Dec 23, 2002, 9:48 AM
Post #1 of 27
As a relatively new AFF instructor (400 AFF jumps) I have seen some disturbing mindsets with more "experienced" instructors (I use that term loosely). I would like to attribute this crappy way of thinking to burnout and not to a warped sense of self or what made them get into skydiving in the first place.
First of let me say that these statements are not directed at one person or DZ in particular. These people seem to be found on DZs around the country. Let me also say that I have worked with some exceptional instructors...some truely amazing skydivers and more importantly, amazing individuals.
It seems as though there are people in this sport that have a warped sense of values when it comes to teaching their students. When I coach/instruct my priorities are as follows (in order) 1) to my student, including safety, quality of service, learning & fun, etc. 2)My employers-professional image, working efficiently & safely, punctuality, etc. 3) Myself...
I see quite a few people that reverse the order. They are more concerned about making money (which I find funny, because there really isnt much money to make in this sport for the most part) for themselves or their business than providing exceptional service to their customers. This type of thinking is so narrow minded. If you are thinking in the short term on how to pack as many students on the plane as possible rather than giving them the experience that they are putting their hard earned money down to get...your long term return isnt going to be very good, nevermind producing a student that may not be up to par with skills or safety.
I feel for the student that is about to make an AFF/Tandem jump that has been rushed through the process.
I would like to urge instructors to take a bit of extra time and give their students proper attention. I didnt get into skydiving for the money, if I start looking at my students as dollar signs...somebody please shoot me. Its time for me to go, maybe step back and re-evaluate what I am doing here.
Next time it rains...grab some students AFF or Tandem and show them somethings...how does the gear work, go over exits, body position, packing, anything!!! Make them feel as though they are learning something even though it is pissing down rain. They could be spending their weekend somewhere else, but they are at the DZ just waiting to learn something.
It feels pretty damn good to give back to something that has given me so much!!! It also feels good to know that you have turned out some safe & talented skydivers.
Just some thoughts...sorry for the rant!!! We have the best jobs in the world...quit your bitching!!! Skydiving is fun, remember???
and to attack it on a different angle (that might effect a self centered instructor)
i , as a skydiver, remember very well how each and every instructor (and other veterans) treated me as a new guy and as a new skydiver. personally i didnt have any problems with my instructors (i'm a very loveable guy ), but when i take a coached jump, naturally i'll remember who "went the extra mile" and was personal as well as professional...
Most students are able to tell who is who and what people to stay away from. It's always more fun to learn from someone who loves what they are teaching. The crappy instructors are really doing more to hurt themselves then the overall sport, most people who want to skydive will find a way to get away from the people who are burned out (on skydiving, heh) I'm lucky not having had to see this happen too much so far :)
(This post was edited by dex on Dec 23, 2002, 11:55 AM)
My DZO has been pissed at me for taking the student and myself off the load since I felt they would have to repeat the level had we not trained further. I could always use the money but helping create a good safe skydiver is much more fulfilling.
You bring up some very good points and I'm glad there are people like you out there who recognize this problem. This has been associated with some of the other issues that come up with USPA in the topic. The one being that thats what happens when DZO's are running things.
If Skyslut is the same instructor who helped me through AFF this summer at SDNE (BW?), he's walkin' the talk. Definitly helps to calm the student nerves when the instructor isn't in fast forward mode with the rest of the DZ on a very busy weekend. I complemented this guy several times for taking the extra time to explain things way beyond what was necessary for my understanding. Kind'a like asking someone for the time, and they tell you how a watch is made. But it made me feel good and calmed me down a couple notches. I felt good getting debriefed by this guy because I always had his undivided attention the whole time. I'm not saying I ever felt I was ever in the hands of any instructor at the DZ who comprimised safety, but runnung at high speed from student to student creates more anxiety, when the goal is to get the student to relax (or at least try). Taking the extra time makes a big impression on a student (customer). This goes for the rest of the DZ Staff. How about those Packers, getting paid by the job, who would stop what they were doing to help me out while learning to get the big mess into the tiny little bag. Skyslut is right on.... Slow down, spend the extra time, make a BIG POSITIVE impression. It's all about exceptional customer service, and RETURN customers.
Thank you! I'm so glad to see there are those out there who arent in it for $ or self or whatever drives them.Instead thinking of the learning experience and betterment of the sport/people.
