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Instructor Candidacy

Instructor Candidacy

  1. I am interested in becoming an instructor. Where do I begin?
  2. What are the deadlines to become an Instructor Candidate? 
  3. What are the responsibilities of the Instructor Candidate in a certification course?
  4. Do I meet with my mentor in person?
  5. I have been approved as an IC and have my Instructor manual and DVD. How do I prepare?
  6. How do I find a mentor?
  7. Can I have more than one mentor? 
  8. How can I make the most of my candidacy as I work with my mentor(s)?
  9. How do I find a class for my instructor Candidacy?
  10. What are the options if I fail the course? 

1. I am interested in becoming an instructor. Where do I begin? 

Take a few minutes to review the Steps to Become an Instructor. Talk with a local instructor about the process and listen to their suggestions and resources they may offer you. There are additional resources that will assist you in your preparation:

Being an instructor isn’t for everyone. Because it is likely that you have a profession or job that has specific full time responsibilities and training to maintain, the CPS Instructor “hat” can be a challenge. Ask yourself these two questions:  Are you confident about sharing your knowledge and can you manage time effectively and with flexibility?

Are you confident about sharing your knowledge?
Instructors need to know their content area and be confident in sharing it.  The IC should be familiar with the curriculum and be able to respond to questions and or direct them to the appropriate resource. Instructors are leading student learning all day inside and outside the classroom. It is easier to earn the respect of the instructor team and the technician candidates when you are confident in your material.

Can you manage time effectively and with flexibility? Being flexible with time and organizing your preparation is most important. The process of becoming an instructor:

  • Understand the requirements
  • Work at improving your knowledge or technical skills
  • Access your communication and team skills for opportunities to improve 
  • Complete the course assistant requirement
  • Continue to work with mentors
  • complete the certification course successfully

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2. What are the deadlines to be an Instructor Candidate?

A complete application includes paying the application fee of $75. We recommend the fee be paid when the complete application is in hand and ready to be sent to Safe Kids Worldwide. A complete application includes all four testimonials: two confirming adult classroom teaching, one confirming technical skills by a technician or instructor and one confirming technical skill as well as completing the course assistant requirement.

Once the paperwork is complete and they are officially an Instructor Candidate, they have one year to complete their candidacy by successfully teaching a course.  The CPS field is ever changing and as an Instructor you must stay current in your CPS knowledge.

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3. What are the responsibilities of the Instructor Candidate in a certification course?

  • Share knowledge and experience and assist in the development of technician candidates
  • Enhance communication and leadership skills with the instructor team and technician candidates
  • Demonstrate the ability to work as a reliable team member, anticipate what may be needed
  • Ask questions of mentor and teammates to clarify any information or instructions
  • Participate in all pre and post class meetings
  • Discuss with your Mentor the course expectations and norms for the instructor team, including:
    • How hands-on exercises are generally set up
    • What teaching tools are available or typically used
    • If there is a daily meeting for instructors (before or after class) during a certification course
    • Be an active participant by questioning and listening actively
  • Demonstrate initiative (Ask, “What can I do to help?” if not already working on an assigned task or preparing to teach a module)
  • Use constructive feedback offered by your Instructor Mentor to improve your skill set to learn more about the Certification Course .

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4. Do I meet with my mentor in person?

It is recommended that you meet in person, especially for the first few meetings. However, there will be times when online, Skype/FaceTime or phone communication will be more convenient and/ or effective for both of you.

The time commitment will be determined together by you and your mentor as you develop your schedule and timeline. When you work with your mentor, take an active role: Ask questions, share concerns and work to make the most of your time together.

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5. I have been approved as an IC and have my Instructor manual and DVD. How do I prepare?

Work with your Mentor and Lead Instructor to confirm your course participation and develop your technical and communication skills.

