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Newly Minted Instructor

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
To call myself an instructor at this point may be going a little too far, but I did do the Stowe hiring clinic this weekend, and I will be teaching kids to ski this winter. I can hardly wait! On snow stuff starts Dec. 7th. I'll be working on bagging a big buck until then.
post #2 of 24
Welcome to the profession. You've chosen a great mountain.

Good Luck
post #3 of 24
Congratulations, Epic, don't be afraid to say "I don't know" and to use the more experienced instructors, as well as us in here, as resources. Everyone wants you to succeed.

Good luck,

post #4 of 24
All RIGHT, another skier gets the "teaching disease"!

Congrats, epic. Looking forward to you posting your progress as you go through the process...

[ October 21, 2002, 01:26 PM: Message edited by: SnoKarver ]
post #5 of 24
Go get 'em, epic... teaching kids is exhausting but much fun.

post #6 of 24
Kids? Humbug! Well, better you than me.

God man, they drool and their little noses are like fire hydrants. [img]tongue.gif[/img]
post #7 of 24
Congrats Epic,

Welcome to the ranks. Go Get Em
post #8 of 24
Congratulations for making the cut, Epic. Hope you get your buck!
post #9 of 24
Originally posted by epic:
To call myself an instructor at this point may be going a little too far, but I did do the Stowe hiring clinic this weekend, and I will be teaching kids to ski this winter. I can hardly wait! On snow stuff starts Dec. 7th. I'll be working on bagging a big buck until then.
Congratulations and welcome to the ranks. Teaching children can be a blast but I am sure the area will put you in a hard working pecking order to start with. Dragging rug rats can be smiles so keep smiling even when it appears all is lost. Your approach is forming the skier of the future and possibly the next president.

As a person who coaches children I would suggest you find a copy of PSIA-E Teaching Guide For Children’s Instructors. You are in the right area of the country to find a copy. PSIA also has a manual titled Children’s Instruction. It is OK but not as good as the other.

Secondly try and remember children are literal. That does not mean you have to speak “down” to them it just means “follow me” may get some pretty weird results along with “go that way” etc. Sometimes they just don’t understand anything but” turn until you and your belly button are pointed toward the big building”. Now you hope and pray that works.

Have a great time this winter and by the way watch out for frostbite. Not on you but on them! In the East it can sneak up real quick and then what RAIN! [img]graemlins/angel.gif[/img]


P.S. I carry "pop" suckers with me as a reward but check with the parents 1st. They look like "foolers" for teething babies. Parents will be the hardest part of the job so talk to them early and often as they want you!

[ October 23, 2002, 04:20 PM: Message edited by: John Cole ]
post #10 of 24
Congratulations! Teaching kids can be great. Kids definitely improve more in a season than adults ever do. Just remember, the fundamental skiing skill is to know how to enjoy yourself in a cold, miserable and/or dangerous environment. It's a lot like real life.

post #11 of 24
Congratulations Epic! I wish you a great season!

Good luck with the buck. As much as I hate to say this, as a ski instructor, it may be the last of the "big bucks" you'll see for a while....

But the other rewards are out of this world!

Best regards,
Bob Barnes
post #12 of 24
Epic, go ahead and call yourself a ski instructor. It's nice that you honor the "title" by being deferential about its use. However, you're there. You got the job.

Enjoy the kids--and realize they're not little adults. They're kids. They're magic.
post #13 of 24
Now you are going to have to start a post regarding the things that are carried in the pockets of a childrens instructor.
post #14 of 24
Thread Starter 
I'm wondering that myself. Also wondering how many pockets the uni has. New instructors are last in line for unis anyway. I hope mine is not too beat up... or smelly. I'd rather stink it up myself.

My wife's family was up visiting the new homestead this weekend. We have a 3 y.o. niece and nephew, I was wondering how it would be possible to teach them how to ski. Luckily they are not representative of all 3 y.oo.s and since they're not out of diapers, they could not be in my lessons.

Here's a question though. Elizabeth is running around and trips. Starts screaming like she's gonna die. Is obviously not hurt. If this happens in a lesson, I don't see how I'd have any choice but to call ski patrol. I can't ignore an "injury" even if it's just a cry for attention. I'm sure this will be addressed in training, but since this is a discussion board, how would you other instructors adress this?
post #15 of 24

Generally the wee ones are not "out on the hill". they are in groups in a kid friendly area usually a dedicated "Ski Wee" type of thing with lots of fun stuff.

