At the end of the instructor development course, there is an exam – the feared PADI Instructor Exam! It is human nature to focus on passing this exam, but it isn’t the real test at all! The real test is the first class you will teach a PADI instructor.
This is why it is so important to choose the right IDC. You want to learn from a course director who teaches you to be a good instructor, NOT how to pass the IE. Course directors that focus on getting the perfect score in the IE often do so as the cost of preparing you for the real-life problems that the IDC should be preparing you for. The experience your course director has will play a big part in this. When I first started teaching the Instructor development course as a new course director (coming up on ten years ago) I fell into this trap myself. I was more concerned about my candidates passing the IE than taking the time to focus on more real world training.
As time passed and my confidence built I started to focus on the problems I knew my instructor candidates would face in their day-to-day work after they had passed the IE. My new-found confidence allowed me to do this because I now knew that passing the IE would be a natural result of this approach. I had taught a few IDCs and no-one had failed. My fear of one of my candidates failing diminished. My focus on the Instructor Exam during my training reduced. Therefore my training focus altered. I wanted my instructor candidates to hit the ground running. Teaching safe fun and well-organized PADI courses. It’s one thing to pass the IE, but once you land your first job, if you make a mess of the first few courses you teach, you are going to lose that job. I realized it was my job to make sure that didn’t happen. The moral of the story – Find a course director with years of experience. They will train you to be a successful scuba instructor, not just to pass the exam.
Train in conditions similar to those you plan to work. The IDC certainly isn’t easy, it is made much harder by cold water and low visibility. So choosing to take the IDC in such conditions certainly, adds an amount of task loading. However, if you are going to teach in those conditions after passing the IE it may well be worth training in those same conditions.