As an Academy instructor it is not your job to weed people out.
It is not your job to scream and yell at people and create huge amounts of stress at the start of the Academy to see who “has what it takes”.
It is not your job to crush recruits in the early part of the academy with physical exercise to “see who really wants to be there”.
It is your job as a trainer to teach, coach, mentor and develop the people who are in training. It is your job to give them the skills, knowledge, tactics, competence and confidence to be able to do the job they were hired to do.
It is your job to help them develop their critical thinking, decision making and problem solving skills. Your job is to help them understand what a Growth Mindset is and help them develop that mindset. It is your job to teach them stress management skills.
It is not your job to be a disciplinarian. It is your job to help instil discipline in the people you are training.
This is not about coddling people. You need to have high standards and high expectations of the people coming into the Academy. They need to know what those standards are and what the expectations are. If people do not meet the expectations and requirements by the end of training, they do not graduate.
Like any great coach you need to know when to push people and when to back off. You need to understand the individual differences in people so you can help each of them be their best.
It is your job to study the research on learning and seek ways to effectively apply the research to the areas you teach.
My belief is that for the most part we hire good people for this profession. Now, not all of those good people are a good fit for the profession or a good fit for your agency.
We need to stop kidding ourselves however, that somehow we can determine in the first two weeks of an Academy “who has what it takes”, whatever that is. Once you make that determination in your mind you will start treating that person differently. You can argue at the conscious level that you do not treat them differently, but the message will be very clear through your subconscious cues that you do not believe in them.
Let’s focus on our job as trainers. Let’s teach, coach, and mentor. Let’s be good role models for the desired behaviours. Let’s develop the potential talent coming into the profession. Let’s develop competence, confidence, and critical thinking skills.
The Academy should be the first part of a career long professional development process.
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