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How did I get here?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I am currently leading a level three exam and I hate doing it. Who am I to say someone is not up to snuff? How have I gotten here? Why did I choose this path? From what I saw today, if I want to do my job tommorrow, I will hurt some people in a way I would never choose to do in everyday life. Why would anyone ever want this job? Why did I ever want this job? Why do people take exams when they are not ready? I remember taking an exam for the learning experience. What a learning experience. Why did I do that to the examiners? I think I will have trouble sleeping tonight.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ April 11, 2002 09:48 PM: Message edited 1 time, by Vailboarder ]</font>
post #2 of 17
wow, Vailboarder,

That's a bummer. But hopefully they will learn from the experience and grow.
Then point them in the direction of this PSIA TPS article.

Learn from the exam, Pass or fail
post #3 of 17
In answer to your question, hopefully you got here by a good deal of hard work. And when you were not quite up to par, hopefully there was someone out there who was ready, willing and able to tell you what you needed to do to make the grade.

Its your turn to pass on the gift.

Now get some sleep!
post #4 of 17
Some people will be more than ready for the eval, while others should not have even attempted it. As Snopro says, it is not your responsibility to train, but to evaluate.

Maintaining standards is always difficult, but it is a noble job. It is the student's responsibility with assistance from their trainer to make them ready. It is their problem, not yours. You eval the results.

Be strong, oh keeper of the flame.
post #5 of 17
It is like dealing with any performance related issue in any facet of the working world.

If someone isn't up to it the best thing for them is to be contructively told why they aren't up to it, and if they are really committed they will be back next time stronger and more prepared. That is the best help you can give in your position, and the best they can hope for in their position.

It is great to be able to empathise with your pupils, but you need to be able to try and remove too much emotional involvement as well.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ April 12, 2002 03:57 AM: Message edited 1 time, by TheRockSkier ]</font>
post #6 of 17
let us know how it felt to completely CRUSH people's hopes and ambitions with a flash of the pen.
post #7 of 17
vailboarder said: Who am I to say someone is not up to snuff?

If you have to ask this question, then you are opening the door to a world of trouble. I am not an instructor, but I manage people and I have to do their performance evaluations on a regular basis. Sometimes we have to warn against poor performance or change responsibilities due to inadequate skills or even terminate a job. The last thing I want to say is "who am I to decide".

If you have the necessary experience and the subject matter knowledge and have earned your position through hard work, then you have every right to judge those who aspire to reach your skill level. If your students cannot understand that your judgment is not personal, they have to work on more than just their skiing skills.

Good luck!
post #8 of 17
I plan to take the level III next year. Keep being tough. I want to be proud of the pin when I get it, and I won't take the exam till I'm sure I am ready. That is my responsibility.

You are right. I know some folks taking the level III exam next week who are fooling themselves. For those who have passed in the past and for the future....do the right thing!

Lastly, you folks get paid a ridiculous sum to do those exams. From a level II who has enjoyed every clinic and every exam I offer my thanks.

My step-brother took the level III exam many times till he passed. I won't say how many. I respect the guy for sticking to it. I'm sure it makes the reward much sweeter.

Does anyone know any sort of record number of attempts?

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ April 12, 2002 11:38 AM: Message edited 1 time, by Rusty Guy ]</font>
post #9 of 17
Vailboarder- I empathize!

I've been an alpine examiner since 1979, and I still wonder about it. The reason I got started was to be an educator. But as that role moved into evaluation, it took on a heavier burden.

Example: The standard necessary to pass a full cert(level III) today is less than it was 25 years ago. I'm not dissing those who have taken it and passed in the intervening years, but the requirements were much more rigid and exacting in days gone by.

Snowboarding is still relatively new, and is still holding to a strong standard. Don't let it gradually erode as alpine has. And that's where you and I come in! We are the keepers of the standard. If we (the examiners- collectively) don't keep integrity in that process, it is worthless.

Hold the standard, be true to it! Trust me- it's much harder to get it back, once it has slipped away.

And when it comes down to the final check mark on the score card, remember- these candidates came to you to measure themselves against the standard. They were not forced, threatened, or otherwise coerced to attend the exam. Those that prepared themselves adequately will pass, those that did not, will fail. Your determination of that isn't personal! But it is an important role which must be treated with respect and the afore mentioned integrity.

However well or not the candidates prepared themselves is not your responsibility, beyond your role as a trainer within your own ski school.

So like LM said- get some sleep! Speaking of which, so should I -. I have a Level 1 exam to give tomorrow! I'm going to sleep like a log!!! ZZZZZZZZ! :

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ April 12, 2002 12:40 AM: Message edited 1 time, by vail snopro ]</font>
post #10 of 17
There is an eerie silence building. Right about now there are folks ready to stand out on I-70 in front of a westboung truck coming off Vail Pass and there are those who could fly over Vail Pass.

Then there is SCSA.....milk baby, M-I-L-K, did I say milk?

Is anyone listening I said MILK, milk, mil, mi, m, mmm, mm.

I'm sure he had another perfect day!
post #11 of 17
I just finished one of the toughest exams I've had to deal with. It was a one day skiing-only Level 3 exam for instructors who had already passed the Teaching/Technical section, but failed the skiing. There were 8 people in the group, and all were very good skiers and probably excellent instructors. And they were all great people to "hang out" with and to ski with. But only three truly met the standard required for our Level 3 Certification. Most of the others were very close, and it was indeed hard to tell them that they weren't quite there--for at least the second time.