I have been to 5 different DZ since my first tandem back in Jan of this year. Not to say I havent been around some good JMs or other people who have tried to teach me along the way,but it is rare to find.I have taken a sidestep in working on my A card because I wasnt comfortable w/my abilities.I didnt feel up to par.Now I'm working with a great SDU coach who, in one jump, helped me understand more about myself and my frame of mind when I jump.I'm going to work on myself so that when I am done w/coached jumps, I will be more skilled and ready for my A than someone hearded through the "factory". Some might think me stupid for not rushing through to have my coveted license, but I know this is right for my progression and myself as a skydiver.I'd rather take the extra time/money and be better than be "processed" and be average.
Thanks for the support and Rick, yep, its me...hope all is well in the frozen tundra that you call New England.
Anyways, it absolutely baffles me some of the thinking that goes on in this sport by some people. Even from a business perspective, which I couldnt care less about, its just doesnt make any sense. Oh well, the battle continues!!!
>They are more concerned about making money (which I find funny, > because there really isnt much money to make in this sport for the > most part)
While that's true, keep in mind that there are instructors who support themselves entirely by jumping. It can be done, but it requires you to make X jumps a week to pay the rent. It is easy to say that you should scratch off a few loads to spend more time with a student, but keep in mind that, for some people, that makes the difference between being able to eat that night or not.
In my time teaching (around 1100 AFF's) I've always been fortunate in that I didn't need the money badly, and so I could afford to spend the extra two hours in the FJC with the problem student or to repeat a jump for free. Not everyone at our DZ was able to do that. In our case it worked out - I (and a few other instructors who could take extra time) would get the problem students, while the otherwise-unemployed instructors could take the naturals who didn't need the extra time. Unfortunately, in some places, the latter instructors can start to dominate, and that's bad news for students.
Yeah, I need to eat too...but I dont take tips from students...I find it absurd that I get paid to skyive! I get paid to get blowjobs!!! for Godsakes!!!If you are going to consider whether you eat take out food vs. delivery over a students safety...you have a serious problem. Check yourself. You know how shitty it feels that I cant get my girlfriend what I want to get her for X-mas??? It feels pretty f'n shitty, but at least I can look myself in the mirror in the morning and feel good about it. I dont care how much money that N'Synch makes...If I was them, I would still have to wake up and kick my own ass everymorning. I have whored myself out selling technology to fortune 5 banks...I know what its like to sell yourself out and be a douchebag...no thanks...I didnt start jumping to deal with assholes. If you are in it to make money...go find a real job!
you know what...with your comment...which basically said "I need money over my students learning process"...get out of the sport...I do this for a living...dont make people afraid to jump with a crappy factory process atittude.
You are a moderator too...good example.
(This post was edited by SkySlut on Dec 24, 2002, 10:21 PM)
like in every other place, good customer service will make me come back to the same person.
when you say ""making money over the students learning process" there is a difference between compromising their safety, and just not giving more than you have to.
if an instructor rushes things and skips vital parts, he/she shouldn't be an instructor. if they do their job, but you get a feeling that you are just a part of a student production line, its ok, but you are most likely to chose doing your advanced training with someone else.
Maybe you should relax and read Bill's post again. Then maybe you should apologize to Bill.
In my experience, most (not all) DZO's are concerned with the bottom line more than anything else. If an instructor gets in more students jumps a day by pushes safety limits, cutting corners, etc, they make the DZO more money. If the instructor doesn't, then the DZO hires more instructors, and then there are less students to go around and the instructors make less money. At some point the good instructors leave because they aren't making enough money and are replaced by the money-makers.
Why do you think the AFFCC was changed at the same time there was an instructor shortage in the U.S.? DZO's didn't want to pay more and treat the instructors better, so they made it easier to become an instructor. Keeping the pool of instructors big allows DZO's to keep pay small. The instructors that want to make decent money without compromising their integrity, find themselves in a untenable situation. Generally speaking, someone that is professional, experienced, qualified, and performs well expects to paid well. Most high-speed instructors won't stay full-time for long, once they realize the choice they are faced with: make less money or compromise their standards. So they quit.
