Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Nervous Father

My son just wrapped up the second day of an examination for his Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA) teaching certification. There are three levels of certification, and at age 16, he is eligible this year to take his Level 1 exam. I've been teaching for 9 years and I'm certified at Level 2. But, if either of us ever makes Level 3, it's very likely to be my son rather than me. He's a better skier than I'll probably ever be, and he just needs more teaching experience to become a very good instructor.

Right this minute, I'm just hoping he did OK on this exam, so he'll be encouraged to continue with this process.

When I took my Level 1 exam, there were two groups taking the exam. Because my supervisor was the examiner for 1 group, I had to be in the other group to remove any potential for bias. My supervisor warned me that my examiner was "old school" - someone who didn't think that a Level 1 certification should be automatic. I was also warned that the examiner could be somewhat intimidating. I passed that exam, and I've had that same examiner in every exam I've ever taken. For the level 2 exams, you have multiple examiners and multiple exam segments, but one guy has always been part of the process for me. I've learned to respect his honesty and fairness, but I've also seen him intimidate people in exams.

Yesterday morning, my son sent me a text from the mountain. His examiner was the very same person I've had for my Level 1 exam. I sent my son a note, telling him that I thought his instructor was "tough but fair". I'm guessing he did fine, but the results won't be announced for an hour or so. In the interim, I'm sitting here working and hoping and worrying, at least a little bit.

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