Oh, I know I am going to get some very unhappy messages, angry posts and mean tweets because of this topic, but I feel it really needs to be said. So, if you didn’t read the title, I will say it again: not everyone should be a firearms instructor.
Teaching at the Beginning
I’m fairly certain that most of us started our official educational journey in kindergarten or something like 4K or pre-K or whatever people call that year of school before first grade. I distinctly remember thinking as a child that being a kindergarten teacher would probably be one of the easiest teaching jobs, as far as subjects are concerned. After all, these little ones don’t really know anything. Kindergarten is the very beginning. And it’s just a lot of basic, easy, common-sense stuff. Right?!?
Kindergarten teachers are in charge of preparing students for school, and they have a lot of responsibility. The information for us, looking back, seems so incredibly simple and easy. But this could be the very first time a child is exposed to things like rules, manners, safety and expectations. The information kindergarten teachers share is essential, fundamental, foundational and necessary for children to be able to be successful as more and more knowledge builds on those all-important lessons. In fact, without a solid base of learning and understanding right out of the gate, learners may develop bad habits or incorrect actions that will certainly affect them negatively later on.
An experienced and well-trained kindergarten teacher is a key factor for predicting how well (or how poorly) an individual will do in school throughout his or her academic career. Good teachers make good students, and poor teachers make poor students. And that first teacher can truly influence a student’s development for years to come. They can also influence whether or not that child enjoys or looks forward to more learning. And no matter what specific topics are covered, a kindergarten teacher’s most important responsibility is to ensure every child leaves school ready for the next level of education.
This is one reason I was more than excited when my first-born child started kindergarten with a teacher who had her master’s degree. Yes, an advanced degree to teach kindergarteners! Why? She realized how important building a foundation can be to produce healthy, happy, productive, safe and well-rounded learners.
Firearms Training at the Beginning
I’m sure many of you already get what I am about to do here, but I am going to follow through with this line of thinking to the end.
When it comes to firearms training, nothing is more important than that first instructor and that first class. Firearms instructors have a lot of responsibility. That first course could be the very first time a gun owner is exposed to things like rules, manners, safety and expectations. The information basic firearms instructors share is essential, fundamental, foundational and necessary for learners to build more knowledge. In fact, without a solid base of learning and understanding right out of the gate, gun owners may develop bad habits or incorrect actions that will certainly affect them negatively later on.
This is just one reason why I don’t believe everyone should be a firearms instructor. Oftentimes, people who enjoy firearms are encouraged to take instructor certification classes as a “next step” in their firearms journey. And then these beginner firearms users and beginner instructors are encouraged to teach beginner classes. See the problem here? Instead of getting the best information at the most crucial time in their journey, students are potentially getting shallow details, underdeveloped topics or even incorrect information. I’ve seen it time and time again. Folks show up to classes with terrible habits, sloppy skills and safety errors they learned from another instructor who likely didn’t even recognize the problems or mistakes.
And that’s why the beginner firearms class is not for beginners. Well, not beginning instructors, anyway. We must acknowledge how important building a foundation can be to produce healthy, happy, productive, safe and well-rounded shooters. And we must encourage our most experienced instructors to lead the way.