September 9th marked the arrival of Platinum Course Director Mark Soworka and that meant only one thing (well aside from a few welcome beers on arrival ) — another Instructor Development Course was about to start here at Thresher Shark Divers on the beautiful island of Malapascua, Philippines.
This month we had 3 candidates hoping to begin a new chapter in their lives and become PADI Diving Instructors.
First up was Rachel. We have known Rachel for a long time in her capacity as our main contact at one of the UK’s top travel agents. We were therefore very flattered when she chose TSD for her PADI IDC, given all the fabulous locations she regular works with! After many years of diving all over the world, Rachel has taken up the challenge and wants a new direction and career, hoping to get a different perspective of diving.
Liz is a vet in her normal job in Suffolk, UK. She has been diving for many years and wants to extend her knowledge and qualifications, planning to get a job helping out her local dive school back in the UK.
Last but not least we had Rusty. He is from the United States but has been travelling the world for many years and hopes that by becoming a PADI Dive Instructor he can continue to travel for many years to come. At the young age of 63 he has proved to us that age is no obstacle.
And as for myself, as a PADI Master Instructor, I was to join the course for as much time as possible to staff and help out.
Everyone was eager to begin, and some of the candidates had already enrolled in eLearning to get a head start. All of them arrived about a week prior to the IDC to get settled into island life, as well as get some diving in, including courses such as Sidemount which is getting really popular with our Pro level students at the both the Divemaster and Instructor level.
And so we began….
Day 1: On 10th September, everyone gathered at Palm Place for the first day of the IDC. Mark and I prepared for the orientation during which we let the candidates know what we have in store for them in the upcoming couple of weeks. When they arrived and everyone had settled down, after the orientation it was straight into the exams, five to be precise! Physics, Physiology, RDP, General Skills and Environment and finally Equipment.
They’d obviously been prepping hard as everyone passed first time with great scores! PADI’s eLearning is a great help with the Dive Theory. And we also offer a great free service to all our candidates – when they sign up for an IDC with us, they get special access to an online study aid, designed by our Course Director Mark Soworka, exclusively for his students.
After an extended lunch at Oscars Bar and Restaurant above the Dive Shop it was back to the classroom, and guess what? Another exam This time it was General Standards and Procedures. As with the last exam the candidates had 1½ hours to complete it. And yet again all the guys got really good scores! What a wonderful start to the IDC!
Day 2: What was in store for today? During the morning session we looked at how to use the PADI Instructor Manual. This included how to find the information that is needed to teach courses and some of the limitations of courses.
The afternoon was the time to finally get wet! The candidates went out to complete their first skill circuit. Apart from a few silly mistakes everything went smoothly. There is always work to be done but they were all looking strong so far, always great to see first time around at the start of an IDC.
Day 3: Today was Course Director Mark Soworka’s self-authored Marine Resource Management Instructor Course. We offer this free of charge as part of all our IDC packages. This is a non-diving distinctive specialty course that includes information on reef ecology and how everything on the reef works together. It helps students understand how their playground and workplace is one big living organism.
It was a very interesting lecture with a lot of excellent information that will allow our new instructors to give their future students a wealth of additional information during their briefings.
The afternoon was diving again! We even managed to rope in TSD’s Operations Manager, Dino, to help out – and got photographic evidence to prove it!
This time, the candidates tried their skills at their first Confined Water presentations and reviewed Rescue practice. For all of our candidates it had been some time since they had completed their Rescue Diver and Divemaster courses. In fact for Liz it had been many years. And Rusty was definitely a little rusty. Excuse the pun. But it’s like riding a bike, and once they had practiced a couple of times everything came flooding back.
Day 4: Today was Friday 13th, unlucky for some, but not for our IDC team: today they got to practice classroom presentations at which they excelled. Everyone had a topic from the Open Water Manual, which they had to explain in a “prescriptive” format. If you want to know what that is, you’ll have to come and do one of our IDCs
Days 5- 14: The remainder of the IDC simply flew by. It was a combination of lectures, practice of presentations and reviews of theory and skills. As you can see from the photos below, we also include lift bag and knot tying workshops.
PADI IDC Staff Instructor Course
Partway through the course, Juan from Spain who was a last minute booking to take his PADI IDC Staff Instructor Course joined us. For this course you need to already at Master Scuba Diver Trainer (MSDT) level that means having taught at least 25 students with 5 Specialty Instructor ratings. Being a PADI IDCS gives another string to your bow in that you can now assist on IDCs. Normally when taking this course, the candidate will attend and “audit” an entire IDC. However this is not always the case – not everyone knows that it is possible to do the IDCS course one-on-one with a CD in as little as 4 days. Juan was lucky and managed a combination of the two!
The PADI Instructor Exam: Along came September 24th – the day of reckoning! After days of nerves, excitement and practising those all-important skills, all too soon the IE was upon them! Everyone was nervous, but during his intro briefing, PADI Examiner Gary Cruea immediately put the candidates at ease.
The first day of the IE saw the candidates start with Theory and Standards exams in the morning, then onto the boat for their Open Water presentations in the afternoon. They all breezed through! That evening all that was left was prep for the second morning’s Confined Water pool session followed by Knowledge Development presentations in the classroom.
Everyone passed with ease, and we are happy to welcome three new PADI Instructor’s into the world!!!
All 3 candidates went on to take at least 5 Specialty Instructor ratings with Mark. As for the future, Rusty and Rachel are staying on with TSD to take part in our unique Learn to Teach program. Afterwards Rachel will be heading off to Australia, and Rusty staying in Asia. As there are limited spaces on the popular Learn to Teach, Liz will be heading back to the UK, but she is coming back in January complete hers! Juan is heading off to nearby Palau before going back home to Spain to decide his next move.
Congratulations to Liz, Rachel, Rusty and Juan and we wish you all the best in your future careers!
More photos on Facebook.