The most important relationship we formed as children was the teacher-student bond. Think about your elementary school education: You went into a classroom knowing that your teacher was the smartest person there and should be listened to. Your parents told you this and they were never wrong. You had no criteria for evaluation, and except for personality clashes or similar issues our teacher was a revered person while growing up.
We are now out of school, but we are in need of technical, professional or other educational programs to reinforce, enhance or certify our skills. We now also know that there is no Easter bunny, and that not all teachers are the same.
When you step into a classroom, you should be aware of how the person in front of the class got there, and what qualifies him or her to be there to instruct you.
First and foremost, the person in front of any ESA National Training School classroom wants to be there. It was not a whim to become an instructor. There is a structured process by which instructor candidates exhibit a true desire to be there as well as a technical command of the material they are teaching to you. Each instructor begins the journey by taking the Certified Level 1 course and passing the certification exam with a minimum 80 percent.
The candidate must then take a NTS Instructors test. This multi-section, multi-modal test is closed book and tests the candidates’ knowledge in several areas. Essay-type questions are the main mode.
After successfully completing these requirements, the instructor candidate is then required to successfully student-teach two dates under the mentoring of a senior instructor. The senior instructor will offer constructive criticism about the technical presentation, style and strong points of the candidate’s performance. The mentor will then offer some techniques that have been successful for them and other instructors they have worked with.
The last step before becoming a real instructor is the completion of a course in methods of instruction. Examples are the NTS Train the Trainer course (such as the one offered at ESX) or a Department of Justice course in Methods of Instruction.
Most instructors have real world experience in alarm, CCTV and sales. (Now we must include IP, Network and data skills). Most instructors have active years in the field installing, troubleshooting, selling and repairing systems. There is no substitute for actual hands on experience to learn from.
One trait that all NTS instructors share is the desire to teach. It was not easy to get there, and is not easy to stay there.
If you are prone to giving gifts, the best thing you can give your instructor is to pass.
As instructors, we measure our success in direct proportion to yours.
From under the clutter of my desk, this is how I see it…
Joel Kent is a senior NTS Instructor and owner of Windsor, Conn.-based FBN Security Company.