Did it get better for you post-CFI?

flyinguitar

Well-Known Member
I'm coming up on my 1 year anniversary of starting work as a CFI. I've wanted to fly since I was 6, and after a few stabs at other careers, I'm proud that I now work as a professional pilot.

However, I never got into flying to teach. While I was getting my ratings I looked forward to teaching, and imagined that I would enjoy it. The reality has been that I find it tremendously frustrating. I've had a few students that have been successful, and who have been rewarding for me to watch grow and eventually get the certificate/rating they were working on. The majority, however, bring nowhere near the motivation, dedication, or talent that I myself brought as a student, or that I believe a student of flying should bring. I have become extremely tired of teaching these students day in and day out.

This has been disappointing, because I wasn't expecting instructing to be this frustrating. I tell myself that once I move on to the next step (I think I'm really close!!!), actually flying myself (and not teaching) will be a much better fit for my personality.

The problem is this: I have found that, with many things in life, one can look with hope from a frustrating situation to the future - only to be ambushed by a whole new set of difficulties once one does find themself in a new situation. I.e, "the grass is always greener."

Which leads me to my question: has anyone found instruction to be particularly frustrating, and when they made it to the next step (regional, freight, charter) they actually felt a significant improvement in their job?

I hope so! I could use a little inspiration! :)
 

awacs94

Well-Known Member
In your same shoes... Don't really have any advice but its frustrating going to work for the first flight with "that student." I know point A to point B and a crew environment is my goal however right now looks like were going to have to keep instructing for a while. What is more frustrating is that the instructor is held liable for actions that a student takes while he/she is not present. I don't think I'll ever agree with that one.
 

Van_Hoolio

Well-Known Member
I too found teaching frustrating, and I found myself really burned out at the end. I CFI'd for about a year or about 700 dual given. In comparison, I really love my job as a regional FO. There are some aspects of my current job that I don't like, but they are completely unrelated to flying.

The next step, whatever that may be, will definitely be worth it. If it makes you feel any better, every once in a while there will be a Cessna holding short while I'm landing and I'll think to myself, "Shoot, I wish I could be in that for a spin around the pattern." I really do miss GA flying. I wish I could afford to be checked out on something locally and get to fly for fun every once in a while. Enjoy GA while you can!

Mike
 

Boris Badenov

Just running in to a burning house...
It had its up times and down times. I'm glad I'm not doing it anymore. Here's to you for at least having the stones to do it and stick with it. You'll be glad you did later. To answer your question: It got better post-cfi, although, like all things in life, not quite how I expected it to. You might consider that a year is about the outside of the attention span of the average pilot. I'm coming up on 9 months of the job I wet the bed dreaming of ten years ago, and I'm "sick of it" and want to move on to being a space shuttle captain with 30 year seniority so I can buy my flying car full of strippers. Thing is, if I were consigned to this job for the rest of my life, I wouldn't want to cut vertically along the veins. If you're pulling down a paycheck and can still buy beer, count yourself lucky. There are much worse things to be doing.
 

Polar742

All the responsibility none of the authority
In advance, I apologize for the scatter-brained approach to this. I'm like on my 4th or 5th cup of coffee...trying to readjust to Zulu-4 from Z+9!!

When I read posts like the OP's, it always gives me pause to look back, see what I did right, wrong and how I can apply things I learned now.

When looking back through my career, I've found a couple things. First, things weren't as bad as I thought at the time. I found that most of my frustrations were due to issues I had that were unrealted to what I felt was causing my frustration at the time. Mosty it had to do with me and my experience level at that time.

You ever notice how the best instructors and teachers seem to "have been there and done that?"

Me too. I've been very lucky and had some wonderful instructors and mentors through out my career. I've also had some that were marginally more experienced than myself. Take nothing away, they did the aboslute best they could with the tools they had.