MANDATORY

  • Review the entire curriculum: Instructor Guide, Technician Guide, skills and written tests, course handouts and materials.
  • Know your assigned modules front to back. Be prepared to teach or assist with other modules.
  • Review the activities in your modules with your fellow instructors and assisting technicians so everyone is clear about how you want the activities to be set up and run.
  • Keep current with car seat and vehicle technologies and how they interact. Make sure you are familiar with all the demo seats used during the course.
  • Print out and review all quizzes and skills assessments, including the instructions for each activity.
  • Make sure to note testable material in the Instructor Guide, your notes, AND in your copy of the Technician Guide. This is not to “teach to the test” but to ensure that you cover the material the way it is covered in the Technician Guide.
  • Refer to the glossary of technical terminology and review anything unfamiliar with your Instructor Mentor.
  • Be familiar with local and national child passenger safety resources found at Safe Kids Resources  and CPS Board Quick Links. Make sure to visit each website and familiarize yourself with the resources provided.

RECOMMENDED

  • Print or download the slides for the modules you have been assigned to teach
  • Complete the quizzes without referring to the answers. Score each quiz and review any that were missed.
  • Use every opportunity to teach child passenger safety fundamentals before your instructor candidacy. If you are not comfortable speaking in front of a group, practice your assigned modules with your Instructor Mentor(s) as the “class.” Use the PowerPoint presentation, your notes, and any teaching tools suggested in the curriculum.

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6. How do I find a mentor?

Identify an instructor from your certification course or someone that you have worked with in your community and discuss your interest in becoming an Instructor Candidate. You may also get assistance from your   State CPS Training Contact or Find an Instructor.

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7. Can I have more than one mentor?

Safe Kids (Policies and Procedures) encourages two Instructor Mentors, if possible, although only one Mentor is required. In this best practice scenario, one Instructor Mentor would be designated as the primary Instructor Mentor on the course roster but both Instructor Mentors would provide mentoring and feedback, and both would complete the evaluation together.

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8. How can I make the most of my candidacy as I work with my mentor(s)?

Open communication is the key to any good relationship. Throughout the mentoring relationship you should be communicating with your Mentor whether or not you are fulfilling the joint goals set out at the beginning of your partnership and clarify expectations based on your role as an IC. Throughout the mentoring process, you should have conversations about your shared progress in fulfilling the goals set at the beginning of the relationship. If you are in a situation where you would like guidance, please contact other experienced mentors or contact cps.certification@safekids.org for advice and support.  Be familiar with the Instructor Candidate Evaluation.

Once the paperwork is complete and they are officially an Instructor Candidate, they have one year to complete their candidacy by successfully teaching a course.  The CPS field is ever changing and as an Instructor you must stay current in your CPS knowledge.

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9.  How do I find a class for my instructor Candidacy?

As an Instructor candidate, you must be officially listed on an instructor team for the certification course before teaching with a team. Determine which certification course will be designated for your Instructor Candidacy.

  • Contact Lead Instructors in your area (FIND A TECH) and upcoming courses (FIND A COURSE)
  • Ask about locations and dates for upcoming certification courses and if other Instructor  Candidates are already committed for those courses
  • The Lead Instructor, or course administrator, is responsible for including you on an instructor team and assigning your Instructor Mentor. You must already be an approved Instructor Candidate.

Note: As soon as the course date has been registered, review the course profile and confirm you are on the Instructor Team. This is also a good time to confirm the details for the mandatory pre-course instructor meeting(s) and that the Lead Instructor has your current contact information. Meetings may be in person or using video conferencing like Skype.

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10. What are the options if I fail the course? 

  • Learn from your IC evaluation and ask your mentor to clarify anything that is not clear to you; you should be getting daily feedback that includes steps for improvement.
  • ICs have an unlimited number of chances to participate in a certification course as an Instructor Candidate during their candidacy period of one year. If they do not successfully teach a course, their certification status will revert to Certified Technician.
  • If you would like to work with a new team, you are welcome to do so. You should work with their mentor, old and new, to identify areas for improvement and ways to improve their skills.

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