Professional Development Plan

I’ve been giving this post some real thought. Where do I go from here? I will be done my Provincial Instructor Diploma Program after this course (and capstone project) and I really want to put it to good use.


I have a 5-year plan with Sail Nelson where I would like the business and my teaching to go. My one to two year plan is to re-certify my Intermediate Cruising Instructor certification (Spring 2019) and to complete a Coastal Navigation course to offer to my students (Fall 2019). In order to do this I will have to travel to the Coast to complete a team-teaching course and then send in a request to Sail Canada noting why it would be beneficial for me to offer navigation courses in Nelson. My longer term goal is to set up a sailing club or co-op for students who have completed courses through Sail Nelson (or other recognized sailing schools) where they can take out boats for day sailing.

As part of my Sail Nelson business, I plan to create more piktocharts and branded information for my students that I can offer free on my website. I also plan to go through my course curriculum and more clearly define my objectives and try to update my course delivery methods to make them a little more interesting. I will purchase a tablet that can be used on the boat for diagrams and teaching materials.

On a non-sailing note, I plan to take more business driven courses to continue to learn about how to run a business. I hope to find a mentor I can work with within the sailing business community.  I also plan to take more advanced first aid training as I feel that my basic first aid courses are inadequate.

The PIDP has provided me with some solid insights into which direction I want to take my business and how to go about accomplishing that through my teaching. I still have a lot of questions and a lot of growing to do, but at least now I have a better idea of where to look and how to make them a reality.

Captain Penny

Professional Development Steps

  1. Assess current course demand & note any new courses for next year.
  2. Update course lesson plans & create updated online templates and handouts.
  3. Prepare for Intermediate Instructor Re-cert.
  4. Update Navigation lesson plans and curriculum.
  5. Marketing plan changes for 2019.
  6. Register for advanced first aid course early 2019.
  7. Community Futures business course calendar.
  8. Continue to meet monthly with business coach.
  9. Find a mentor.

Brookfield – Chapter 6

This topic has become near and dear to me as I finish up the Provincial Instructor Diploma Program. Lecturing Creatively takes work! It is not ok anymore to just stand in the front of a class and talk and talk and talk. Students expect more from us, and quite frankly that gets boring very quickly!

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With the availability of educational media it is easier than ever for us to create new and exciting ways to deliver our course content. However, one thing I have noticed is that you can spend a lot of time on media that may not really enhance your classroom at the end of the day. It is very easy to get sucked into the “latest and greatest” only to realize you just 3 hours putting together 1 diagram for a small part of your course.


This has been the biggest learning curve for me which is to manage my time effectively. It is easy to fall into old habits and to default to a lecture. It takes great creativity to come up with new and exciting ways to deliver this content to your students. I especially find it challenging to come up with new and exciting ways to teach on the boat as it is a very dynamic environment where I have to think on my feet. The weather really determines which order I teach things in so I can never assume that I will teach X at 1300 hours!

At this point I am exploring the idea of having a tablet on the boat preloaded with lesson plans and diagrams that I can pull up as needed to show things instead of drawing on the whiteboard all the time. This will also take a bit of time to set up, but once it is in the tablet I will have easy access to it!

Program Evaluations

This week’s blog post is about program evaluations.  As a Sail Canada instructor and a Sail Canada affiliate boating school, there are policies and procedures that I need to make sure I implement and follow. All of the courses that offer a Sail Canada certification have specific curriculum and guidelines on what must be taught and what level of abilities my students should have upon completion of their course.

I take great pride in offering Sail Canada courses and I try to help develop and improve the curriculum for our courses as I can. For instance, I recently participated in a team teaching course where we created a new course and curriculum (Spinnaker Standard) for Sail Canada. It was great fun and it also made us all really think about the goals of the program and how to convey that to our students.

As a Sail Canada instructor I must maintain a certain level of first aid accreditation as well as participate in annual continuing education courses. It is up to us to grow our teaching repertoire.  I have to provide copies of my certificates each year which are posted to my instructor profile with Sail Canada. I think this is an important step because it is very easy to just fall into old habits and not take your teaching to the next level.

There are some shortcoming with the sailing school model in my opinion as I do not believe there is enough oversight or quality control of schools or instructors. I have heard many stories from students who have taken a course that was advertised as one thing, but they did not end up with the product they thought. This is not unique to Sail Canada and I find it frustrating as it damages the industry as a whole. I have even had students complain that their instructor was unprofessional, uneducated in all things sailing, and in one instance, completely drunk the entire course. That is just bad form and bad for the rest of us trying to offer a professional experience.

I believe that program evaluation is an ongoing process and something that helps us improve our programs. It forces us to constantly review what we are offering, how and if we can make it better. I have definitely discovered the benefit of feedback from my peers and my students to help me make sure that I am on the right track and that I can make Sail Nelson a successful little sailing school.