Look at your situation. You're a new CFI, teaching skills you are still mastering (honestly, can't we all say we're still mastering those skills?). If you're like I was at that point in time, you have one way to skin that cat, or if you've had outstanding instructors, maybe two. It's always very frustrating when you can't get your point across, or is it the student doesn't get it?

As you think back to what made the great instructors great, what exactly was it? Most likely they were able to communicate in a laid back manner, got their points across seemingly effortlessly, and were most chill when you boned one up. How did they get there? Years of doing it. They have seen alot of it, and have worked on their craft.

I guess the point I'm rambling towards is this: how can YOU improve your techniques as an instructor?

Naturally, just dicussing issues you might be having with someone else can perhaps give you some insight on how to get your point across using an angle maybe you haven't thought of.

How about how you find out what the student is doing incorrectly? I've had my butt handed to me by more than airplane on more than one occasion in a training environment. For me, I know I'm screwing up. That's not the issue. How do I fix it? I've had instructors give me the "You're 10kts fast and 100 ft high" speech alot. Other instructors might give me a hint, "Hey, yeah, I noticed you had the power set a little high when you bumped up the power in the turn". I'm sure you've had similar experiences.

I absolutely know how frustrating it can be flying with others that are unprepared. However, learning to make the best of your lot now will definately improve how you navigate through this series of jobs that turns out to be a career. Throughout all your various jobs, you will fly with indviduals of all intelligence, performance levels and motivations.

Obtaining techniques to cope with this, and improving your student's knowledge levels and motivations are a great part of the CFI experience, and help you through out the remainder of your career.

Challenge yourself to expand your experiences and your teaching tool box. If you look at CFIing as solely a means to build Total Time, instead of building experience, you're missing out on a great opportunity

I hope this highly-caffinated rambling has, at any level, helped you.
 

wrxpilot

New Member
Which leads me to my question: has anyone found instruction to be particularly frustrating, and when they made it to the next step (regional, freight, charter) they actually felt a significant improvement in their job?

I hope so! I could use a little inspiration! :)
There definitely were some times where I was frustrated when teaching full time. But to be honest, they were few and far between... You have have to get over the fact that most people are not going to devote as much time/attention to flying as you, myself, or most of the people on this website. Most students are just doing this for fun, and you have to remember that. One thing that can help is to diversify your students. For example, have a good mix of primary, instrument, and comm. Have some different aged students, and a mix of career oriented vs. weekend warrior types.

I fly charter now, and I really enjoy the new challenges and all of the flying I get to do. But it has its own frustrations at times too. With instructing, I was able to set my own schedule and never came in before 9 am :D! I also had lunch with my friends everyday, and had a lot of fun hanging out with my CFI friends at the airport. I still enjoy instructing, and have hung onto a couple of students that I liked. With charter, I frequently get up at 4 am, I sometimes fly to places I don't like, and hanging out in most FBOs all day is boring. But there are ways of making that fun too (heading out in the crew car, etc.).

I guess my point is that to me, both job paths have their advantages/disadvantages.
 

nosehair

Well-Known Member
The majority, however, bring nowhere near the motivation, dedication, or talent that I myself brought as a student, or that I believe a student of flying should bring. I have become extremely tired of teaching these students day in and day out.
...aahhh, I remember my frustrations in those early days...

I was extremely disaapointed to find that not everyone LOVES, no..LORVES FLYING. I was addicted to it. (I still am, but have it under control, now, forty someting years later) Anyway...

The problem is this: I have found that, with many things in life, one can look with hope from a frustrating situation to the future - only to be ambushed by a whole new set of difficulties once one does find themself in a new situation. I.e, "the grass is always greener."
[/quote]
You have opened the door to truth.

The job of "Flight Instructing" is about learning how to operate with others. As Captain, you will have many FO's, (students) who do not bring your enthusiasim and self-discipline to the job. It is the same boat - different crew.