Why should a high-speed instructor take a vow of poverty? The job is difficult, and possibly dangerous. The hours are long and the benefits are next to nil. No retirement or medical/dental/eye insurance. No paid days off. They generally aren't even employees. Piss off the DZO and you are gone. The DZO feels they need another instructor? That means a pay cut to you.
No, most high-speed instructors will go and make real money at a real job and maybe teach a little on weekends.
billvon (D 16479)
Dec 25, 2002, 10:44 AM
Post #15 of 27
>with your comment...which basically said "I need money over my > students learning process"...get out of the sport...I do this for a > living...dont make people afraid to jump with a crappy factory > process atittude.
>You are a moderator too...good example.
Reading my post _before_ replying may save you some embarrasement in the future.
billvon (D 16479)
Dec 25, 2002, 10:51 AM
Post #16 of 27
>If you are going to consider whether you eat take out food vs. > delivery over a students safety...you have a serious problem.
I know people who decide to eat _at_all_ vs. taking an extra hour with a student. Not everyone is as well off as you are.
>but I dont take tips from students...
I do, although it's usually in the form of beer or dinner or something. My best tip ever was for doing an AFF lvl III for free - I landed after a demo, and a gorgeous woman ran up to me and handed me a beer.
Tips are, in my mind, much better than charging for things. That way, if you can't afford it it's OK, and you pay what you think it's worth.
>I find it absurd that I get paid to skyive! I get paid to get blowjobs!!!
Hmm. I prefer teaching to being a whore, myself - but to each his own.
Yes, instructors that suck up to the DZO by rushing students through ground school and busting minimums in order to make more jumps in a day make the rest of us look bad. In the long run they burn out and leave the DZ. Thank God! My challenge is maintaining my professional demeanor while they are being idiots.
My personal peeve is instructors who try to fuck students (in a sexual manner) before they have graduated. What do other people think about having sex with students?
> My personal peeve is instructors who try to fuck students (in a sexual manner) before they have graduated. > What do other people think about having sex with students
It should be like having sex with a "sister"... it's all good as long as it isn't YOUR sister...
When ya head to a DZ and you are getting the whuffo dust blown off you during your student progression generally you are in a VERY different environment then you are use too. Even though the instructor may be able to handle chasing a little tail during training the student is prolly overwhelmed and I think it's best to avoid any prop spinning drama while they are on student status. I'd be *SO* pissed if I saw a sport fucking drama case turn someone off skydiving!
Now hopefully noone notices a new trend of skychicks being rushed through groundschool and such so they are in the "available pool" heheh
PhreeZone (D License)
Dec 25, 2002, 2:13 PM
Post #19 of 27
Could be the whole damsel in distress and knight effect kicking in...
Or it could be that the tandem masters are doing a good job making the students feel safe... if you're trusting these strangers with your life I guess it's not a giant leap at all to trust them with your "tail"
Perhaps it's the rock star effect that some girls are after...
Perhaps it's the awesome rippling biceps of the TM that has jumped one to many beefy whuffos...
Could be a way to return the favor of a "one in a lifetime" adrenaline shot..
Might be all the beer hanging around....
Most likely it's some strange fascination with harnesses that most people are too nervous to explore outside of skydiving...
billvon (D 16479)
Dec 25, 2002, 8:32 PM
Post #21 of 27
>What do other people think about having sex with students?
We had a 'no-dating-students' rule that was broken at least as often as it was enforced. There were a great many "but she asked _me_ out!" sort of excuses, including one from the guy who started our AFF program (and later went on to develop a new kind of rig.)
> Tandem masters seem to be able to get as much tail as they want > if they hit on the students.
As far as I can tell, they get that even if they don't hit on anyone.
>Most likely it's some strange fascination with harnesses that most > people are too nervous to explore outside of skydiving...
That was always my favorite theory, but not one that has been proven out in practice.
Well,since I'm in that void between having completed AFF and having my A I'm kinda torn on the whole dating instructors thing. It all kinda depends on the people,the situation etc..but I do agree w/keeping professional w/your students. I wouldnt mess w/my instructor..but I *might* mess with someone who is an instuctor as long as they arent a part of my training.That make sense? Just MHO...take it w/a grain of salt.
LOL! I'm a step ahead of ya...my SDU coach is female so no worries there.I'm not into females..like guys waaaaayy too much for that.But I'm not worried anyway b/c its not like I'm very "sought after" anyway.