> July 11th, 2016
Climbing The PADI
the dream. I've got a job that most people are jealous
of - I'm a PADI Instructor.
Lights - Big City
Here is a
little story about myself. My names Nicole Yong
and I'm from Kuala Lumpur, the largest and most
modern city in Malaysia. Four years ago, I had a
stable, 'normal' job, working weekdays, from 8.00am
to 6.00pm. During the weekends, I would head to
a shopping mall in town, watch a movie, shop 'till
I drop and treat myself to a decent meal and a couple
of drinks to end the day.
Well I thought my life was until a spontaneous scuba
diving trip changedmy so called perfect life forever.
On A Topical Paradise
Now I'm living
on a beautiful island, Koh
Tao, for over 3 years. Nothing is better than
having your workplace right on the beach, with a
perfect sea view and stunning sunsets almost every
evening. I guess that's why a PADI instructor is
a dream job for almost everyone.
become a PADI Pro when I completed the PADI
Divemaster Internship program in 2013. I took
around 6-7 weeks to complete the entire Internship.
first step on the PADI professional ladder. At Crystal
I signed up to the Rescue to DM Lifestyle package
because it includes the two week 'Working Internship
It was a
fantastic learning experience, introducing me to
how one of the world's most popular 5 Star PADI
dive center operates.
Equipment logistics, scheduling divers and student,
guiding certified divers around the dive sites,
and competently conducting DM Programs. All are
essential skills and knowledge you need if you intend
to work as a Divemaster in the scuba diving industry.
of the Divemaster program, and the ensuing two-week
working internship program, my hard workpaid off
- I'm offered a positionand begin working in the
Crystal Dive DM team.
What You Love - Never Work Another Day In Your Life
job you love and getting paid for it. I believe
this is what people dream of and my dream I has
come true. I'm living the dream!
Experience - Personal Development
as part of the Crystal Dive DM team for 18 months.
My role wasn't just a case of guiding divers around
Koh Tao's dive sites and showing them the underwater
much more to it than that.
You are very
much on the front line, especially during high season.
We do need to be in the office, checking customers
in, answering phone calls, servicing dive centre
equipment, tidying the kit room or stationed in
the retail shop to name a few duties.
I can say,
without doubt, that during this period, my professional
scuba diving career was the best. Not only did it
provide an invaluable foundation to build the rest
of my Professional diving career around but it was
also my first experience of living outside my country
and getting to know people from all around the world.
Next Step - The PADI Instructor Development Course
to become an Instructor so I could take the next
step on the PADI Pro ladder, and the next natural
progression in my professional scuba diving career.
I wanted to learnhow to teach people to dive! From
a water work perspective, a PADI Divemaster can
only guide certified diver around a dive site, or
conduct a scuba review to refresh their skills and
knowledge. They are not qualified to teach yet.
With the experience I had gained over the previous
year and a half, I think I'm ready for it.
Instructor Development Course (IDC) is scheduled
over 14 days. I still remember how nervous and stressed
I was at the beginning when sitting in the classroom
on the first day. The course was a challenge, and
sitting in a classroom, studying for dive theory
exams was definitely not "my cup of tea".
However, when it came to the waterwork; the confined
water presentations in the swimming pool and the
open water teaching presentation in the ocean, I
I think some
of that was because I have 'done it' for some time..!!
in the Divemaster team involved conducting scuba
reviews and giving dive briefing for certified divers
certainly made me feel a lot more at ease with the
during the IDC.
And of course,
having a team of super experienced Platinum Course
Directors, who all did a great job, made things
straightforward part of the whole Instructor Development
process! I passed my Instructor Exam, with flying
colours with my best scores of the entire 2 weeks.
so great! You will feel like you are at the top
of the world – I'm PADI Instructor! Ha!
It Further - PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer
So now, I
have got my PADI OWSI status, my next step is to
become a Specialty Instructor and gain enough experience
to become a PADI
Master Scuba Diver Trainer. To apply for the
MSDT, I have to certify at least 25 students as
well as have at least 5 Specialty Instructor ratings.
