We Can’t Know What We Don’t Know

Recently I read an article written by a yoga instructor-trainer as they reflected on the state of instruction as they knew it.  He made an interesting comment about how he and his team had been involved in a great number of instructor certifications, but how he felt like the certification training failed in one major area: in “teaching teachers to teach yoga”.

His observation was that in certifying these instructors, the methods resulted in a great amount of fear; fear of getting it wrong, and the course delivery, as a result, became flat, formulaic, scripted.  Their methods so caused their instructor candidates lose the creativity and energy found in experimentation, in learning from their students, or focusing so hard on the product that they botched the delivery.  They were focusing more on not embarrassing themselves than on passing along knowledge.

I see a number of fire and EMS instructors who are the same way.  As an instructor-trainer myself, it has always been a source of frustration for me when I am faced with candidates who don’t KNOW the material they are supposed to be passing along.  They read the book, they took the course, they checked off the check-offs, and now they were supposed to understand the nuances of a subject they were barely intimate with and communicate it to someone else.

To me, it is no wonder we have some of the issues we face in today’s emergency services; in many cases, the people doing the teaching are learning from those who weren’t inspired themselves.  They might have the desire to teach, but what they are sharing wasn’t shared correctly to begin with.

I recall a discussion with a Captain once about a new Lieutenant who, in his first few shifts, had proven to be a megalomaniac.  Well, maybe not that bad, but it was pretty bad.  I said to that Captain that I wasn’t surprised the Lieutenant led his crews like a tyrant.  He learned to lead from his own supervisor, who was themselves a tyrant. 

How can we expect anything less when it is the only existence they know?

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