Those Who CAN, Do. Those Who CAN’T, Teach.

Written By: Lance Piatt

By: Tom Wood

image003

We’ve all probably heard this comment, and some of us may have even made this comment ourselves after sitting through a rope rescue or rope access class taught by someone who probably couldn’t teach someone to (properly) tie their own shoesWell, I think it’s safe to say that like everything else that can be taught or learned, rope access and technical rope rescue has its share of folks who probably belong IN the class instead of in front of it.

As a rope access and rope rescue instructor myself, I still find myself occasionally sitting in a classroom, learning from others. And when I do, I’ve come to realize that in the rope rescue and rope access world, there are some common traits that all good instructors seem to share. As an instructor, I do my level best to practice what I preach and hold myself accountable to the same standards by which I judge others.

So just what are the hallmarks of a good instructor in this demanding field? Let’s go down the list.

#1 They have solid, real-life, real-world experience

image001

 

“Experience is the hardest kind of teacher. It gives you the test first and the lessons come after,” said Oscar Wilde. Now, when it comes to technical rope rescues, let’s be honest here folks. For the most part, they are pretty rare. Or at best, they happen infrequently. So when you get an instructor who regales the class with a multitude of technical rope rescue war stories, it’s probably a safe bet that they are either exaggerating or these rescues happened in the previous century. Don’t get me wrong, war stories are great tools for making a point, but they shouldn’t be used in a learning environment to feed the instructor’s ego. And if that instructor isn’t out there in the trenches getting their hands dirty anymore, they are missing out on some valuable learning experiences and this leads to stagnation. Which brings me to point #2…

#2 They possess a fanatical willingness to learn

The best instructors are the ones who are still willing to learn, and freely admit that they don’t know everything. Beware the instructors who heavily rely on their reputation, or past achievements. Beware instructors who don’t like to be questioned or second-guessed. And beware the instructors who tell you that there is only one method or technique to accomplish a goal. I call this the “My way or the highway” teaching philosophy. That one technique or method that they are so fond of may the only one they know. Also, technology is advancing at a rapid pace, and if someone never leaves the classroom (physically or mentally), they’ll not only miss out on changes to the gear, but also on the evolving techniques, changing standards and guidelines that apply to the safe and efficient use of the gear. Here comes point #3…

#3 They maintain involvement in the industry that puts bread on their table

Now, I used to proudly claim membership to the rope rescue technician clan, and denounce those who had become long in tooth (and heavy in ass) as belonging to the rope rescue politician clan. I have softened my view on this somewhat over the years. Especially here in the U.S., we need folks who know their way around a rope to educate those who try to legislate what we do out in the field. Anyone who’s ever suffered through an NFPA, ANSI or ASTM standards meeting knows full well that some of the folks who write the rules for what we do as rope access and rope rescue technicians don’t know a bowline from a butterfly. As instructors (and some might say old farts and not be too off base), I feel we owe it to our respective industries to participate- to give back, in some way. In short, we shouldn’t just sit back and collect money or accolades from students without giving something back that advances our industry. As instructors, we need to remain vested in the rope rescue and rope access industry. And sometimes, that means that we need savvy rope rescue politicians in our corner.

#4 They can adapt to different styles of learning

image004

I know several guys and gals who are uber-talented rope technicians, but they make for terrible teachers when asked to do so. Instructing is a skill, a talent. The best instructors know how to LISTEN as well as talk. They understand that every student learns differently, and adapts their teaching style to better suit the needs of the students. Lecture, visual aids, written material and opportunities for kinesthetic learning are all equally important if we want our students to walk away from a course with the skills to not only pass a test, but to survive and thrive in the stressful and high-risk environment where we ply our trade.

#5 They can admit to being wrong

This is a big one, and probably the rarest. If you’ve ever watched an instructor tie an improper knot, or rig a system that just doesn’t work and then watched them waste twenty minutes of valuable class time rationalizing their actions instead of just saying “I really screwed the pooch on that one,” then you know what I mean. We are all human, we all make mistakes. But when pride takes precedence in an environment where lives are potentially at risk, we are treading on some mighty thin ice. To err is human, to own up to it, divine.

Wrapping it up

I have to say that I have been fortunate to learn from some of the best and brightest folks out there in the rope rescue and rope access biz. But perhaps no one has had a more profound influence on me than the late Steve Hudson, one of the founders of PMI, the company that I now work for. Steve lived and breathed every single trait I mention above, and did so with humility and grace. So thanks Steve, for being such a great rope rescue and rope access mentor. For being the kind of person who not only DID, but also taught. But most importantly, thanks for being the kind of human being that one would aspire to.

About Tom Wood

image002Tom is the Training Manager for PMI’s Vertical Rescue Solutions. He is a SPRAT Level 3 Rope Access Supervisor, a 17-year veteran and current Field Director of the Alpine Rescue Team and a U.S. Terrestrial Rescue Delegate to ICAR. A former journalist and Combat Photographer for the USMC Reserves, he is also a freelance author and writer. Tom is an avid ice climber, mountaineer, and caver. He lives in Conifer, Colorado with a wife and three children who, to his constant amazement, support him in all his crazy endeavors.

