Insights and Tips for Aspiring Dive Instructors to Build a Successful and Rewarding Career
As a SCUBA or Freediving instructor, you hold a very important role in the diving community. You are responsible for ensuring the safety and education of your students, and ultimately shaping their safe and fun diving experience. However, being a successful instructor is not an easy task, and many instructors fail for a variety of reasons. In this blog, we will discuss the top 10 reasons why dive instructors fail.
- Unrealistic expectations:
One of the biggest reasons why dive instructors fail is because of unrealistic expectations. Many new instructors expect to have a full schedule of students and a steady income from day one. However, this is not always the case, and it takes time to build up a clientele and grow your students to the next levels of training. Don’t expect a store to hand you all of their best clients. When you’re new, you have less experience and haven’t proven your ability to serve the needs of the best clients. It’s important for instructors to set realistic goals and be patient as they build their reputation, experience and business following. Once you do, you will be in demand and earn the best clients.
Another reason why dive instructors fail is because of poor training. Some instructors may not have received adequate training themselves, especially in lower level or foundational skills training, or they may not have kept up with their training over time. As a result, they may not have the necessary knowledge or skills to effectively teach their students. Team teaching with a more experienced instructor will immediately help you refresh, renew and build on skills.
Lack of organization:
Dive instructors also fail due to a lack of organization. This can include poor record-keeping, scheduling conflicts, or disorganized teaching materials. Instructors must be organized and able to manage their time effectively in order to be successful. When you are prepared and ready, it creates time to teach effectively. Ask your store for a divemaster to assist you when you are new if you need help.
No entrepreneurial skills or training to acquire:
Many instructors fail because they lack entrepreneurial skills or training. Teaching diving is not just about the practical skills and knowledge; it also involves running a business even when you are working for a store. Instructors must be able to market themselves, manage finances, and navigate legal and regulatory issues. Following up with your students and clients after every event is essential to success.
Penny-wise, pound foolish:
Some instructors may try to cut corners and save money by skimping on their own training materials, dive equipment and its proper service or other necessary ancillary expenses. However, this can ultimately cost them more in the long run by damaging their reputation, losing clients, or even legal consequences. Clients expect you to be fully prepared and helpful to serve their needs.
Lack of experience:
Instructors who are new to teaching may not have the necessary experience to effectively communicate with their students or manage unexpected situations. Instructors should gain experience by working with more experienced instructors or diving with other experienced divers. When faced with questions or situations about training or travel, ask your store and more experienced professionals for their advice. Don’t give out information or advice that isn’t fully vetted and admit when you don’t know something but will find out.
Teaching diving can be a very exhausting and demanding job, and some instructors may experience burnout. This can happen if they take on too many students, work too many hours, or neglect self-care. Burnout can lead to a lack of enthusiasm and effectiveness in teaching, ultimately leading to failure. Be realistic with your own energy and time, and communicate that clearly to your store manager. Remember to schedule down time and fun dives just for you.
Not listening or asking for feedback:
Instructors who are not receptive to feedback from their students or colleagues may not be able to effectively address issues or improve their teaching methods. Listening and asking for feedback is crucial for instructors to continually improve and grow. Make it a personal goal to carve out time after each day or program to reflect on what went well and what needs to be done better. Share this information with your mentor and ask for feedback.
Instructors who do not have a mentor or coach to guide them may struggle to develop their skills and knowledge over time. A mentor or coach can provide valuable feedback and guidance, as well as help instructors navigate the challenges of teaching diving.
No peer community:
Finally, instructors who do not have a community of peers to connect with may struggle to stay motivated and engaged in their work. A community of peers can provide support, feedback, and encouragement to instructors, ultimately leading to a more successful career.
In conclusion, becoming a successful SCUBA or Freediving instructor requires a combination of skills, knowledge, and experience. By avoiding these top 10 reasons for failure and focusing on continually improving, instructors can build a successful and rewarding career in the diving industry.