Building Great Instructors – OET Program

Each season, at the beginning of December the Outdoor Emergency Transportation (OET) Program gathers OET staff members from across the Eastern Division for a weekend focused on leadership and professional development. This year’s conference was aptly named, Building Great Instructors. So, what makes an instructor great? The International Olympic Committee summarized it well.

What makes an instructor great?
1. Understands the sport and leads by example.
2. Sponge for knowledge.
3. Shares the knowledge with others.
4. Highly energized and a motivator.
5. Knows the student, values, and respects the relationship.
6. Is an effective communicator and teacher.
7. Is a good listener.
8. Is disciplined, strong in character and integrity.
9. Leads by example very high attitude for hard work.
10. Displays commitment and clear passion for the sport.

The OET program’s mission is to create an environment of learning that elevates the skills, ability, and techniques needed to safely and efficiently transport guests to a higher level of care. Delivering on this mission begins with building great instructors, and leaders, within the OET program.

The Learning Connection
During this year’s conference, OET leaders were introduced to the Learning Connection model developed by the Professional Ski Instructor Association (PSIA). The Learning Connection emphasizes that great lessons rely on the instructor’s ability to offer a blend of people skills, teaching skills, and technical skills. This approach creates informative, fun, and personalized experiences that keep students engaged in the learning process. To learn more about the Learning Connection, check out this write-up by PSIA.

OET Teaching Philosophy uses FIVE Essential components:
●  Lesson Progressions that chain together “snippets” to facilitate incremental success as a pathway for mastering skills.
●  Snippet-sized lessons with manageable objectives are designed to simplify guided practice, leading to quicker student success.
●  Ongoing Monitoring and Evaluation to re-teach skills, customizing faster student success, known as ADAPT.
●  Six-Pack Lesson Planning with an emphasis on creatively re-teaching and re-designing student activities, more ADAPT.
●  Individualized Positive Immediate Student Feedback is used throughout all learning activities, practiced as PISE.
●  Teach OET Instructors how to structure on-snow lesson activities.

To learn more about PISE and ADAPT, check out this Toboggan Instructor Refresher summary.

Bringing It Home – Building Great Instructors
An essential function of an OET Staff member is to build great instructors in their home region. The learning activities and professional development that Staff members access at the OET Conference help provide them with the tools to bring that knowledge home to their regions, where the Regional OET Advisors can leverage their conference experience into training their Regional Senior Training staff as well as influence training improvements for local mountain Toboggan Instructors. To learn more about the OET Program, visit PatrollerSchool.org.

OET Patroller School Schedule Announced

The 2024 Patroller School schedule and many other training events have been posted on the Eastern Division’s EVENT website.  Please use it to find division-based educational events.  The four programs that actively utilize Patroller School are:

Outdoor Emergency Transportation offers training weekend events

Avalanche Program offers online and weekend courses

Mountain Travel & Rescue offers a variety of online and weekend courses

Patroller Stress Preparedness offers a self-paced online course for individuals

Twenty years ago, the concept of offering high-level training opportunities taught by Division staff Instructors originated with Outdoor Emergency Transportation (OET).  OET was initially known as the “ski and toboggan” program.  It created the first Patroller School at Windham Resort in Southern NY as an opportunity for NSP members patrolling at smaller mountains to train on the big slopes with moguls.  The event became popular and became a socializing weekend, as Patrollers traveled from all around the division to gather for a common training purpose.  Soon, the concept spread to every corner of the Division and today includes Women’s events, snowboard training, telemark skiing, etc.

Avalanche courses follow a high-level curriculum because they deliver certification that some patrollers require as part of their patrolling profession.  The course is quite long, with an online study component and a weekend of two and a half days traveling in avalanche terrain.  Patroller School is an excellent place for members to shop when considering the type of avalanche certification they should invest in.  NSP’s Avalanche Level Once is a little more involved than traditional “Companion Rescue Avalanche” certification because NSP includes a professional group rescue module.

Mountain Travel and Rescue, known as MTR for short, is NSP’s entry-level backcountry travel course.  It covers winter ski camping from the perspective of navigation, sheltering in the mountains, staying warm, nutrition, trip planning, group leadership, organized search and rescue (SAR), etc. Completing the course gives members certification for joining SAR activities nationwide, known as ASTM F-2209 Land Searcher One certificate.  Watch the MTR Events page to see courses added during late autumn and early spring.  This is a great event to attend after the typical ski season concludes.

Eastern Division’s Stress Awareness Team has added a self-paced online course that individuals can sign up to experience.  The team has been working on programs for preparing. Patrollers to better handle stress in both their rescue work as well as from the pressures of daily life.  Developing individual techniques for handling the more challenging aspect of Patrolling has been found to alleviate the effects of stress.  Learn to monitor yourself before, during, and after especially stressful situations.  Learn how to recognize if the effects of stress are leading to an injury.  Learn that you are not alone; there are Patrollers at your resort who can help; learn how to help yourself.

Visit Eastern Division’s EVENT website to look for educational opportunities by Googling PatrollerSchool.ORG