Hey! My Student Looks An Awful Lot Like My Instructor.....

2nd day as student-CFI... :0)


October 13, 2005

Yesterday afternoon I gave my second ground lesson to my 'student' (the one who looks just like John, my flight instructor <g>).  This time around I had been asked to prepare a lesson on some of the ground reference maneuvers required of a primary student.

I was all ready to do my ground reference maneuvers presentation and John asked me if I was ready to first give a ground lesson on taxiing.  I drew a blank stare... hadn't planned on this.  While I recalled John mentioning a lesson on taxiing I had erroneously presumed he meant during my in-flight session with my 'student' - not so... he wanted a lesson on taxiing.

You know its' funny how you can forget all that you know, because the first thing I asked John was what was there to talk about taxiing (keep in mind I was just thinking about the physical act of steering)?  It was just one of those physical skills that you had to practice.  So, John says then all your student needs to do is start taxiing away.. and I say 'no' that one needs to contact ground to get permission and directions for the taxi, first (which led to a short 'lesson' on radio communications).  The little 'memory jog' that John had lobbed my way started a cascade of other 'revelations' - all those things I had learned and had become ingrained in my brain.  Suddenly, I realized there was lots that the student wouldn't know.  Runway/taxiway signage, rules regarding other aircraft, how to tell if your high-wing is going to touch the plane you are taxiing by (in the sunshine,,,, with an overcast), position light and anti-collision light usage..... the list goes on.

I did kind of stumble through things at first (keep in mind I hadn't prepared for this ground lesson for the reasons I mentioned earlier), but once the recollections of all that I had to learn as a primary student began unfolding my presentation became somewhat less stilted (though I was kind of off-kilter not having had a chance to practice - I suppose that I'll get better with the off-the-cuff stuff as I go along).

The evening before, I had a thought that maybe it would be a great way to further prepare (in addition to the book review I had been doing) to have my own dry erase whiteboard in my pilot area at my home so that I could practice presenting the maneuvers and illustrating them (if you can call my 'stick-figure' drawings, illustrations ((might be pushing it)) <g>).  So, I got the board, an eraser and six colored dry erase markers.  I found a place to hang it up and worked late into the evening practicing with my new whiteboard.

Seemed to work like a charm!  I was a lot more at ease about 'drawing' (again this is a very loose term for my level of 'art' <grin>) at the whiteboard near my flight instructor's desk.  During my practice sessions I had rehearsed responding to various possible questions the student may come up with along the way and during my presentation, John came up with many of the same questions and (naturally) a few questions that I hadn't thought much about (darn that guy! <GRIN>).

Overall I had a good session; once again the latter assessment is a 'relative' one - sure there were things I could have done better, but I was learning and just 'starting out' at all of this (i.e., teaching).  It is one thing to 'know' something but another skill entirely to be able to explain it well - a skill I will continually work at honing.

I'm going to learn much through this training and even more from my students when I have my CFI.  Kind of reminds me, in some respects, of watching my stepson when he was a little one and realizing all the things you had to learn to do that you now took for granted.  Before my lesson, yesterday, I had lunch with a buddy at my favorite local airport restaurant and this little three year old (or so) girl was sitting with her mom at a table right next to ours.  I watched her drinking a cup of milk (forgetting the swallowing part now and then <grin>) and had the realization that I too, had to learn to do that (drink from a cup of milk) but over so many years it had been easy to forget that at one time it had been a great effort.  I fast-forwarded to the challenges of learning to teach; how easy it was to forget all that I learned and what a mystery much of it was to me when I was just starting out with my introductory flight six years ago.

After my ground session with John (rather after teaching the ground session - I have to get used to saying that <g>), I had a chance to ask him what sort of average score should I shoot for in my practice tests before going on to take my CFI written (one of the first exams I'll be able to take without a sign-off <g>).  I told him I was currently getting around 85 to 88 on the written and was wondering if 90 -95 % would be a reasonable goal  He said that 90 would be a good average target and if I wanted to shoot higher, I always certainly could.  I had this fleeting notion, wouldn't it be great to study to the point where I could score 100% consistently on the practice exams,,, but I'm thinking that might be both counterproductive and likely not realistic.  Who knows....  I'll figure this out as I go... :0)

Friday's lesson (tomorrow) will be a lesson I will teach from the right seat.  I'll teach taxiing and the ground reference maneuvers including (among other items) a demonstration of a Commercial steep turn and one for the Private Pilot checkride.  So, I'm going to spend some time thinking about how best to accomplish all of that! :0)

Good Flights!

Below graphic designed by: Jeff Bucchino,
"The Wizard of Draws" (copyright owner) http://www.wizardofdraws.com

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