As an Instructor, you want to give your students the best learning experience possible. You also want to come away feeling that you did all you could to make the class a success. There’s no secret to doing that every time. It starts by avoiding three major pitfalls.
- Waiting until the last minute to prepare. Students might be nervous about their performance in class and they’ll need you to project compassion, confidence, and authority as you lead them through the material. You can’t do that if you don’t feel prepared.
- If you don’t practice before you teach, trust us: your students will know it. The day before class, schedule time to review the updated Instructor Manual and visualize yourself with the students as you review. Studies show that imagining something instead of simply practicing it leads to more
- On class day, arrive at least an hour early. Check over your supplies, organize materials for the first section you’ll teach, and prepare a registration table with pre-made student name tags. Your set-up should be completed at least 15 minutes before your students are expected to arrive. Don’t make them wait to get started because you failed to prepare early.
- It goes without saying that ordering supplies in ample time to receive them by your class date is crucial. At least two weeks in advance is a good rule of thumb.
- Ignoring the recommended ratio of one Instructor to a maximum of eight students. The ratio is essential! It allows for everyone to participate in games and role-plays, and provides opportunities for questions, anecdotes, and comments. Just as important, it makes possible more of that crucial hands-on practice time with rescue skills, and means students spend less time waiting while others practice.
- Not following the Instructor Manual. Relax and let the Instructor Manual guide you through the section. Don’t be afraid to refer to it frequently. It was designed with easy-to-use lesson plans and scripts for that purpose. Pace yourself so that you don’t talk too quickly. Invite and enjoy brief and relevant student comments, anecdotes, and questions but don’t get sidetracked. Keep each section moving along to keep pace.
One last tip: smile! Sure, the lack of a smile won’t spell disaster but a friendly face projects enthusiasm for what you’re teaching and makes students more comfortable. Combine those smiles with cheerleading each student’s active participation. And, while you’re at it, congratulate yourself for helping students learn essential skills.