I had one huge advantage. Weems--"our" Weems--joined my group as a second examiner. Besides being one of my mentors, and a true pleasure to ski with and talk with, Weems provided additional validation of my opinions and scores. When someone was close, he pulled out his scores and in every case, confirmed my own impressions, not only with similar scores, but similar comments as well.

Yes, examiners are all instructors. That means that, with extremely rare exceptions, we like to help people succeed. We like to see them leave with a smile and a sense of accomplishment. As an examiner, that does not always happen, of course, and it is not easy!

But it is important, and I know it. The standard must be upheld. If we let it slip, it will no longer be worth pursuing. As Rusty says, "I want to be proud of the pin when I get it."

So I sleep well as long as I feel that I did my best to create an environment that allows people to perform as well as possible. I sleep well as long as I think I did my best to be fair, unbiased, and accurate.

Yes, I feel bad for those who have not passed. I've been there! I know how agonizing it can be!

But I would NOT sleep well if I thought I had not been true to the standard. Letting someone slip through who is not ready is NOT really doing even that person a favor. And it would be completely unfair to all the others who have worked hard, and MET the standard.

I respect and admire all those who train for and attempt an exam. It is a big risk, and they accept it. Win, lose, or draw, I hope the candidates feel that they've been fairly evaluated, given honest and accurate feedback, gained some additional understanding and clarity, and know what to continue to work on--pass or fail! The pin, after all, is merely a milestone--not a destination!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #12 of 17
Vailboarder, Bob brings up a wonderful point: as long as he provides the best environment in which these people can show their stuff, then he can sleep easy. Once he's done that then THEY have to take the responsibility.

And Bob did provide that environment. And these people in the exam acknowledged and appreciated that.

But yes, you're right, VB. It's an AWFUL feeling. This is because the job of examining and the job of teaching are totally opposites. The examiner is paid (by the candidate!) to make a judgement on the candidate's performance THAT DAY. The teacher is paid by the student to imagine her potential with her, and guide her to it. How different could these jobs be?

I was awestruck by Bob's ability to wear both hats in the same day, at the same time. This was truly artful. But ultimately he had to end the day wearing the hat that he was being paid to wear. One of his major skills is his ability to wear the judgement hat gently.

One other thought about examining: I've done it since 1970. I've always felt it was the worse job in the industry, because of the factors above--the judge vs. teacher issue. So why do I do it? My hope is in two parts.
1. That I might influence our pros to be better servants to the skiing public.
2. That I might influence our examiners to be better servants to the pros.

I think there are a lot of examiners that ultimately feel the same way. And, VB, your turmoil shows the kind of compassion you need to have to do this well. So stay with it. You'll learn the balance as you go.

And VSG! Nice job passing your level 3!

And Bob. Nice job with this group. I learned a lot.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ April 12, 2002 08:06 PM: Message edited 1 time, by weems ]</font>
post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks to all of you have given encouraging words, especially the PM's. The exam is over. One out of six from my group was successful. A couple passed one day and the others neither day. Seven out of nineteen passed over all. Most took it much better then I expected. Some just read the results and left. Maybe sometime I could tag along with you at an alpine exam. I will talk to the Dog.
We also had a Snowboard Trainers Accred. Pretty good results with five out of seven passing. Although someone I encouraged to attend was not successful. Now I feel bad about that.

And you got it right it Weems. How are you?

I think I will sleep good tonight. Are any of you at Spring Fling this weekend?

And Ryan, you made me smile.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ April 12, 2002 09:18 PM: Message edited 2 times, by Vailboarder ]</font>
post #14 of 17
I'm good, VB. Thanks.
Nice job on holding the standard, and nice job on creating an environment where you can pull in more trainers. The trainer pool is a critical part of growing the organization. Years ago I fought for trainer's accred on the basis that this would keep us old dogs on our toes, and leave a door open for the young dogs to advance (whereas the DCL pool alone did not accomplish that).

The more good trainers you have, the more the credibility of the AASI will grow as the trainers will both represent it and evolve it to meet the needs of the members and the public.

Sorry I can't make the clinic this weekend.

Hope everyone has fun.

<FONT COLOR="#800080" SIZE="1">[ April 13, 2002 07:45 AM: Message edited 2 times, by weems ]</font>
post #15 of 17
So that what you guys in the funny suits were up to. Agonization!


post #16 of 17
For an old dog, weems, you have always kept on your toes...I remember that you were one of the first volunteers to "Re-Cert"; revalidating your level III! On this subject, another first volunteer was Annie V-Savath.
I saw her at the Edwin Terrel clinic this year and she said with all that a modern pro represents, she no longer feels she should sit in judgement as an examiner....
I applaud all who uphold the mark! Cert is a "milestone" as Bob states...they also don't engrave your score on the jewelery, but it should be seen for what it is. Unfortunately, too many place too much of their self-worth in the result and not the process.
post #17 of 17
Thanks. I think Annie and I (and maybe Tom Banks and one or two others) were the only ones to do that.

Not having Annie examine is a loss.

And you're right. The process is the real deal. My whole life on skis is about that. The exams I've passed and failed make no difference compared to that.
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