Instructing frustrations

AngelFuree

Well-Known Member
Hey guys...

...despite only having instructed for a year, I'm getting pretty burnt out from instructing primary (PPL) students. More specifically, I'm getting burnt out from teaching PPL contract students. I never thought I'd reach this point but I can honestly say I really need a break from this type of teaching.

What began as enjoyable has become a nightmare for me teaching. Don't get me wrong, I put forth all of my effort and patience. I don't want to sound like some dramatic pansy CFI. However, when my students or stage check students cannot understand a simple question or command such as, "start preflighting the airplane," we have some issues. (the student responded, "ah no, I don't study preflight." :()

What worries me the most is their inability to communicate effectively while in the airplane. I have a lot more patience on the ground than I do in the air. After all, there is no pause button while being up there. Besides, we're up in the air to learn how to fly, not to be learning a new English word such as "aiming."

Though I'm generalizing by making this statement, it has been my experience that American students don't go through the same troubles as some of these students do.

I'm so sick of them always counting their training hours with no regards to their actual progress. My student finally soloed at 26 hours and completed the first block of training at 41 hours. He decided to switch instructors because he said he had "too many hours."

Most of the ones whom I've spoken to don't quite have the love for aviation. The majority say they're here because flying planes in China is "a really good job."

Anyway, I can go on forever, but thought I might feel better if I heard other stories from other instructors around here.

Outside of the contract training, I've been enjoying this a lot. It's just when I have to explain what words like book, aiming, forecast, that it gets really troublesome. :(

I swear I'm not being dramatic, or maybe I am...who knows...you tell me.:(
 

mrivc211

Well-Known Member
Don't worry dude. Been in your shoes. Yours just paying your dues. Take some time off if need be, but keep pluggin away. You'll get there.
 

splash

your social justice comic center
Sounds like you love aviation but don't quite have the love for teaching. Another caught by the CFI time building pay your dues trap:panic:. By all means keep plugging away. Try to look on the bright side and say, "I taught this guy English words he didn't know and soloed him at 26 hours". That is more than a fair statement. Keep it positive. No, I don't have a CFI. Enjoy it the best you can.
 

TXaviator

Well-Known Member
but hey Angel, if you'd been instructing for nearly a year, you should have MORE than enough hours to start shopping for a different job....
 

CoffeeIcePapers

Well-Hung Member
Instructing foreigners can be difficult. I have been doing it full time for over a year and a half. I would shoot myself if I only did private pilot training, though. Usually, the instrument is much easier to teach, because it is very cut and dry.

Do you have a CFII? If so, teach more instrument!
 

USMCmech

Well-Known Member
Outside of the contract training, I've been enjoying this a lot. It's just when I have to explain what words like book, aiming, forecast, that it gets really troublesome. :(

I swear I'm not being dramatic, or maybe I am...who knows...you tell me.:(

You're not being dramatic.

I have yet to meet any CFI who dosen't get VERY fustrated by teaching foreign students. Heck I get agrivated just hearing them on the radio. I taught Indian students for 4 months and was toast by the end. I will not take another foreign student again, peroid. I simply don't need the agrivation.
 

kellwolf

Piece of Trash
Sounds like you love aviation but don't quite have the love for teaching. Another caught by the CFI time building pay your dues trap:panic:. By all means keep plugging away. Try to look on the bright side and say, "I taught this guy English words he didn't know and soloed him at 26 hours". That is more than a fair statement. Keep it positive. No, I don't have a CFI. Enjoy it the best you can.
I think it's more of a "teaching non-English speakers" than not having a love for teaching. At least, that's what I got out of it. His frustrations stem from the communications issues, not the actual teaching.
 

NotCoolEnufToFly

Well-Known Member
Sounds like you love aviation but don't quite have the love for teaching.
I disagree completely. I'm not even an instructor but I work at a flight school and practically deal with the same frustrations. We have a LARGE international population at this school, however we cater to Indians not Chinese. I'm sure it's much the same though. I don't think it has anything to do with a passion for what you're doing. These students can be just outright frustrating.

