Sick of asking questions

Being an ex Cadet, be it only 15-20yrs ago. i’ve been a CI near a year or so and it seemed to be so much easier to be a CI back in the day, yet nowadays you can’t do this, you can’t do that and everything is all about Bader. I’d love to say since I started as CI I’ve had help at every corner…nope. I’m clueless about how things are run, who do I speak to over certain things, yet when I ask fellow staff members they say I’ll find out for you which means I have to chase them to find out if they have spoken to someone for me or they say I don’t know.

I want to be an asset for the cadets and the Sqn but 95% of the time I’m sat watching everyone else being busy, at the minute I’m that CI that goes with cadets to things the other staff members find boring. I’ve expressed how I’m keen to be involved but I feel like I’m just getting in the way of people who are busy being busy, I feel like an outsider in the staff office. My current condition means learning a subject to teach would not work as I struggle with learning in a short space of time. it would take me forever to learn and remember the in’s and outs of a piston engine…I won’t even mention rocketry.

Where is the Atc’s guide to being a Civilian Instructor? I only found this forum by searching clueless CI ATC :confused:

Does anyone have any advice or should I just give back my CI badge :disappointed:

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if you can just enjoy the ‘helper’ role - its actually the best CFAV role there is.

i’ve been the Training Officer and the Adjutant as a CI, and the truth is that they are tedious roles that take you away from cadets. being ‘just’ a helper means taking the cadets on day walks or visits, or helping/teaching/supervising cadets to put their tents up or cook in the field, or any of the other hugely enjoyable and massively rewarding things that being a CFAV can bring - it also means avoiding the endless rubbish involved in dealing with the wider ACO and the administrative systems and paperwork trail required to do anything.

there are two other issues - the first is that staff turnover in some Sqn’s is such that the long term staff simply can’t be bothered to teach people stuff because they know that the person they teach almost certainly won’t be there in 3 months time, so taking time out from their busy (overwhelmed! - take a look at some of the other threads to see uniformed members of staff pulling their hair out in frustration at what has become a full time, unpaid job) lives to show the Newbie how Bader or Utilearn works is a distracting waste of time, and secondly, given the condition which you allude to, is it possible that your Sqn staff are trying to avoid foisting stuff on you that they think you can’t cope with?

if it were me, i’d relax a bit, enjoy doing the things you’re doing (and not doing…). keep volunteering for stuff - and make sure you do as much that you enjoy as that which you find tedious.

Hello Newbie, don’t give back your CI badge, by being a CI you are an asset to both the ACO and the Squadron. I agree with Angus, you have one of the best roles as you can define how much time you put in and can pick and choose what activities you would like to take part in.

It looks to me like you’re are dead keen to do stuff but there maybe restrictions on what you can do? Nobody wants a CI to be sitting there doing nothing and its really hard for a Squadron to simply find time to help train up a newbie saying that, if you have been a CI for a year then you probably should have something specific to do.

To answer your question directly, there is no ATC guide to being a CI. There is a basic course that you can attend but this focus’s on the structure of the ACO from the top down and child protection. There are method of instruction courses that effectively teach you how to teach as well.

The role of the CI is to instruct (the title is a giveaway) and therefore I can’t help feeling you would be better off finding a subject that interests you and then putting some effort in to learning it so that you can teach when ready. The other thing would be to look at how often you are attending, it might be worth discussing with your CO about a reduction in time at the Squadron so that you can focus on learning your subject and then being more focused when you do attend. Everyone needs a job and there really is nothing worse than someone watching everyone else being busy as it demoralises the individual and everyone else thinks they are not really being very effective.

I think I’m saying, start by speaking to your CO about how you want to be effective. See if there is a role you can take on that fits with your capabilities and interests whilst you learn up a new subject.

The boring things you mention are probably the ones they don’t get paid for.
Over the coming weeks we’ve got Poppy Appeal collecting and Remembrance Parades, for the collecting I doubt there will be any uniformed staff present and the parades only because they feel obliged and for a couple of them to schmooze and ponce around in uniform trying to be important.

