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Ethical Dilemna - Page 2

post #31 of 37
Originally posted by David7:
</font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by ant:
...because after my first few weeks, they rarely made me do below level 3! I got better and better levels.

This is a perfect example of one of the biggest problems in ski instruction. The "pros" look upon beginner and lower level classes as somehow below their dignity when, in fact, these are the most important clients.

In the context of this thread...if I overheard an instructor from another area expressing this attitude I probably WOULD pass this on to his SSD.[/QB]</font>[/quote]You seem to be very out of touch with ski instructing. When did you last teach a level 1 group? If you can remember it at all, how about teaching 2 level one lessons per day, every day. Now add early morning private lessons to that.

What you end up with is a very drained and jaded instructor. This practise of getting "rookies" (stupid term) to take all the level 1 classes is counter productive and short sighted.

Teaching level 1s is hard, if you do it well. You have to teach a lot more than if you had "skiiers". You have to teach them *everything*.

Yes, the more senior instructors for the most part avoid teaching level 1s, most of them don't want to do it. I don't think it's so much an attitude of it being beneath them; more, it's hard, frustrating and very draining. You don't get to ski, either.

Damn right I was pleased to have my teaching rewarded with higher levels! Go tell a ski school director that, they will yawn at you.

If I ran a ski school, one thing I'd do is institute some kind of carrot for teaching level 1s, kids and adults. As I'd rather have people teaching those classes who wanted to be there. At Mount Snow, for instance, people who taught the babies level 1 groups (ages 4 to 6) got paid a bonus for doing so.

In a perfect world, you'd be able to cycle all the instructors through level 1s, but in reality, the senior people have built up their private clientele, so you can't pull them off a request private to teach on the bunny hill; likewise, if you have bumps clinics and the like needing teachers, you can't pull off your senior Level III's and replace them with 20 year olds who learned to ski 2 years ago.

I certainly would rather see those level IIIs teaching the never-evers, though, I suspect skiier retention rates would reflect the more thorough instruction.
post #32 of 37
>>>This, to me, is a terrible description of a beginner class. It troubles me because of the suggestion that that's just the way it is.<<<

Oh how I wish I could argree with you, but sadly, in our areas, this is just how it is..

Pierre eh! who is level-3 certified routinely teaches the beginner classes which are 20-30 students in size and he is given a 25-30 foot wide piece of real estate on the hill.

He lines up his students in two rows and has them sidestepping up this little rise. Often the tails of the skis in his class are interlaced with the tail of the skis in the class on either side of him.

If any of the student can't hold an edge while sidestepping even though it has been demonstrated constantly, the student below can't come up the hill and then some of them will not keep their skis crosswise to the fall line and start sliding.

Forward isn't that bad because they'll only take out folks in his class, but backward they'll take out the other class. The instructor has to pick them up because not only don't they do it right even though it has been demonstrated, but just to save time.

Then you have the ones horsing around and falling, and throughout all this he is trying to get at least one run in for each student BECAUSE HE HAS THEM ONLY FOR ONE HOUR.

I'm sorry to say that many classes of never/evers consist of helping with equipment, marching them on the flat, marching them to the hill, picking up the fallen, trying to have them sidestep a few feet up the hill and then giving them an encouraging speech and turn them loose.

Guess what, a half hour later these kids go up the chair, fall on the unloading ramp, stumble to the lip of the slope and become unguided missles hollering "Look out" all the way down, and these highschool football players, etc. have uncanny balance.

If they are asked why they didn't do what they learned in the lesson they'll tell you it was too hard what with all the sidestepping and making a wedge and all, it is a lot easier to take up the chair and ride the skis down, and that is MUCH MORE FUN.

You know, I hate this as much as you do, but that's the way it is around here.

post #33 of 37
Ott, that pretty well describes what happens during the various spring break groups we hosted, too. Quite a few from your neck of the woods! Finding a patch to teach on, huge groups, diverse ages (the kids - teens really - their parents, the chaperones, smaller siblings), little to no interest in learning to ski...they just wanted to go tearing down the mountain. The lesson was purchased as part of the whole deal, but many in the groups decided to bag it any way and headed straight up the mountain...your description of how they use the mountain is spot-on.

kind of like a production line, or a factory.
There's no wonder that instructors who can get out of teaching these groups do just that.
post #34 of 37
And little more wonder why the students never return for another lesson!
post #35 of 37
In fact, Ant, I taught a beginner class plus a private lesson with a four year-old just a few weeks ago, just before we closed for the season.

I'll trade horror stories with you any time.
I've been teaching either full or part time since 1969. When I was a director I increased the after school program enrollment from 1,100 students a week to over 5,000. In the years since I left, that ski school has conntinued to grow. They now do over 10,000 kids a week. I work part-time now at a municipally owned area with only about 180 feet vertical. We have over 4,000 kids a week in our programs. I've taught as many as six beginner lessons in one day.

That's not the point. Ott's comments about Pierre are interesting. I've read many of Pierre's posts here and in other forums. In spite of the conditions that Ott describes, Pierre gives me the impression of someone who sincerely loves to teach and who, despite his experience and level of certification, (or more likely BECAUSE of them) gets his greatest satisfaction out of teaching great beginner lessons. Why do you think that is?

Ant, read my post again, and then read yours. Tell me where we disagree.

[ May 03, 2002, 10:11 PM: Message edited by: David7 ]
post #36 of 37
On the main points, not at all. But your statement about dobbing someone in to their boss because they expressed happiness at being elevated out of teaching level 1s struck me as sanctimonious.

Teaching older kid level 1s is easier than adults, I find, but 4 year olds is a big challenge.
And I still hold that having the same people teaching never-evers constantly is not a good practise. I've sat in on lessons taught by people who've obviously done too many (waiting to split the group) as they are plainly slipping into rote teaching, and it shows.

This whole question of teaching beginner groups is where the industry should be looking; when they agonise about skiier retention, this is one of the key areas for attention. And recognition should be given to the real issues of this teaching; that it's not just instructor snobbery making it an unpopular task, but more serious issues. Just flinging "rookies" into it is definitely not working well.
post #37 of 37
>>>. Ott's comments about Pierre are interesting. I've read many of Pierre's posts here and in other forums. In spite of the conditions that Ott describes, Pierre gives me the impression of someone who sincerely loves to teach <<<

Yeah, he loves to teach but he abhors the conditions he has to teach under, getting hit about three times a week by runaway skiers, not getting the real eastate to do a good job, etc.

So little room is available most times that after the demonstration, the instructor takes off his skis and poles and leaves them at the bottom, teaching in boots only because it is easier to jump out of the way when some kid with spindely weak arms can't make a gate and starts to slide or pulling a kid up the hill because he can't sidestep because despite the boots being buckled as tight as they will go, you can still slide your hand down beside his ankle all the way.

So what counts more, Pierre loving to teach or the kids learning something. Pierre does a job better than most but how much can you teach a class of 20-30 in an hour in conditions described previously?

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