You will probably have a few instructors the "share the joy" and a supervisor or two should usually be close by for those screamers.
post #16 of 24
Kid falls and starts screaming 101 (basics)

Check for blood (no need to do airways ... doh!)
No blood ... Ask where it hurts
"Hurts all over" ... us humor and distraction to ascertain any "real" injury.
"Specific location" ... very gently check (by touch) hurt site whilst talking softly and looking directly into the child's eyes. Real pain needs calm reassurance.
"It just got better" ... ask other kids to elaborate on what is hurt (distraction and peer group inclusion) and make it a game WITHOUT ridicule or denting the child's ego. I.e. make the whole group concerned for the individual.

mummmmmyyyyy ... daddddddyyyyy

Try distraction first ... fall over or do a hand stand or anything silly but impressive and "non adult". (Watch lots of Monty Python or learn some "Wiggles" moves)
If the child is obviously distraught (and this is very hard to tell as some kids can keep the pressure up for hours) then calm reassurance and sitting in the snow as a tight knit group with the "sad" one on your knee helps lots (not in the middle of the ski run of course). Again it is a matter of establishing "trust" and "security" with the child.

These things all come with time and confidence BUT establishing trust NOT fear is the key.

I will leave the rest up to your SS training and kids SS team support. I think it is wise to dig deep within yourself and think outside the square with kids and only call on the SS team support as a last resort i.e. real fear and insecurity coming from the child due to the fact that they do not feel safe in the "new" environment and removal from the environment is the only way to establish "security" i.e. going indoors to a more familiar environment.

Remember if you are cold the children are freezing (the majority that is) and with kids, like adults, things are not always as they appear at first and kids cannot articulate thier feelings in as many ways as adults. (In some ways kids are actually easier to understand)

If you have nieces and nephews then take them out (does not have to be skiing) for the day and learn some "kids moves".

Do a first aid course because things can go wrong quickly with children and they require specific care in emergencies.

Oz [img]smile.gif[/img]

[ October 22, 2002, 05:12 PM: Message edited by: man from oz ]
post #17 of 24
Congrats epic, teach until the money runs out.
post #18 of 24
Congrats epic.
When I'm with the kids my motto is:SHUT UP AND SKI! Try it it works.
Kids are the most fun. Consider yourself lucky.
post #19 of 24
Well done, Epic. And what Man from Oz said...I've never had to call patrol, even when on occasion they have obviously bumped something. Be careful of taking kids where they shouldn't be, too, and DON'T go in the trees unless you get a super advanced group.!

Is Marty Guyer at Stowe this year?
post #20 of 24
Epic, Oz's advice is very good and wise.

To underline something Ant said: Our number one problem with new kids pros is the tendency to overski them--to take them onto terrain they are not ready for. This is made especially difficult by parents who measure success (and teach their kids the same) by terrain acquisition criteria. Instead, give the kids great "moves" that they can boast about--turns, control, little tricks, and fantasies. This will satisfy parents that they are learning something and having some fun.

Also, implied above: you've got two customers--the kid and the parent. Most pros do just fine wants the parents get the hell out of the picture, so there is a tendency to under-relate to parents. Bad mistake. Just think, if you had kids, you'd want to know a lot about who you're trusting to be with them. If you relate to the parent from the outset, you'll be free to work with the kid.

Lastly, it's about adventure. They can learn stuff--how to turn, how to use better technique, etc. But they want and need adventure.

post #21 of 24
Epic, welcome to Stowe. I have the utmost admiration for kid-specific instructors, and , at the same time, utmost reluctance to be one! Fortunately, my years at Stowe have given me enough seniority that I rarely ski with kids, other than in a family private situation. The kids' program is really well run, Marsha Curtis who heads it , is an absolute marvel. If you can keep your head etc....................

Ant, Marty Guyer is heading up a race program at the Green Mountain Valley School at Sugarbush. Looks like we will be a bit thin on the ground with Aussies this year. The local pubs will suffer!

Epic, to my knowledge there are 2 Stowe instructors posting here, myself and Jericho, we would , either of us, be happy to help you with any questions.
post #22 of 24
Some more kids advice....

Try to watch some of the kids tv shows. Barney, Sesame Street, etc, so you know the names of some of the characters. Then be able to use them as role models in your teaching. "you know when Big Bird goes ..."
post #23 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks skiswift - as Mills Lane says, I'm ready to "get it on".

WVskier - I think that may be going a bit too far. I've seen the Teletubbies... once. Actually, I grew up watching Sesame Street (I can't beleive Maria is still on the show) and I can stomach Thomas the Train. Thanks for the suggestion though.
post #24 of 24
You'll do well, Epic. Working at a hill with a good kids' programme makes all the difference. when I started out (at Mt Snow) I was horrified when they grabbed me for kids ski school, as at that time I loathed kids. But they had a great training programme, well organised kids SS, and great support for their instructors. I learned more there than in my subsequent 3 seasons teaching, and look back to that SS with mounting respect.
Listen to the kids, really listen to them. Watch them, watch their eyes (often the only thing you can see!), guage where they're at, for fun AND safety.
For safety, establish some basic rules at the start. It does work. I've never lost a kid or had a kid get hurt in 4 seasons.

and like Weems said, the parents are vital. Talk to them!
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