Some of the things I deal with:
Their utter disrespect for me. They really have a hard time with a female being in an authority position over them.
The smells... oh god, you can't even imagine how horrible some of the B.O. is. (And try dealing with it while pregnant, I've literally had to run to the bathroom after they left my office a few times in fear that my lunch may make a second appearance)
There are so many cultural differences. They don't understand the concept of waiting their turn. If I'm helping one of them, the others don't patiently wait or come back, instead they but in and all start rambling off what they want at once until I can no longer even hear the person I was originally waiting on.
They break into my office to get their files, which although I've explained to them a million times that they are not actually THEIR files, they belong to the school, they still don't seem to understand.
Things disappear around here at an alarming rate. And I'm not talking about pens and papertowels, I'm talking expensive electrical equipment.
Oh they also think that the instructors and I are willing to put our jobs and the instructors licenses at risk to make their lives a little easier. Seriously, I can't tell you how many times they've asked the instructors to just forge something or lie about hours so they didn't end up owing any more money.
And they messes they leave in the planes and classrooms... OMG. You wouldn't believe me if I told you, and it does absolutely NO good to ask them to throw their trash away.

I honestly could go on and on, and don't even get me started telling specific stories. These aren't problems we typically have from the local students. I don't know if these are the same kind of problems Angel deals with on a daily basis but one thing he mentioned that I definitely see here is that they are just more interested in getting the hours and getting home than actually learning what they are doing. They act like it's a burden to have to come to school and fly. I don't even think some of them like it, it's just a good job when they get back home, and those people are tough to teach.
 

CoffeeIcePapers

Well-Hung Member
I disagree completely. I'm not even an instructor but I work at a flight school and practically deal with the same frustrations. We have a LARGE international population at this school, however we cater to Indians not Chinese. I'm sure it's much the same though. I don't think it has anything to do with a passion for what you're doing. These students can be just outright frustrating.

Some of the things I deal with:
Their utter disrespect for me. They really have a hard time with a female being in an authority position over them.
The smells... oh god, you can't even imagine how horrible some of the B.O. is. (And try dealing with it while pregnant, I've literally had to run to the bathroom after they left my office a few times in fear that my lunch may make a second appearance)
There are so many cultural differences. They don't understand the concept of waiting their turn. If I'm helping one of them, the others don't patiently wait or come back, instead they but in and all start rambling off what they want at once until I can no longer even hear the person I was originally waiting on.
They break into my office to get their files, which although I've explained to them a million times that they are not actually THEIR files, they belong to the school, they still don't seem to understand.
Things disappear around here at an alarming rate. And I'm not talking about pens and papertowels, I'm talking expensive electrical equipment.
Oh they also think that the instructors and I are willing to put our jobs and the instructors licenses at risk to make their lives a little easier. Seriously, I can't tell you how many times they've asked the instructors to just forge something or lie about hours so they didn't end up owing any more money.
And they messes they leave in the planes and classrooms... OMG. You wouldn't believe me if I told you, and it does absolutely NO good to ask them to throw their trash away.

I honestly could go on and on, and don't even get me started telling specific stories. These aren't problems we typically have from the local students. I don't know if these are the same kind of problems Angel deals with on a daily basis but one thing he mentioned that I definitely see here is that they are just more interested in getting the hours and getting home than actually learning what they are doing. They act like it's a burden to have to come to school and fly. I don't even think some of them like it, it's just a good job when they get back home, and those people are tough to teach.

We have all of these problems and more. We just caught a few getting our DGCA stickers printed at Staples to forge their DGCA paperwork.
 

NotCoolEnufToFly

Well-Known Member
We have all of these problems and more. We just caught a few getting our DGCA stickers printed at Staples to forge their DGCA paperwork.
Like I said, I could honestly keep going and going and the stories I could tell, some are so ridiculous even I have to laugh.

There was some mix up not long ago where the students felt like they were being charged for more hours than what they had flown, so I took up their logbooks and checked all the hobbs sheets, matched them all up and accounted for all the hours we had billed. However, during this little project, I learned that they are all logging hours that they aren't flying.

