Set yourself up for end-of-lesson success early in the day; set goals and make a plan with your students during warmup, and make sure you review your goals at the last run of the day.

explained to one dad how Billy had struggled at first but had stayed with it. Billy learned to put on his own skis, to slide on the flats, to slide on an incline, to stop and turn, and finally had ridden the chairlift. It was an amazing day. The dad had one comment: “Johnny,” he said.

Come again? “My son’s name is Johnny.”

This instructor had worked all day with Billy/Johnny and the other four kids. He used the wrong name at pickup (I’m not sure if he called Billy by the name Johnny all day or not). After a great lesson and a glowing report, the dad heard one thing – that the instructor called his son by the wrong name. It made the dad feel like the instructor had not connected with his son on a personal level. Unfortunate to say the least, and a great example of what not to do. Here are some other examples of the “wrong” thing to say… and what you might

say instead. Q DON’T SAY: “We could have done more, but one kid in the lesson held us back.” If I’m the parent, I want to know why the slower-moving kid didn’t get moved into another group. Or at least what the

68 | 32 DEGREES • SPRING 2019 instructor did to ensure that my child

got challenged. TRY THIS: “We really drilled the funda- mentals and played games on green terrain. Tomorrow he is probably ready to try a blue.”

Q DON’T SAY: “We only took one run in the afternoon because the kids just wanted to color.” All kids like to color. But – heads up – the parent has crayons at home and didn’t

spend $200 for a coloring lesson. TRY THIS: “Wow, Sally loves to color! I let them draw pictures of snowmen for 15 minutes during a cocoa break, and then we came back outside. I folded her draw- ing in her jacket pocket; she can finish it at home!”

Q DON’T SAY: “Your child didn’t listen.” This may be true, but is this the best way to inform parents of a behavior issue? Says Maureen Drummey, “Honesty is important. But you can put some

sugar on it.” TRY THIS: “Your child worked really hard today. One thing we worked on is the importance – for safety – of staying behind me when we’re riding and not shooting ahead.”

Q DON’T SAY: “Your child held up the group.” As a parent, my fears that I shouldn’t

have placed my child in the lesson are confirmed. It was too difficult, and s/he didn’t receive individualized attention

when it was needed. TRY THIS: “She just kept working at it today. She is working on balance and stay- ing upright. For the next lesson I suggest she come in at a Level 2 instead of Level 3. Or, if you think she might benefit from one-on-one instruction, I’d love to teach her in a private lesson.”

Q DON’T SAY: “Does your child have ADD?” It is possible that the child had a short attention span, was super excited for lessons, or didn’t pay attention, but does not have a clinical disorder. Your attempt

to diagnose is insulting. TRY THIS: “We skied all over the moun- tain today. I noticed that sometimes s/ he didn’t pay attention, and sometimes I had better luck if I knelt right in the snow next to her/him while I gave instructions.”

Q DON’T SAY: “Your child’s an awesome skier; he probably doesn’t need more lessons.” It is possible that an inexperienced instructor used up his or her whole bag of tricks with this student. But everyone can benefit from the right instruction; that’s why Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin have coaches.


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