My life as an instructor!
June 4, 2012 | Category: Uncategorized
Hi, My name is Kara. Have you ever thought about being an instructor but were not really sure what to expect? Then here is an insight into a life on the beach:
I got my IKO level 1 in 2009 and have been travelling around, teaching in different parts of the world ever since. There are pros and cons to being an instructor but one of the definite benefits is being able to travel all over the world with your qualification.
In the last few years I have kited and taught in Brazil, Venezuela, the Caribbean, Morocco, Australia and of course Italy! I speak fluent English and French, conversational German, Portuguese and Italian.
The north coast of Brazil is a very special place for me. I have been there 3 times now and have spent about a year in total there. It a pretty cool life there and very chilled; not a great way to make a huge amount of money but I made enough to live and had a good lifestyle spending plenty of time in hammocks! I learnt Portuguese, made some great friends and I kited every day. The wind is great during the season and schools usually let you use their equipment so having a full range of North equipment to play with was great fun… I would get up at around 8 and teach one or 2 two hour sessions on the beach, then normally have some time for myself and would be home by around 6.
Most of the work that I have done, as in Brazil has been freelance. This can be great but also comes with certain risks. In Australia I was earning a really good amount per hour but then if there are no lessons, or as more often happens, no wind, then you end up with a pretty unsteady income. One week you might earn a lot, but the next two not much. It wasn’t a great season when I was in Melbourne, there was a record amount of rain which killed the thermal winds quite a bit. I remedied this frustrating financial state by getting a second job on the weekend evenings running a bar. This was easy to do as I was in Melbourne and there was a lot of work in the city. When applying for jobs instructing, it is always necessary to check whether you will be freelance- paid only for exactly the hours you teach, straight salaried or low salary with commission.
There are lots of different ways that schools pay their instructors so it is important to know what you can expect before you travel anywhere. Some companies will also help you with expenses such as flights if you stay with them for the whole season. Accommodation is also sometimes provided for instructors together in kite houses which can be pretty good fun!
One thing that all you potential instructors should be aware of is insurance. It can be quite tricky to get insurance so you should make sure that you are covered for liabilities etc by the school. If your students do end up getting hurt you should not have to accept any responsibility yourself if you are teaching for someone else. This usually means that you need to have signed a contract for the school in order to be covered by their policy. When I was in the Caribbean I was asked to get my own personal instructor insurance as the school was not covering me. In hindsight I should have said no because if anything had happened I would have been totally responsible. That should not be the case as you are teaching for someone else with their equipment and so on.
There were some other issues there as well, such as the teaching spot being really quite small and there were sharp branches and rocks etc down wind and a wind shadow which sometimes proved quite hazardous. You should always look into schools and make sure you know who you will be working for. Make sure they have good/ safe equipment and will look after you.
To be happy teaching you need to be fairly dedicated and flexible as you never know the hours when the wind will be there. Sometimes in Melbourne I would work until 9 or 10 pm on the wind as the wind came in late, in Brazil it was more like a 9 -5 and here in limone we are on the water by 7am so you never know what will happen
Boring stuff aside, teaching can be hard work as it is fairly physical but tends to be really rewarding! It is always great when you take someone who has never kited before and are able to turn them into a fellow addict! The smile on a face when they make their first water starts, start to ride upwind, turn or even land their first backroll kiteloops is great If you are teaching somewhere where students are around for a few weeks or even come regularly throughout the season you get to see their progress and how happy it can make them. You also are able to progress yourself. It can be frustrating that your work is your hobby and when you want to go riding you normally have to teach but it also gives me more of an opportunity to kite than if I was working in some office job in the UK! I am travelling the world a bit at a time, doing what I love on great beaches and meeting great people along the way, what more could you ask for?!
Of course, I am currently now teaching at Wind Riders in Lake Garda and loving my time here. I am working/ teaching in several languages again, working with a great team in a well organised school and the weather is great! If you fancy a chat come and find us on the beach!!