While I haven't been teaching via PADI for a long period of time, I have been teaching since history was a much shorter course. This week I was stalking around Facebook in an effort to keep up with people when a friend from an area we use to live in posted of a cancellation in her science class line up. A Marine Biology student was to come and talk with the kids and now couldn't...."Help Please" was the plea. Having taught through the Project Aware Specialty with a few divers, my daughters, for the practice and to get familiar with the material, I thought I would lend a hand. As it turns out, teaching for two in a captive situation is much different than staring down the gazes of 40 students who a daring you to keep them awake and interested.
I came armed with dive gear, coral samples, a 72 slide powerpoint presentation, and note cards loaded with culturally relevant elementary jargon......I was ill prepared. The gear was great but not enough to engage more than a few at a time, the samples had the same issue, the slides were too detailed but the picture ones were a hit. The cards were a life saver. After explaining that the heart of a large Blue Whale was the size of a volkswagen to the blank stares and chirping crickets, I consulted the cards and said, "You now like the Kia those hampsters were singing about, that size" followed by the appropriate "Oohhhss & Aaahhs".
I certainly learned alot and the kids did too. I wish I could afford to get a cert. card for them all, they cetainly put the effort in but stickers will have to do for now. The most exciting thing was a question about careers in the dive industry late in the day. Well, you can start your dive training at 10 years old.......the class erupted, "I just turned 10....I'm 10....That's Me!" and more. Not only did the ocean gain a room full of advocates, diving found it's next open water students and future leaders. A good day for all.