Monday, July 12, 2010

Instructing, part 2

I'm going to do it.

I took Sheri out the other night to help her learn about rev matching, and realized that the old saw about learning more when you teach is very true. It also didn't hurt that she learned well, and got better at rev matching immediately! Positive feedback is a strong motivator.

I'm going to work with NASA first, and if it works out, I'll hit up Rick at Driver's Edge.

The benefits outweigh the risks, but I'll need to pick up some new gear to make it work perfectly.

First thing is safety. The Hans device won't work in most student cars, because they don't have proper harnesses. There are a couple of alternative devices that hold your head on your spinal column in the event of a frontal impact. I'm going to spend the $1000 and get one.

Next is communication. I've had instructors that make hand gestures in conductor-like fashion. It's very nifty, but I think that I want to speak to and listen to students. Thus, an in-car under helmet intercom is the way to go. Chatterbox is the main brand, I think. Adding that to the list...

Last is a good look at learning styles. I'm not going to get into it here, but most driving programs are geared towards a more exploratory learning style. That is, one who takes risks. For many reasons, folks driving their car on a track for the first time can be risk averse. In addition, modeling learners are left in the pits because they want to know what will happen before they turn the wheel or try to threshold brake. I need to be able to sus out which sort of student I'm looking at, and how best to approach them.

The benefits are many: Track time, seat time, endurance training, exposure to new drivers, and the ability to run with the really fast crowd (most instructor groups get their own run sessions).

The downsides are few, really. Chief among them is that I'll be climbing in the car with a novice. That's a bit scary, if I'm honest. Second, it makes the events more tiring. Generally, you have two students to train. That means triple the track time of a normal event. That's tiring. I hope I'm up to it. If not, perhaps it'll give me the motivation to train aerobics like I should.

Going to be an interesting year.