Starting this thread up again for any of you considering instructing, other new instructors and who knows who else might find this interesting!
My second year of instructing and my first day of lessons.
Standing in lineup, only three of us because we finished our training last week and the rest of the instructors were still training. A bunch of kids waiting for lessons. Oh no, I think - I was hoping to get some skiing in this morning. Group lesson with 4 about 6 year olds, had skied before I was told. OK, sounds OK.
OK? By the time the lesson was over I was once again on that high that only comes after a fun lesson. Didn't teach much, just got them skiing more. Started out by checking each of their boots to make sure they weren't too loose - one was totally unbuckled and I tightened it a bit. I wish I always could remember to do this, with all students.
I used my favorite John Egan line, "What's the most important part of skiing? SMILING!" and made them ski behind me with the instructions that they had to smile the whole time. All of the kids did well, I learned and used all their names right away, very important to me.
Some tactics teaching, like going across the hill when we got to a steeper section. Most of all just a fun hour of leading, following, riding the double lift with each one at least once and encouraging each one personally - by name.
Afternoon I got lucky again and had a lesson with a 9 year old girl who could ski in a wedge quite well on intermediate terrain and made lots of turns. So I got her doing wedge christies, and believe it or not parallel turns. Interesting note. She said she had ridden horses her whole life and I noticed right away that when parallel her skis were very wide apart. I mentioned this to her on the lift, that maybe it was from riding horses, so I got her to think about riding a skinny horse. This worked really well for her. She then came up with the idea of holding the reigns, since I kept pointing out that she needed to keep her hands in front, so we had a lot of fun with this. All in all she made remarkable progress for a one hour lesson. Her learning style was more technical (for a 9 year old) so she could pick up on things quickly.
How did I determine her learning style quickly? I used a trick I read somewhere on the first lift. I asked her how her drive up to the mountain was, she said "good." I said "tell me about it." She talked about how they played MadLibs, and about the conversation in the car. No mention of anything visual (scenery, etc.) No mention of anything kinesthetic (it was smooth, or bumpy or windy.) So I figured that she could handle a more verbal style of teaching, and I was right.
So two great lessons, and once again I came away from the day thinking "I was born to do this. I'm a ski instructor now - and there's no turning back!"