Didi has just completed her IDC and begins work with a new dive centre in a new location. After completing an orientation period in which she is introduced to the logistics and procedures in the dive centre and having shadowed her new colleges on the local dive site, she is asked to take a PADI Open Water Course with six students.

Although she feels ready to teach she explains to her dive operations manager, Ralf that this is too many students for her to start her career with and she feels nervous about her ability to supervise the group effectively and would prefer to team-teach this course with another Instructor or have a Divemaster present to assist her.

Ralf informs her that he is assigning her this group as they are short staffed and that eight is the maximum student number for the course. He ensures her she’ll be fine with six and he’ll be around to help in any way he can during the course.

Is this a good idea and is there anything within PADI standards to help Didi defend her request?

"Although Ralf’s intentions are good and he wants Didi to do well he has to listen to her concerns. The PADI Code Of Practice contains guidelines for Instructors and their conduct – point 3 states that every Instructor should perform a personal readiness check including stating that new Instructors should make appropriately conservative judgment calls.

The section Instructor Judgement also supports Didi – it states that ‘you’ must apply sound judgment in determining what is appropriate for training each time you conduct a course or program based of your abilities and limitations and reduce the ratios accordingly.

As part of Didi’s risk assessment, she is correct in raising her concerns about taking such a large group in a relatively new environment as her first autonomous teaching experience."

Gaz Lyden.