Last week I received a letter in the post from the BHS about renewing my membership on the Register of Instructors. It provides insurance and advertising, so it’s worth me doing.
The letter listed the expiry dates of my first aid, child protection… And my CPD.
What on earth is a CPD course?!? I couldn’t even remember what course I’d done last time. And more to the point, it expired this May!
Even having a normal spring planned I’d struggle to find a suitable date at a suitable level within an hours drive away, but factor in a wedding and two week honeymoon and the available dates were whittled down to a handful.
I enquire and I couldn’t attend the local, and correct level course two days after my CPD expired, which left me making the two and a half hour trek to Cambridge this morning.
As I already have my Stage 4 and AI qualifications, the next exam I should be working towards is the Intermediate Instructor qualification. I’ve always aimed to do it, but it seems such a big step up from the AI exam, so together with the cost and time needed to train it’s gone on the back burner.
I was pretty nervous, as I always am at new venues with assessors critiquing me. I explained in the introduction that I was new to the syllabus and was perfectly happy for the people with their exam booked to take precedence as I could learn just as much observing them. Apparently my body language showed I was just there “for the ride”…
Much to my amazement the syllabus wasn’t anywhere near as daunting as I anticipated. I need to teach pupils to novice and elementary standard. Elements of novice tests are achievable by a few of my clients, and as I’m riding elementary tests at the moment, these movements are fresh in my mind, as is the difference between the two levels because I’m trying to push my standards up. In terms of jumping, the pupils need to jump 90-100cm courses; both showjumping and cross country. Again, my riding experience is perfectly suited. At this point I started to relax into the day and felt that the exam was within my reach.
I even took a turn at teaching the private flat lesson. As soon as I turned my back on the assessor and the rest of my group I started teaching naturally, and easily. Which is an improvement to when I first started teaching. I used to go mute in front of my trainers! I had some positive feedback from the assessor for my teaching, which was great.
We also did a lunge lesson, group flat lesson, private jump lesson, and group jump lesson. I found it really interesting to hear other people at my teaching level to hear their style, analogies, technique, and feedback. Much to my relief my lunging technique was still up to standard and I didn’t have too many bad habits.
As the day progressed I felt I could actively participate in the discussions and understand what the examiner was looking for in the instructors and their teaching, and how to repair any small holes. The important part I took away was that it’s important to explain your reasoning behind your teaching – choice of exercise or rider feedback.
We only did the practical units today, so my plan is to look at the theory based units in my own time, and begin to self teach myself. In terms of my own teaching I’ll try to be more reflective of lessons, make some small adjustments and check my terminology so that I don’t need to put up an exam front when going for training.
Before I left the course I was told that I would be fine for the exam and need to just crack on. So whilst I don’t doubt that there is a lot of work for me to do, and that it won’t be plain sailing, I think I can do it. I’m inspired to try, anyway!