning how to present academics in the classroom & knowledge of the training processes. Then it was off to Newquay to our friends at Dive Newquay where the Instructor Evaluation was to take place. Along with my Instructor Trainer, we spent a day in a pool going through the process of demonstrating the skills and spotting mistakes, then it was into open water for evaluating student skills, followed by lots of revision, ready for the evaluation days!
Day 1 of the evaluation starts with an exam, with a minimum 90% correct pass required, then onto a 15 minute academic presentation on any topic I could teach (assuming I pass the IE!). After passing these, it’s in the pool for 3 skill demonstrations & 1 skill presentation, all passed. So far, so good! Day 2 and it’s into open water for 2 student skill demonstrations, with briefings & debriefings with the students "making mistakes" and me having to spot them and correct them. Back into the class room for knowledge reviews of training, and then after all the hard work and a lot of feedback... it’s the hand shake and congratulations of becoming an Open Water Instructor! At last!
Although quite hard & stressful at times, I'd passed with flying colours, thanks to the hard work I put in and the hard work my fellow instructors and my Instructor Trainer gave me. I have accomplished my goal and to this day, it is my best and most satisfying accomplishment ever, and I am so glad I did it! It's proof that you can accomplish anything if you put your mind to it and work towards it! My plan now is to get stuck in working with trainees for a bit before looking at where the next steps will take me.
So if you are thinking of becoming an instructor one day, I can say without a doubt - give it your best and you will succeed. There’s no greater feeling, I guarantee it!!!