Monday, April 25, 2011

I’m glad I don’t teach the MSF beginning rider course anymore

A Facebook friend and fellow BMW rider – she rides a blue ‘03 K1200GT just like mine – posted that she’s excited about her teenage daughter taking the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s beginning rider class.

The first classroom session is this evening.

As a matter of course, I told her what I used to tell all of my students’ parents or significant others when I taught the course – don’t hang around and be a spectator for the range exercises.

She responded that she’s talking two days off to do just that.

One woman who has had the course chimed in with, “I would have killed Dave had he done that.”

Another instructor offered: ‘The organization I hope to work for as an instructor actually discourages spectators. It tends to put extra pressure on the students.’

Undaunted, the mom replied: “I actually have to show up to sign off on her liability papers. But then I'll be hanging out doing doughnuts in the parking lot, snapping pics...the usual Mom stuff.”

I elaborated with: “I taught the course for 10 years and we always cautioned family members to stay away. Students consistently do worse if they know a family member is watching them. It really needs to be all about the student. If you have to watch, do it from a secluded spot where she isn't aware that you're there.”

To which the mom responded that she has a blog to run and presumably has to be there to document the girl’s experience for the blog.

“So this is all about journalistic endeavor, eh?” asked the other instructor.

Another guy, who obviously has more testosterone than judgment, capped off the discussion with: “I say make it as nerve raking(sic) as possible - if students do worse when spectators are there all the better. The idea is to prep for the real world right? I'm sure she'll do great either way though - its not like she's entirely new to bikes. Just sliding forward a bit on the seat:) True story: I rode a wheelie into a stoppie for the accel/braking test of my license test and still passed with a perfect score. Nowt wrong with a bit of showing off.”

That guy would have lasted about 10 minutes on my range.

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