Ya gotta do the work . . .
Being on the instructor side of the table during a course is an interesting experience. You have specific knowledge you want to give to your “students” (honestly at my age/our age you are sharing with peers – yet this weekend I was the instructor). You want to evaluate skillsets, provide training to hone them and finally test their knowledge and skill level.
Ya gotta do the work . . .
I detailed earlier what my preparations were – about 15-20 hours of study and a couple hours of range work for polish. That was for me . . . what about the instructor candidates?
I view the NRA Personal Protection Inside the Home as the introduction to true defensive shooting. You begin the process of teaching students about the “tool of last resort” to defend themselves. This covers everything from evaluating your defensive perimeter to how to engage a threat at close quarter with multiple combat effective hits. It’s a busy day for the student . . . not to mention the Instructor Candidate.
As an Instructor Candidate a real burden is placed on them to know the skillset required, to truly understand the material being presented and to actually demonstrate these abilities to someone like me, a Training Counselor. Like I said . . . Ya gotta do the work!
I last taught this course in September and honestly I wanted to beef it up a bit from the instructor side. So I made some changes in the process . . .
A range half-day: To evaluate a person’s shooting skills you simply must see them on the range. While simply running the candidate through the shooting qualification would provide me the ability to see their current level of skill . . . it would do nothing to let me help polish it. So, I added a voluntary ½ day on the range. We began with a simple “5-rounds on the dot” drill, worked through an “extend, touch, press” drill and finally ended up – 3 hours or so later, with the “accelerated pairs” qualification round. The result? Each candidate improved, learned some new teaching techniques and – qualified easily by the range secession’s end. It was a good addition.
Actually teach the PPITH course first: The requirement for becoming a PPITH instructor candidate is to be a Basic Pistol Instructor. That’s it. I noticed during my September course we spent as much time expanding on each topic as the candidates were actually teaching it. So, this time – I taught the entire PPITH course first – then moved into the instructor course. BIG improvement IMHO, allowing the candidates more ability to provide deep discussions on each and every topic in the PPITH course. I will do this from now on.
SIRT range work first: I rotate candidates between each range drill making them use the range commands, monitor the “students” (the other candidates) and become comfortable being in charge on the shooting line. This can be done in the classroom which was nice because it was in the very low 40s, a bit windy with 6 inches of water to wade through to get to the firing line. While that can certainly be done in a live-fire exercise – use of the SIRT pistols in the class room on the “range” we set up has really improved the way this portion of the course flowed. Again, something I will continue across the spectrum of NRA and my own course work.
Finally – Conduct the PPITH Instructor Course: Of course, the whole idea here is that the candidates actually conduct the course for each other. It’s a good technique with feedback provided by their fellow candidates throughout the process. The change for me this time, with the additional range session and me actually teaching the PPITH course first was that the presentations seems more crisp, provided much more depth and actually became much more of an actual teaching process than simply gaining experience standing in front of a class room presenting information.
Ya gotta do the work . . . for me that was the 15-20 hours course study and a couple hours’ worth of range work for polish.
For the candidates it looked like 3+ hours of range time and then shooting a qualification round, going through a full presentation of the PPITH course and finally teaching the whole course back to each other.
Honestly, they did the work . . . and it showed both in their instructor test scores as well as their shooting on their qualification targets.
Terry, Mike, Lori, Laura and Bobbi . . . you guys did great! Thanks for coming! I’ll look forward to hearing about your first course and how your students do! I’m confident they’ll do great! Just remember . . .
They gotta do the work!