Today was a good day. As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been looking forward to this day for many months. Today, we taught real, live novices! I started the morning session in the classroom as taught Unit 1. It went well, but I wasn’t as energetic as I could have been. We divided the material up between the nine remaining candidates and took turns teaching segments.
We had 15 students in the classroom – eleven full BRC participants and four moped students. The moped students were all 15 and trying to get their moped endorsement while they waited to turn 16 to get their driving license. There was a mix of ages, genders, and riding experience. We even had two students who already had their motorcycle endorsements, but were attending with a friend or spouse.
The four and half hours of classroom went by quickly, and it was my turn again to finish things up. I went over some relevant Minnesota motorcycle laws such as required equipment, required gear, and the licensing procedure. I turned the review into an open floor review session which really worked great. It turned some pretty dry material (reviewing statute) into something fun and engaging. I administered the knowledge test, and everyone passed pretty easily.
After a quick break for lunch, it was time to get out on the range. Because of the longer classroom section required for the moped students (one day instead of two), we only finished through exercise 5 of 17. Normally, we’d finish on number 9. Things went well for the two exercises I had on the range.
I just loved watching the novices learn to ride. It was so great to see them bobbling around in exercise two taking their first shaky steps and riding across the range, and then by exercise five they were actually riding around in second gear negotiating an easy inline weave. I enjoyed watching their faces as they had their “ah-ha” moments when they realized why we stress head/eyes up so much. Tomorrow will be great, as we’ll really hone their basic skills, and give the endorsed riders a real challenge. I’m glad we have such an “experienced” group of novices as our first real class.
A couple of the other candidates had some surprises as the novices were (are) pretty unpredictable. The novices are also a ton more work than the peer-teaching we had been doing as we all know all the bikes and the paths of travel. The novices are seeing everything fresh. It was a very rewarding day to see all the hard work finally paying off.
The schedule was much more open today, so I had some chances to finally take photos. All the candidates are in the bright, hi-viz shirts. :)
After the class, we all went out to dinner to celebrate a very successful first day of teaching!