I have chosen
my all-time favorite specialties– Deep, Wreck,
Nitrox, O2 provider and Underwater Navigation. Our
Course Directors conducted each Instructor Specialty
course. You are required to present a knowledge
development presentation, understand the standards
and procedures specific to each Specialty, and participate
in the specific training dives where the Course
Director will show you the correct techniques and
give some tips to teach the specialty course.
specialty is my favorite! I remember we dived at
Chumphon Pinnacle, got to 40m and got narked whilst
doing the narcosis test. It was lots of fun!
complete the specialty training you will have already
received your teaching status. You are now ready
to start team teaching! The whole team teaching
idea is fantastic and has huge benefits. It gave
me the opportunity to learn from Crystal's most
experienced Instructors, whilst picking up the PADI
certifications I needed to apply for PADI MSDT rating.
the Operations Manager, Neil Davidson, will schedule
the Instructors who are teaching the courses. He
will help schedule you to team teach with the most
experienced instructors so you learn from them and
get valuable tips, suggestions and advice, as well
as some great teaching techniques.
I have to
certify at least 25 students and then, under supervision
of one of Crystal's Master Instructors have a final
evaluation to ensure I'm ready to start teaching
as an Instructor at Crystal Dive.
To be honest,
I felt quite confident in myself as I'd already
got 18 months previous work experience in the DM
Team. This helps me a lot, especially for in water
control or dealing with student problems. I also
know the dive sites well, and understand the environmental
As A PADI Elite Instructor
And so, that's
the start of my PADI instructor life. What to do
now? Well, I teach people how to dive!
awesome doesn't it?
I meet people
from all around the world, making new, cool friends.
Scuba Diving really doesn't have any boundaries.
I have taught for over a year since now and I'm
still loving my job, and my life. Of course, not
every day is lots of fun in the sun!
We do facing
challenges. As a professional diving instructor,
you will have to be patient to deal with the learning
difficulties and the everyday challenges.
teach Chinese courses but once in a while I will
teach an English course too. In the past year, I
have got 150 PADI certifications under my belt and
PADI gave me a reward - PADI Elite instructor.
So, 18 months
as a PADI Instructor, "Living the Dream"
on a beautiful tropical island, working a job I
love. But what next? I'm thinking to go higher,
keep going up that ladder until I cannot go any
further. My next logical step would be to becomea
PADI IDC Staff Instructor.
So, I decided
to walk back in to that classroom to study. Oh my
god! The Classroom! I don't need reminding how I
felt the first time I sat in the classroom during
the IDC. It's stressful!
Haha! It wasn't the same this time around. I'm sitting
at the back of the classroom watching the candidates.
Now, I feel the tension from the candidates, just
the same as I was feeling a year and a half ago.
I feel relaxed. I have the knowledge and the skills;
of course I do still have to do an exam and staff
presentations to pass my PADI Staff Instructor course.
these have become easy for me now with the real
life teaching experience I possess.
During the PADI Staff Instructor course, I learn
how to evaluate the IDC candidate's presentations,
critique and offer feedback. It's fun because you
will listen so hard to their presentation and try
to catch what they have missed. Whenever I catch
a missed point, I'm like "Ha! I catch ya! (with
a grin on my face)".
I love the
evaluation part! I enjoyed passing on my knowledge
and experience to help improve the IDC candidate's
presentations and improving their abilities as they
work towards their dream of becoming PADI Instructors.
To me, the entire PADI Staff Instructor course is
fun and relaxing. You will be proud of yourself
at the end of the IDC because you are part of the
team, that trains the candidates to be Instructors.
You see them go through the 'tough'; period. You
support them, advise and guide them.
but not least, a big thank you to Crystal Dive's
Course Director team; Matt, Suki, Bob and Dex for
their guidance throughout all my Instructor level
PADI Staff Instructor! What's next? Will I go up
to Master Instructor? God knows....
I'm just going to grab a cold Leo and enjoy the
sunset at the bar. Until then..??
Author: Nicole Yong (PADI Staff
been a PADI professional and dive industry employee
for 3 years, gaining a wide range of experience,
first as a PADI Divemaster and during the past 18
months teaching all levels of PADI courses in both
English & Chinese. Prior to "Living the
Dream" on Koh Tao, Nicole was an Event coordinator,
working for a Kuala Lumpur Event company.