OK, so I had made my mind up, I would take the test. The next question was which organisation?, APGIA, AAPGIA, EFFA, STANIC or the FFF. I was only interested in two of them, AAPGIA and the FFF. In the end it came down to what did I want to do. Did I want my casting instruction to include fishing or not. I don’t fish an awful lot for one reason or another and I did not feel comfortable with the idea of teaching fishing methods. The reason I ended up choosing the FFF is because they emphasise flycasting and the importance of learning to instruct properly. As a group of people they are very supportive, I knew quite a few of them either personally or via the Sexyloops board so it felt like I was joining a group of friends.
I wasn’t too concerned about the casting element, practicing that was the enjoyable bit, getting the explanations right was a different matter altogether. As I read the test the first 17 tasks were demonstration only, ie the examiner would ask me to perform a cast and I would do it, I didn’t need explanations until question 18. That misconception was nearly my undoing. I found out less than a week before the test that explanations were needed for every task. Near panic set in. But I am getting well ahead of myself here so lets go back to the beginning.
I wanted to keep my going for the test private, I didn’t want the whole world knowing I had failed did I? but I knew I needed help with the technical stuff so a few ‘mentors’ had to be in the know so that I could get advise. I was a bit hamstrung by not being able to post questions on the Sexyloops board as that would have given the game away but the FFF website http://www.fedflyfishers.org/ has loads of information on it if you dig around a bit and a lot of it is about the skill of instructing which was the part I was most concerned about.
There is no doubt that teaching is a skill on it’s own, you need to say enough to explain but not enough to confuse and I knew I was a confuser. I used to do some informal instructing with friends, I never charged money because they were Guinea pigs and I let them know it. I was learning more from them that they were learning from me, I suspect that initially they went away understanding less than when they started. The feedback was that I talked too much!. I now try and and give an instruction or explanation and move away for a while while the student gets their head around it, I will hover and just gently help them if required before we move on to the next phase but back then it was a bit wham bam thank you mam. Do this ,do that, lets try this, NO, not like that you f****** idiot. See, I’m not a natural teacher am I?.
I will finish this epic tomorrow, or maybe not, it could go on for weeks.
BTW, my son only wanted to take his Mum and Dad out to lunch, I must stop being so cynical.