I've found books hidden in all kinds of weird places in our testing facility. I practically have to search it everytime one of them takes a test.

It's really ridiculous.
 

KLB

Well-Known Member
I've bee there man! There is light at the end of the tunnel! The way that I survived the "great foreign student burnout" was by cutting way back on foreign students. I had a workload of about 12 students when I started. Seven or eight of them were full time. By the last 5 months of instructing, I cut back to 3 full time students and 1 or 2 par time students. This allowed me to focus all of my energies on these students and I began to be able to knock out there private training out in a month or so. Being able to see them progress faster did a lot for my morale. It didn't hurt pay any either because I could make just as much money giving one student 2 flight lessons and 2 ground lessons in a day as I could by dealing with four students in a day.

I also started screening students. If I didn't like them, I didn't take them on. I also found some instructing work outside of the flight school by doing 6 month IFR proficiency checks and Biennial flight reviews with people at the airport in their own aircraft. I got to fly some really cool airplanes. For instance, I got all of my multi time in a Cessna Skymaster and a Piper Aztec. I was making as much as 200 bucks a lesson instructing people in their own aircraft.:rawk:

Towards the end, I only had one full time student and one part time student who had his own aircraft. The good thing about this was that I didn't leave anyone hanging when I left. On the last day, they both had their check rides. I literally drove my car packed full of my belongings away from the airport to training for the next job.:)

Hang in there. It will get better.
 

moxiepilot

Well-Known Member
Don't worry dude. Been in your shoes. Yours just paying your dues. Take some time off if need be, but keep pluggin away. You'll get there.
Paying dues? I don't see it that way. Not all teaching has to take a toll. There are ups and downs with everything, but contract training has it's own set of challenges.

Sounds like you love aviation but don't quite have the love for teaching.
While it's already been said, I disagree. It's a frustration with communication issues and lack of desire to do a job well because of passion vs. pay.


Angel - my advice: see if there is anything else around so that you can continue on your journey without having all the headache.
 

wildwezul1

Well-Known Member
I dont mean to hijack your thread, but I am having issues as well and was about to post myself about Instructing. I love doing it, and I get a great feel every time I get a student through their check ride. However, there are the students I have a problem with, or more specifically have a problem with me.

We cant be everything to everyone, sometimes the way you say something can be taken the wrong way or perceived the wrong way by a student. But I try my best to explain procedures and holds and what not the most clear way possible. When I have to explain it 5 times, and the student is still not getting it, sure I start to get a little annoyed. But I explain it again, and always say something like good job on this part, but lets work on this other part. Because I want them to strive for perfection, even if we both know none of us will get it.

In the airplane I have less patience though. Now is the time to get your head on straight, but I will still give you a few "Do overs". But I dont feel like I want a student to do something unsafe, illegal, or get me killed. So I am harder and firmer. Every other time, even in the plane when we are just straight and level and not in the middle of a procedure, I am layed back, joking and casual.

SO I guess what i am saying, is I'm tired, and offended by students who have a problem because they arnt understanding something or dont like a way I am doing something... BUT dont ever tell me about it. So than I have my boss threating my job, because a student who never lets anyone know theres something he doesnt like, or never tells me he needs something else explained differently gets all huffy and says he doesnt want to fly with me anymore.

I have sent 10 students for their checkrides in the year I have been doing this, and 9 passed easily, so I think I am a decent instructor..... I just dont get it.

sorry for ranting and hijacking....
 

Flyboy1313

Well-Known Member
Angel, I believe what happens a lot with the Foreign students they understand English; however, they do not comprehend English. On top of that they try to translate what you say back into their native language and then they have to translate that back to English. Sometimes it feels like you are talking to a two year old because you have to think of the most basic ways to try and describe a situation. Working mostly with Indian students as my first instructing job not only mental wore me out, but also wanted to make me just have some plain English speaking students.

A secondary problem I ran into was a majority of the students just want to be spoon feed. They do not want to learn the material and comprehend it. They want to finish the unit and move onto the next unit. On top of that they could not think outside the box. Everything had to be black and white, and set up exactly as before. For example, not understanding when down tells them to extend their downwind and they will call their base. Doesn't help being at an airport with Parallel runways and a training tower (PDK). It is not a surprise most of them are getting just enough hours to pass their CMEL and move on.

