May 21, 2007

You can't teach an old dog...

I've been with my current employer coming up to 14 years in July, wow how the time has flown. In that time I have experienced many highs (and many lows), I've driven a pursuit car around a race track, been trained in pursuit management and obtained a licence to drive a police vehicle; fired handguns at the range; been a passenger in a twin engined plane flying over the city at dawn; sailed in a rescue boat with the marine unit on Lake Ontario; participated in the Mounted Unit's training by posing as a placard waving protester in a crowd - facing charging horses; worked with police dog services as they took down "bad guy" coppers wearing bite-suits; taken courses in everything from basic first aid to CBRN anti-terrorism; been on ride-alongs dressed in a bullet proof vest, in areas of the city where it simply isn't safe for a middle class white woman to walk after dark; worked as an acting supervisor and had access to areas and information that many people never get to see (or would want to see). I've received documentations, certifications, recommendations, citations and awards...

...but in all that time however I have shied away from one particular aspect of my job...training. For some "teaching" comes easily. I never felt I had the patience to train. I am too much of a perfectionist, impatient, nit-picking...I have no (zero, nada, zilch) tolerance for fools. I tried it once, close to 10 years ago...and I swore I would never do it again. With each new training class that came aboard I was asked if I would take a trainee...and each time I declined.

Until now.

My new trainee is a young man...late 20's to early 30's I'd guess, the standard "how old are you?" hasn't come up in conversation yet. He has gone through the standard 5 weeks of classroom training, and now has an additional 5 weeks with yours truly at his side, leading the way. We are currently on day 4...and either I have mellowed with age over the years, or perhaps this training lark isn't so bad after all, (Or perhaps I have just been blessed with a wonderfully talented trainee who is trying his darnedest), but I have yet to loose my temper, rip the keyboard from his shaking hands or drive home with a raging migraine. I'm trying to teach him the things that they can't teach in a classroom...how to read between the lines, how to listen to tone and hear what "isn't" being said, what questions to ask...and when...and how to use "life experience" to guide reactions and responses. Some of these things just can't be taught...you either "have it" or you don't. We had 6 trainees join us on platoon from the last training class in the winter...3 didn't make it through the 5 weeks with a trainer. From this last class we have received 5 trainees...already 1 of them could possibly be leaving us after only 4 days - thankfully (call me Mother Hen) it's not my trainee who is flunking.

By week 5 I may be ready to pull my hair out and deleting this post in disgust...but for now it's not that bad, not bad at all.

4 comments:

Josh Houghtelin said...

You can't just keep all that great information to yourself all the time now can you? ^_^

When it comes down to my line of work. US Government Elections & the technology involved, I always end up training. I actually love it. I started training when I realized I knew more about the entire election process and equipment involved then most of the trainers did. By now I've trained thousands of individuals all across Kansas, Missouri & Iowa on how to operate & administrate election equipment.

I appreciate the feeling of accomplishment I get after the individual(s) I'm training get that light bulb above their head and realize that they now know what I came to teach them. I have a lot of fun with training whether it's one on one or a class of sixty people. I use a lot of jokes to make the process seem super simple even if we are learning complicated tasks.

*note* When it comes to people who play incompetent, I shut them down fairly quickly by incorporating other people. If they say they don't understand something after I explain it to them a few times and/or give them specific written instructions I will ask someone else the question they asked me. Usually the people who play stupid are just being haters because they think something should be done differently so they ignore the correct procedure. At least that's how it is in my line of work.

Best of luck with your new trainee = )

moon said...

I'm so glad u are enjoying it this time around..who knows with all the experience u have aquired over the yrs, it could be why u find it better this time or because u have a good pupil never hurts lol. Atleast u won't cringe in horror next time someone asks u to do it (lets hope) I think any trainee lucky enough to get u can really learn so much...having your know how and experience...makes your world a safer place. We all need more U's out there lol. Good work Gf...and even though my community doesn't benefit the hard work u do, my country does, so THANK YOU FOR THE GREAT JOB U DO...I think we all benefit and we forget to show our appreciation, take it for granted all too often. THANK YOU!!

JustSue said...

Well we survived week 1 - I finished writing my evaluation and so far things are looking good. Now it's time for a few days off before we start afternoon shift next week.

Jennyta said...

Welcome to the teaching profession, Sue! :)