IDC Stories...by Teri
As I prepared this posting, I began to realize how much the IDCs mirror our personal lives whether we are the students or the teachers (or in my case, usually both as I am always learning in these courses). For those of you who are not familiar with the process, for the IDC Candidate, the IDC and the two-day Instructor Exam (IE) are the culmination of much commitment and hard work, as well as extensive time and monetary investment. Most Candidates must schedule time off from their work and families to attend. Along with other prerequisites, to be accepted into this intensive two-week program the Candidate must prove their professionalism by achieving the highly-respected level of Divemaster.
Because the IE occurs only on specific dates and in specific places each year, the IDC is scheduled to happen right before the IE, so the Candidates are fresh and properly prepared for the Exam. Consequently, the Course Director and staff, nor the Candidates have much wiggle room to fulfill the many standards which must take place during the IDC before the IE. Most of these standards are associated with learning how to teach knowledge development, confined water and open water. Many times our personal lives must be put on hold. Bad water conditions, other weather issues, illness, and personal problems must be held at bay.
The first major problem I remember was having a bout with kidney stones right before an IDC. My physician gave me Vicodin to relieve the pain. Fortunately, another wonderful Course Director, Eddie Maiwa, was there to help with the water work, but four years later the Candidates from that IDC still comment about the fun they had while I was under the influence.
The next event was when my beloved husband, Jim died suddenly. This sad moment in life occurred just a couple of weeks before a scheduled IDC. Thank goodness for Paul who was a Staff Instructor at the time. I am not sure how he got us all through it, but he managed beautifully.
None of us will forget the IDC when the power went out for two-three days and the shop was flooded. We ended up using scooter batteries to hook up electricity in the shop. However, the flooding caused problems with the classroom carpet and we moved the IDC into one of our student’s hotel room!
We had another bout with Mother Nature during a different IDC. I had vacationed on a live-aboard at the Saccorro Islands off Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. Afterward I had planned to visit family and friends in San Francisco. Once there, the weather turned nasty all up and down the West Coast. My flight home was cancelled which meant we could not start the IDC on time!
During a recent IDC I became very ill with a severe upper respiratory infection. Many people, including Paul, Jim, Kris, and Chaz, came together to make sure the Candidates received exemplary training.
I have been writing about the tribulations of teaching the IDCs, however, the joys are innumerable. Describing the thrill of seeing Candidates fulfill their dreams by becoming PADI Instructors is beyond words. Most of my personal tribulations have been minor compared to the pressure, doubts, and hardships these people have overcome to reach this outstanding achievement. Some have had family illness or accidents enter their lives during IDCs. Others have had financial and homeless hardships which they overcame.
As a PADI Course Director, I am so proud to be invited to be a part of the lives of these committed and professional divers. I look forward to meeting many more of them in IDCs to come. Whether Mother Nature, illness, accidents, or economic difficulties try to intervene, I have no doubt that they will succeed. It will be interesting to see what the future unfolds.