I soloed my first student at 26 hours and all I heard from the fourth flight on was when am I going to solo and he couldn't even fly straight and level or remember what TPA is for the airport.

Oh for the smell, Axe really neutralizes the oder...so while they are doing the preflight...remember to spray down the interior of the aircraft for a nice fresh smell.

Oh and has anybody else gotten the "Yes sir, Yes ma'am" response to when they do something wrong in the airplane? I finally snapped one day and told the "student" just to stop "STOP Yes sir'ing me, and JUST DO IT!" I should have Nike logo or something tattooed on my forehead.

....It finally makes sense why that region has the greatest number of fatal accidents per number of flight hours...rant done
 

Sidious

Well-Known Member
I had my first foreign student today and it was something that I won’t soon forget. The language issue was the biggest problem and it was frustrating to say the least. What everyone else has said above is so true and having to explain basic concepts can get frustrating. I had to ask him every time if he understood and it was time consuming and inefficient.

The one time it got dangerous was when I would tell him to go around and he wouldn't! I told him "When I say go around, we go around right then. Not 2 seconds later; right then." He was a pre solo student and I was tasked to get him ready for his stage check by Friday, I can tell you it ain't gonna happen, he just needs more work.

One thing bothered me though. I try to not touch the controls at all with primary students. I let them feel their mistakes and correct for them with my verbal cueing. However this didn't work today. He just didn't understand what I was saying and wouldn't ask for clarification so I would have to nudge the controls this way and that way after saying it twice with no response. I hate doing that but is this common? It was the only choice because like someone else said above, there is no pause button.
 

NotCoolEnufToFly

Well-Known Member
Oh and has anybody else gotten the "Yes sir, Yes ma'am" response to
OMG, I'm a huge believer in being respectful and saying "yes sir, no ma'am" when needed but our students actually call my bosses Ma'am and Sir like it's their names. Not Sir followed by his actual name, no... just Sir. "When is Sir going to be here today?" "Did you ask Ma'am about such and such?" It kills me. :panic:
 

SlantG

Well-Known Member
Some folks learn best with their kinesthetic system. You say, "go around" and they have to translate that to their language, remember what it means, remember what actions to take, then think through those actions, finally, implement those actions. If you say "go-around" and nudge the controls, the entire translation process is not needed, the sound with the touch communicates directly and like Pavlov's dog, they are able to respond more immediately. With these learners, touch is an essential part of their process, thus don't be afraid or ashamed to touch (know your culture first! In some places, that'll make you married!) as you're refraining from touching will only extend the time it takes to master whatever skill.
 

Dmitri Ivanov

New Member
I am very angry by how foolish some people are!

Let me say a story.

When I come to America, I know no English except very early words. "Hello" "Goodbye" also words for my work. I speak many language all ready so is easy for me to learn. Is very hard to learn if you only speak 1 language! Same with coulture! Is very different America from Russia or India or China! One is not immediate smart in how coulture works in America!

Be patient and it will be reward for you!
 

Sidious

Well-Known Member
Some folks learn best with their kinesthetic system. You say, "go around" and they have to translate that to their language, remember what it means, remember what actions to take, then think through those actions, finally, implement those actions. If you say "go-around" and nudge the controls, the entire translation process is not needed, the sound with the touch communicates directly and like Pavlov's dog, they are able to respond more immediately. With these learners, touch is an essential part of their process, thus don't be afraid or ashamed to touch (know your culture first! In some places, that'll make you married!) as you're refraining from touching will only extend the time it takes to master whatever skill.

Makes sense, thanks for the input. I just remember how I was taught and obviously this is a different situation. Instructors who touch the controls to much to me means they aren’t really in control of the situation and have to be touching to ease their minds. Its frustrating for the student as well because they can't learn. That's why I tried just nudging them not actually taking them. Even on final when I thought we were going to die numerous times...
 
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