Inside the Instructor Foundation Course

Eight brave (or daft!) club members attended the BSAC Instructor Foundation Course on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th November in Hampton. We all know that diving can be quite tiring but, believe me, nothing compares with this weekend! We were warned it would be intense but even the itinerary, showing an 8.15am start and 6pm, finish still didn’t sufficiently prepare us.


The Saturday involved lectures and presentations on subject such ‘How people learn’; ‘Planning and preparing a diving theory lesson’; ‘Presenting a diving theory lesson’; and ‘Teaching practical diving skills’. We then, hastily, ate a sandwich whilst setting up our kit for the afternoon’s pool session.

This consisted of our instructors running through some examples of teaching practical skills (and I urge you all to practice them several times a season; it’s amazing how rusty you get). After 2 hours in the pool, the day still wasn’t close to finishing. We then spent the rest of the afternoon doing some brief planning and preparation on theory and practical lessons that we were to deliver ourselves the following day.

Having left the venue and collected a take-away on the way home, we then spent the rest of the evening designing a 10 minute theory lesson and a 20 minute practical session, which we were to deliver on the Sunday. To make it even more difficult we couldn’t choose our topics: we were told what we were teaching!

I did eventually fall (literally!) into my bed at 12.30am and the alarm appeared to go off a couple of minutes later. We were back at the venue by 9am on Sunday, with our lesson notes, props, and nerves!

We all presented our theory lessons first thing; they all went well and some very innovative visual aids were used. I also think that, secretly, we all quite enjoyed it despite the anxiety!

We were all a little more relaxed during our next lecture on ‘Teaching diving in open water’ and had a long lunch break (15 minutes!) before kitting up to deliver our practical sessions in the pool.

The nerves kicked in again but, based on feedback received, we all did very well – a huge sigh of relief all round. We then returned to the classroom for another lecture and some more exercises.

Eventually the weekend came to an end with congratulations and our certificates being handed out.

This was a fantastic experience and I think it should be compulsory – and not just because I want everybody to go through the stress and exhaustion that we did! If nothing else, it makes you appreciate the effort needed and complexity of teaching the sport. I’ve always held the instructors in high esteem but, following this, my respect and appreciation of them has increased further. It’s not as easy as it seems.

Finally, well done to the following who attended:

  • Dean Mitchell
  • Mark Cockram
  • Kevan Tulip
  • Sarah Hamlyn
  • Marcus Sharp
  • David Allen
  • Jackie Maskell

…and, of course, myself!

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