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Saturday in the Pool April 5, 2009

Posted by Chris Sullivan in Training.
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The shop maintains a schedule of classroom/confined water training every other weekend pretty much year round. If there are only 1 or 2 students it gets cancelled and the students asked to attend another session. Yesterday we had 3 in the classroom, 4 in the pool, plus 4 others who came to practice their skills in a standing offer that the shop has to all divers to come and practice whenever we have the pool.

Our four students were Chris and his 14-year-old son Will, Andy, who had been certified in 1976 and thought it best to start again from the beginning, and Matt, who wants to become a commercial diver. Brad was teaching, with Steve, Rich and me (the usual suspects) as the help. With the small class size and one-on-one attention from an instructor, 2 AIs and a divemaster candidate we powered through the entire confined water curriculum in 3 hours.

It wouldn’t have worked if we hadn’t been with an exceptional group of students, who had no trouble mastering anything – well almost anyway. The hardest exercise was the hover. After a couple of minutes with less than mastery, I brought my two charges to the surface and gave an explanation of the role of the lungs in buoyancy (10 pounds from empty to full) and after that they were perfect.

As for me, the only problem I had was demonstrating mask clearing. This is usually a cinch for me, but yesterday I was wearing my wife’s mask (fortunately it’s not pink) because mine cracked on my Cozumel trip, and while it seals well, for some reason I have trouble clearing it. On the mask remove and replace, it took me 4 tries to clear it, each one clearing just part of the water in the mask. My demonstrations were reasonable and the students had less problems than me.

After lunch I took the students through the videos for module 1 and 2 and their knowledge reviews, although we only had time for the first quiz. They all got 9 out of 10. Two got the fresh vs. salt question wrong (an object is neutrally buoyant in salt water, what happens to it in fresh water?). First I explained it in terms of forces (weight of water displaced is the upward force, force of gravity on the object’s weight is the downward force). I wasn’t confident that this got through, so I talked about the extreme example of the Dead Sea, with salinity so high people can read the newspaper while floating on the water. I asked what would happen if the same person tried to do that in a pool or a lake. Bingo.

We finished up around quarter to four. The students were really tired at that point from all the activity in the pool. I must say I slept well myself. I told Brad afterward how much I enjoyed my first classroom teaching experience and I’m looking forward to doing it some more. It was also excellent practice for the instructor course and examination.

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