The first ever PADI Instructor Exam in Gozo
This season saw the first ever Instructor Examination on Gozo. This is something I have been campaigning towards for a few years now. There were 7 candidates all from Bubbles Dive Centre in Gozo and it was an amazing success with a 100% pass rate. The whole IDC was conducted in Partnership with another PADI Course Director Colin Scowcroft and the candidates were split into 2 groups for the in-water work and we alternated between the groups. This kept group sizes small and students benefited from the expertise of 2 Course Directors. This is something I want to continue with, it gives a new dimension to IDCs and judging by the feedback from students was very beneficial to them.
The course started on the first day with the Emergency First Response Instructor Course which was a fun filled day while learning how to teach this very worthwhile course.
The second and third days were spent in the classroom learning a lot about PADI and the organisation and introducing the methods PADI uses for teaching SCUBA courses. We also started with the classroom presentations from students. It’s very rewarding seeing people progress and comparing how they were at the start of the course to the various stages during the course.
Some people have a few wobbles along the way, questioning their own ability but this is very normal and for me only reiterated their commitment and desire to do well. The PADI form of instructional education is, in my opinion, the best and most effective way to teach SCUBA, that’s why I became a Course Director.
The days then have a mix of classroom presentations by myself, classroom teaching presentations by the candidates and confined water teaching in the wonderful Marsalforn Bay. Conducting the course here had some huge benefits, being so close to the dive centre made the transition very simple but also the ability to move from different depths of water made all the teaching easy to facilitate.
As the days passed, the team bonded amazingly well and you could start to see the ‘PADI instructor’ in all of them. We moved into the Open Water teaching presentations and then it was time for them to start teaching in Open Water. This brings together everything they have learnt so far and is the demonstration of Mastery learning by the students. Marsalforn Bay again provided the perfect setting for the students to teach in Open Water as we move out further into the bay where the depth of 6-12 metres can easily be achieved.
It was now time to start thinking about the PADI Instructor Exams, the 2 day intensive evaluation by PADI examiners. While there is always a lot of nerves and anticipation as this time approaches, despite whatever we as Course Directors say the candidates are still evidently nervous. However, this should be seen as a time to demonstrate to PADI all of your new found skills and show them what great instructors you will all become. PADI places a lot of emphasis on the IDC, and quite rightly so, as this leaves the IE to simply demonstrate what they have learned both in the classroom and in the water.
I was particularly proud to see the first IE in Gozo and even prouder that PADI were hosting this at Bubbles Dive Centre, using Marsalforn Bay for all in-water evaluations. The weather was perfect with flat calm water and clear blue skies. It is an intense 2 days for the candidates but seeing the joy and happiness on all their faces after passing is something every Course Director should take great pride in, wherever in the world PADI IEs take place.
For me it was my first IDC as a Course Director so it had special meaning but it showed to me that giving up my career in the UK to teach diving was the best thing I ever did. Now my future work is about transforming people’s lives, be it from giving a person that first step into the water in SCUBA through to career development as a PADI pro.
Special thanks go to Richard Somerset and Michal Kosut as the PADI Examiners for coming to Gozo on the first ever PADI IE here and making all happen.