I never wanted to be a teacher. The thought of standing up in front of a room full of people and trying to take what’s in my brain and somehow use a whiteboard to mush it into someone else’s brain just sounded terrible. Let alone to a room full of pre teens.
Part of the reason is I remember how I felt about my teachers (the answer is critical). She wore that shirt already this week. His hair is seriously messed up today. She has mascara on her eye. Gross. That outfit sucks.
But here I’ve ended up a teacher of sorts, although it feels less like being a teacher and more like trying to make people believe in aliens.
I stand in front of a group of people and convince them to willingly submerge themselves under the sea for long amounts of time. And to take their masks off and their regs out and such. The difference is that people decide they want to dive and even pay extra to learn how to do it.
A few weeks ago I taught my youngest student yet. Nick is 12 years old and visiting his family in Southern california. Some family members already dived and he decided to join the club.
So, in a class of 3 and 1 divemaster candidate, Nick joined the underwater world, and reminded me that it’s actually pretty cool being a teacher.
The first difference i noticed between Nick and other older students was that Nick was fearless. He didn’t have any of those nagging frontal lobe fears that adults seem to, so when I asked him to do something like to fill his mask up with water he did it without missing a beat.
I also noticed that he was creative in his technique. as a scuba instructor, every move I do is carefully watched and copied, and I try to be as straight forward and easy as possible. But Nick, he got the gist of it, and went for it. Like, taking off his gear underwater. He was twisting, turning, and wiggling. He untwisted and twisted the hoses, took his regulator out of his mouth multiple times (always blowing bubbles). I was laughing, but I was also curious. He was figuring out things his own way, and really learning to own the equipment.
That kind of student is someone who will be a fish in the water his whole life. On the boat back from the island I asked him where he wanted to dive next and he told me Belize. I asked him why and he said, because i’ve heard it’s a good place to dive. Touche, Nick. And btw, it definitely is.
It’s not like i was teaching him to read or anything, but It felt good to teach him something that, for me, was life changing. Diving literally opened up a new world to me. Maybe I helped open up that new world for him.
xxbabe (of the mer persuasion)