You can build a thousand hours of hating your life, and show up to that FO job and lose it because you find you also hate the Capt., or the XX, or the YY, etc. What's the point? You hate everyone ya work with...

I can't tell you how to do it, but your job is to find content in your present situation...
 

greaper007

Well-Known Member
What kind of students are you teaching? Are you at a local FBO or academy? Are their goals recreational or professional?

A lot of people dismiss the academies, but I think professional students that are paying their own way bring more to the table than a 3 times a monther student pilot. Maybe a change of location would help your attitude.

For what it's worth I didn't hate instructing. I just hated making less than a thousand dollars a month and having to get students.
 

kellwolf

Piece of Trash
What kind of students are you teaching? Are you at a local FBO or academy? Are their goals recreational or professional?

A lot of people dismiss the academies, but I think professional students that are paying their own way bring more to the table than a 3 times a monther student pilot. Maybe a change of location would help your attitude.

For what it's worth I didn't hate instructing. I just hated making less than a thousand dollars a month and having to get students.
Even at the academies you're gonna have different levels of students. Yeah, you'll have the guys that are dedicated to learning because they paid all this money. You'll also have the students that think they're OWED their ratings b/c they paid all this money. It's still going to go both ways.

Also, don't think that once you're done instructing you're done teaching. I flew with an FO last week that reminded me a LOT of some of my students. Luckily, it was the good ones. He didn't have much time in the airplane, but he knew he needed some work. So, he approached the trip with a "teach me" attitude. By the end of the trip, we had several of his issues not just fixed, but almost perfected. His landings were 10 times better than the were when we started just from me tweaking some small issues and things he didn't realize he was doing.
 

jtrain609

Uniting the black vote.
I've had a few jobs since I started flying professionally about 2.5 years ago. I flight instructed for a while, then worked as a training captain at a part 135 company, and now I'm an FO on an RJ.

To be frank, I miss teaching. I never thought I'd enjoy teaching, and instead looked at it as, "something I had to do." Once I started doing it, though, and once I started doing it at a higher level while teaching at an air carrier I found that I really enjoyed it. Once I got to the point of teaching at the 135 company I found I was less of a flight instructor and more of a coach if you will, and it was a lot of fun being able to take cats from having never flown in the part 135 environment, or in the airplane we were flying, and sending them off to their PC and watching them fly out on the line.

I miss it a lot, and I hope I have the opportunity to do that kind of teaching again one day. It's nice to get out there and operate the airplane, but I miss teaching a lot.
 

BajtheJino

I'm looking at you.
I hated instructing-but I nonetheless showed up everyday with a smile and gave my students my all. When I found something better I got the hell out and have never regretted it. Being a flight instructor in not flying-to me that is. I didn't get to fly until I was given a plane, a mission and told to complete it. I have enjoyed every minute of my work day ever since-even though I like to complain every once and a while.
 

desertdog71

Girthy Member
Post CFI= Half the pay and twice the expense.

This is why I went back to instructing, my situation may be different and like yourself I didn't go through all the training to be a CFI. I am back doing just that though, and I am happy doing it.

Sure it's frustrating, but it's also very rewarding to see people develop and achieve their goals. It's also a heck of a lot more fun, because honestly I still like the yoke in my hands and being able to do what I want to do is reward in itself.

Flying back from far eastern Arkansas yesterday at 10,500 weaving through build ups with my commercial student was very enjoyable on many levels. Seeing his expression, and watching him take it all in was great. Teaching him about towering cumulus and which sides have the smoother air, and watching him make those decisions on his own was rewarding as well. So I guess its all a matter of perspective, but for me, I enjoy the teaching still. I enjoy it even more now that I have more experience and more to share with my students.
 

SierraPilot123

Well-Known Member
Which leads me to my question: has anyone found instruction to be particularly frustrating, and when they made it to the next step (regional, freight, charter) they actually felt a significant improvement in their job?

