This weekend was the end and beginning for me, it's almost the end of my training cycle as a motorcycle instructor trainee culminating in the beginning of my instructing career. It's been a very a comprehensive process packed full of learning motorcycle theory in written form and practical tarmac sessions. I've gone through over 100 hours of training and now it's all getting strung together and I am applying the knowledge I've learned. I have discovered the wonder, joy, exhilaration, and challenge of teaching and mentoring. From time to time there is little nervous angst thrown in just to keep it spicey. I am learning the challenging act of walking backwards and talking students through an exercise before they run the manoeuvre. I still need to work on this a little, darn cones pose issues even when one is not riding, but in all fairness I wasn't looking where I wanted to go, and one of my students pointed out that I wasn't practicing what I was preaching, I quipped back I was just demonstrating the cause and effect of the action. (Touché says the student) It was the proverbial Grasshopper "Snatch the pebble from my hand" moment.
The hardest thing I have found is taking reflexive day to day actions breaking them down and teaching it to students. It's harder than you think, because there are so many movements and actions we do as experienced motorcyclists and translating that to students takes deliberate thought and process to relay it to them in a way that they take the lesson and apply the skill. It is pretty heady stuff and at times when a student finds something difficult it's finding the approach to get the message through, sometimes it as simple as the student overthinking, or lack of belief in themselves, and at times the shear volume of information they are taking in can be overwhelming. In terms of teaching, I am learning that keeping it simple and giving them the information they only need to know is better rather than drowning them in minutiae and motorcycle white noise so to speak.
My school has a team centred partner approach which is awesome! You work with another instructor and team teach, I am being mentored by my instructor and other instructors and the bonus is I am mentoring new riders. I was a little anxious at first because it's something new and I've only taught the course in chunks to my fellow instructor trainees and passively observed a full complete course. I've learned very valuable techniques and had great feedback from my practicum supervisor. The novice students are growing in confidence and skill, and through this my confidence and skill set is also growing. I will always be learning and striving to do it better and more efficiently, I think it will always be an evolving process of growth and change. It was pretty cool discussing teaching methods and results with my instructor mentor and using that insight to fine tune and find my teaching style and groove. The practicum is very intense because I'm delivering the bulk of the lessons, but that will change and it will be a little less intense when I'm teaching subsequent courses. So far I am loving this, it's pretty amazing and I actually can't even put it into words, the best feeling to compare it to is that moment when you find the perfect twisty road on a sunny day, it's BLISSFFUL. Sorry for the lack of pics, but honestly I was too busy!
Wish me luck as I finish my practicum next weekend.