Wow. Incendiary topic.
As usual, most has been said already. Just a few comments. First, from the point of view of a newbie skier:
TomB and Ydnar:
|However, Ydnar has a good point: you simply don't need Level IIIs to
teach beginners and intermediates.
|This is one of the greatest dichotomies in the ski instruction business!
Beginners/ novices might be the easiest to teach, so the least experienced
instrs are often the ones assigned to that level. But this is also the most
critical phase for the student! That individual's entire skiing future will
be colored by those early experiences. And who better to give those first
experiences than our most seasoned pro's?
I am talking just of adults, now. The problem is that never-evers fall into a couple of groups. Some of them are "day skiers" -- who just came with a friend. Maybe the quality of instructor doesn't matter to much to someone who's just trying it once. But some never-evers, like me, really intend to give it a hard go. I may just be deluding myself, but I am convinced I could have progressed much faster with better instruction.
Over the last 3 years (19 ski days) I've moved from never-ever to someone who enjoys blue cruisers and wants to learn to ski bumps. Right Tip Right -- I'm another intermediate ski nut. This has been achieved by grinding my way through about 17 days of classes --- yeah, that's only 2 sorry days of non-instructed skiing. And about 8-9 instructors, who've ranged from hopeless to very good. If I hadn't been really motivated, and also reasonably confident that I'm actually pretty coordinated, a couple of these might have just made me want to throw in the towel.
Honestly, a good teacher (as the second woman who taught me was) can be so motivating. One good AHA can pull you along for a ways....
|5. I tend to be far more exercised about lousy teaching than I do about
mediocre skiing. Oftentimes, the product of the crummy teaching winds up
with me later, and it is a real pain!
Definitely, especially when a defense mechanism begins to be ground into muscle as habit.
Also, admittedly, the less you know about skiing, the less you're able to tell whether your instructor can ski well or not. But certainly one of the worst instructors I can remember skied quite beautifully in my recollection, while the one who helped me through a big breakthrough did not seem to be as fluid or as wonderful a skier, but he could (and did) explain what I needed to change.
|So- you want a great instr? Do your homework! You have the right to expect
great things from your instr!
What homework to do? Sigh. It's so hard to come up with any criteria ahead of time that can be checked in a meaningful way.
|POINT- Would you take a lesson from a good teacher who maybe doesn't ski to
the level of the lesson being given?
I have a problem with this idea. I believe that if a pro can't ski a given
manuever or condition, that pro likely doesn't understand it, or the
mechanics involved well enough to teach it. And if that is the case, what
is he going to be teaching?
This is a tough one. Two analogies. One from dance classes (sorry), and the other from Pilates.
It is unreasonable to expect a dance teacher to dance at a performer's level --- or they would more likely be dancing. Moreover, most professional dancers are NOT trained to teach, and would be terrible teachers. And some wonderful teachers who are older actually cannot demonstrate the full range of what they teach, but (1) they are capable of describing exactly what needs to be done; (2) often there are others demonstrate for them. Really amazing teachers begin to develop their own reputations, but you don't get "day students" popping in too often, I imagine. Nonetheless, even an exceptional dancer might take a class with or be coached by an older teacher who would not be able to perform a movement full out and still learn something very valuable.
Pilates, as LM said, is becoming more popular, and is attracting the most unqualified cranks. I can't believe some of the stuff I'm seeing in terms of the way exercises are demonstrated by "teachers" who are hopeless. To me this is fundamentally different from the example of the dance teachers, because they may not be able to do exercises *anymore* but they could, and still understand the theory. These instructors are simply unqualified. They can't demonstrate, they can't teach, they *don't know the theory*.
But how can a person tell the difference between an unqualified instructor, and one whose current skills simply don't match their experience or teaching skills? Argh.
|Some people are skiiers and some aren't. That all there is to it.
|Practicing the right things you'll get better, but practice typing
"parctice" a thousand times and soon we'll be spelling it wrong.
Sorry, TBone, but some people just need more (or, as I hope, better [img]smile.gif[/img] ) help.
Rusty Guy, I think your bringing up the topic at your club is fantastic. You go!