I hope so! I could use a little inspiration! :)

Yes, don't worry it gets much better once you hit the regionals and get to fly again. You have to go through a little pain for some gain. I taught international students who had never driven a car all the way through their commercial multi instrument. Of course it is tough, but nothing you can't do with time and your CFI skills. Just keep a positive outlook and your eyes on the prize.
 

Fly_Unity

Well-Known Member
Instructing can get frustrating at times, however every time I dont have any students I miss it. Flying Charters or corporate now, I get passengers that literally hate flying and I guess it makes flying with students who love flying seem more worthwhile.

Also I think if the instructor loses motivation, so does the student. I seen when students here at the FBO change to a motivated instructor, they get completely motivated themselves and renew their hope. Which helps all the way round.
 

USMCmech

Well-Known Member
I really enjoyed teaching most students.

I HATED working for flight schools.

Since I started flying freight I really like it. Much easier, show up, load, fly to point B, unload, repeat.

Also now having the flexibility to frelance CFI on my own terms is MUCH more fun. I charge what I belive I'm worth (40/hr). Iroinicly that is actually less than the school was charging, but since I pocket 100% i'm happy.

The ability to pick and choose my students is also really nice. I will never take another forigen student, I just don't need the agrivation. Also I can tailor my instruction to the needs of the studnet, not what the school wants.
 

LoadMasterC141

Well-Known Member
I just passed the first 100 hours of dual given so this may be a bit glossy, but....

I LOVE IT!

Honestly think I could do this for some time. I have plenty of students with motivational issues, or at least a lot les than I think is necessary. I hold their feet to the fire and look at it as a challenge to "force" as much effort as I can out of them. The motivated students are more like a relaxing break.

I have learned more in these last 100 hours than any hour of flight or ground before them.
 

Italianaviator

Well-Known Member
Yeah I'm right there with you, I have about 200 dual given and loved it but was also getting frustrated at times, but now that I have gotten a taste of the real world doing an internship with a Fortune 200 Company, I would gladdly give up instructing for this. The airplanes are kept top notched and fully stocked, always. After every flight the planes are wiped down and washed regularly, the pay is great and the atmopshere is so much more professional. Although I still have one more year of college and will most likely instruct for another year, I am sure that instructing for a while more will be completely worth it if I will someday be able to work for a company like this.
 

jtrain609

Uniting the black vote.
I just passed the first 100 hours of dual given so this may be a bit glossy, but....

I LOVE IT!

Honestly think I could do this for some time. I have plenty of students with motivational issues, or at least a lot les than I think is necessary. I hold their feet to the fire and look at it as a challenge to "force" as much effort as I can out of them. The motivated students are more like a relaxing break.

I have learned more in these last 100 hours than any hour of flight or ground before them.
Others have said it before you, and others will say it after you, but invariably somebody will always say, "What more can I learn watching somebody else fly the airplane around the pattern for the next couple hundred hours!?"

Glad you're enjoying instructing, I miss a lot of things about it!
 

Nick

Well-Known Member
In some ways yes, in some ways no

I went from $4000 a month and free housing to $1200 a month.

Where I was instructing I could create my own schedule and work as much or as little as I wanted. If I were to create the schedule to match first year regional pay I would have only had to work eight 10-hour days per month. So, RJ first year pay with 11-12 days off most of the time paid the same as flight instructing would have with 22 days off. However, after first year pay at the airline the pay is closer to the CFI wage, still not there though, and no free housing or walking to work either. But the travel benefits, health insurance, and other things are all there and that is where the advantages start to top the CFI job.

I never thought I would say this but after the last few trips it is now true: I enjoyed flying with most of my students from China better than 70% of the captains I fly with. The good students were more pleasant to be in the cockpit with and at least had excuses for inane decisions, and the captain I'm flying with this week acts like a child. But that is another topic entirely.

Move on to the next step when you feel like it. If you don't feel like it anytime soon, that is probably not going to hold you back since things have slowed down industry-wide.
 
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