 

About Vertical Rescue Solutions

VRS_LogoAt VRS™, we don’t just teach rescue — we live it. With knowledge gleaned from a variety of disciplines (Fire, EMS, Mountain Rescue, Confined Space, Technical Rope Rescue, Cave Rescue, Industrial Rescue) and years of hands-on, real life rescue experience, VRS™ instructors focus on saving lives through education and instruction. With the establishment of the new ANSI Z359 (2007) standards for the establishment of a Managed Fall Protection Plan, the employer has more responsibility than ever for the safety of their workers. And in the often confusing and ever-changing world of safety compliance, we not only know the rules, we’ve helped write a few ourselves. PMI and VRS staff members are active participants in ANSI, NFPA, the Cordage Institute, SPRAT, ASTM and ASSE. VRS can help businesses and organizations formulate a documented Rescue Pre-Plan and Rescue After a Fall Plan.

Categories
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Email

About The Author:

Related Posts

86 thoughts on “Those Who CAN, Do. Those Who CAN’T, Teach.”

  1. Howdy! This post could not be written any better! Looking
    at this post reminds me of my previous roommate!

    He constantly kept talking about this. I most certainly will forward this post to him.
    Fairly certain he will have a great read. Many thanks for sharing!
    donate for ukraine

  2. wonderful put up, very informative. I wonder why the opposite specialists of this sector don’t realize this. You should continue your writing. I’m sure, you’ve a great readers’ base already!

  3. 919057 410605I recognize there is a superb deal of spam on this internet site. Do you need aid cleaning them up? I may assist in between courses! 868050

  4. นั่งปั่น สล็อตPg คาเฟ่ชิล ร้านกาแฟ บรรยากาศ สุดฟิน แบบนี้ สามารถมานั่งปั่นสล็อต pg เพลิดเพลินสนุกไปกับมัน เหมาะสมกับการไปนั่งชิลล์ในวันสบายๆ ร้านกาแฟ อากาศร้อนๆแบบงี้ต้องการ

  5. 686981 178961There is noticeably a great deal of funds to realize about this. I assume youve created certain good points in attributes also. 594010

  6. fantastic submit, very informative. I’m wondering why the other experts of this sector do not notice this. You must continue your writing. I am confident, you have a great readers’ base already!

  7. Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thank you, However I am encountering issues with your RSS. I don’t understand why I cannot join it. Is there anyone else getting similar RSS problems? Anyone that knows the solution can you kindly respond? Thanks.

  8. Can I simply just say what a comfort to discover somebody who genuinely understands what they’re talking about online. You definitely understand how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people must check this out and understand this side of the story. I was surprised that you are not more popular since you certainly have the gift.

  9. Hi, I do think this is an excellent web site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I may revisit yet again since I book-marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to help other people.

  10. I’m amazed, I have to admit. Rarely do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you have hit the nail on the head. The problem is something which too few folks are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy I found this in my search for something concerning this.

  11. I blog frequently and I seriously thank you for your content. The article has truly peaked my interest. I’m going to bookmark your site and keep checking for new details about once a week. I subscribed to your Feed too.

  12. Cryptorchidism is characterized by the absence of one or both testes from the scrotum, i. clomid for low testosterone levels Without healthy eggs and a sufficient number of eggs, even with all of the medical interventions, getting pregnant either doesn t happen or can lead to other complications like miscarriages or children with birth defects.

  13. Howdy! I know this is kinda off topic nevertheless I’d figured
    I’d ask. Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest
    writing a blog post or vice-versa? My blog addresses a lot of the same topics as yours and I believe we
    could greatly benefit from each other. If you happen to be interested feel free to shoot me an email.
    I look forward to hearing from you! Excellent blog by the
    way! zabawki dla dorosłych

  14. Hi, I do believe this is a great site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I may revisit yet again since I book marked it. Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be rich and continue to help others.

  15. Thanks for your write-up. One other thing is that if you are marketing your property yourself, one of the difficulties you need to be aware about upfront is how to deal with home inspection reviews. As a FSBO vendor, the key concerning successfully moving your property plus saving money on real estate agent commissions is awareness. The more you are aware of, the smoother your home sales effort will likely be. One area where this is particularly essential is reports. zabawy dla dorosłych

  16. Hi there! This blog post could not be written any better! Looking through this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept preaching about this. I am going to forward this information to him. Pretty sure he’s going to have a very good read. I appreciate you for sharing!

  17. Next time I read a blog, I hope that it won’t fail me as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read through, however I actually thought you would have something helpful to say. All I hear is a bunch of crying about something that you could fix if you were not too busy looking for attention.

  18. I’m amazed, I have to admit. Rarely do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and interesting, and without a doubt, you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is something that too few men and women are speaking intelligently about. Now i’m very happy that I found this during my hunt for something concerning this.

  19. Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve visited this site before but after browsing through a few of the posts I realized it’s new to me. Anyways, I’m certainly happy I came across it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back regularly!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.