As for subject teaching (OK I’ve been doing this a long time in and out of uniform) but as said pick an area / subject you feel interested in and go for it. I’ve always been mechanically minded but the propulsion stuff on ultilean is far too detailed and the animations far too complex, that I refused to teach it. As for you can’t do this/that I would suggest going for DofE Assessor, as you don’t need a ‘walking’ qualification and will find yourself much in demand and if you have BELA or ML go for DofE Supervisor as well and be even in more in demand as from next year you will have to be registered to be a DofE Supervisor. These are much easier and far less demanding than say shooting and FMS, and IMO much more rewarding in terms of what you can do for cadets. Then there is the transferability (shooting and FMS are not transferable) I’ve been asked to train and supervise kids at school for DofE and once they’ve sorted the pay out, I’ll be doing it for the school as well as the squadron. If you don’t mind spending a bit of money you could always go for an archery ticket and potentially get it all or part-funded by the committee like ours did. Again it’s not a cadet qualification so easily transferable and potentially a few quid to be made.

The MOI doesn’t teach you how to teach. I went on an MOI out of curiosity and no one but no one came away knowing how to teach, but someone in the hierarchy think or thought it was wonderful and we are stuck with it. TBH I didn’t get anymore, if not less, than I got out of the old Instructional Technique that I used for my Staff P2 and at Newton when I did my AWO course. They spent a load of time going over powerpoint on the MOI that you’re better of just finding your way through, unless you go somewhere that has got enough PCs for everyone to use. I’ve done PPT courses through my employers over the years. Even learning styles etc where I work at school there is a raft of resources and most importantly TAs who have the time to work with youngsters who struggle. All we can do is try and hit a middle ground in terms of cadets learning, but then again the current cadet exams don’t really require any knowledge, as demonstrated when we had a cadet pass an online exam but not having had any instruction. If anyone has the old Inst Tech sitting in a drawer somewhere it would be far more beneficial to put it online somewhere and does all you need to know about instructing, which given it was around for many, many years and no one felt it needed changing, must be a testament to its validity.

Overall Angus is correct in that the uniformed staff especially the OC have too much to do to babysit new staff, because as he said there’s a lot of time and effort required for potentially no gain, as bad as that sounds. The unfortunate thing is since all of the Corps’ main books went online it is bloody hard for new staff to get a handle on things and ‘Bader’ and it’s morass of components and the way it’s seemed to have spread like bindweed with no real structure, means even for ‘experienced’ staff it’s an unpleasant experience to use it. When we had proper documents, staff and older cadets (like what I was) could flick through them to find things out and it helped new people integrate much, much easier than now. Sad to say that now the Corps is not a friendly place for new people coming in, in terms of finding things out and establishing themselves. We stand a very real danger of only being staffed only by cadets slipping into a staff role on their 20th birthday and creating a situation in-breeding, but while the Corps’ systems and practices aren’t encouraging to new people, that’s where we are. Speaking as someone who aged out at 22 and became a CI, getting non ATC people in as staff was a real bonus to everyone.

I would say keep on with it and just avoid the ‘when are you going into uniform’ pressure that will happen if it hasn’t already started.

As already said stick with it and pick the things you want to do. We’ve got 2 CIs who currently due to work patterns turn up to do their bit, planned in etc and it works fine and they help out at the weekend if they are able. If you find you are turning up and not getting things to do and it’s frustrating, tell the CO this is what you want to do.

Don’t think that people don’t care, it’s just they don’t really have the time or really know themselves, most COs will have to spend the time looking. Finding things out using our online systems which aren’t particularly friendly or useful is a nightmare, as some plank thought it was a good idea to break everything down into individual documents and in many places don’t give a document name just a reference number (but this has improved), which no doubt works fine at their end, but for us it means opening umpteen documents and reading on screen which is never pleasant, when in the days of ACPs 20A and 20B you opened the pages found what you wanted and just started reading and move back and forth to annexes and appendix(ices) and for subject books was able to just read. Which as said it was good to give new staff these to flick through to get a feel for things. The only thing I can suggest is get the general account login and start browsing SharePoint, which we’ve done for staff cadets and will do for any new staff. Interestingly the older cadets find it as annoying as we all do and they’ve grown up with the online experience.

The BASIC will be useful to a point and it ticks a box.

You’d be surprised by the lack of basic IT know how our cadets so have. They are great at playing games on their phone, but when it comes to using business applications they are terrible.

Still that aside, I work in IT and our systems are awful, as there has been no training to Volunteer or Perm staff which results in all sorts of crazy upload strategy’s resulting in a selection of unclear out of date information in 34 locations. As long as this continues all users will struggle with a system that is poorly maintained that we only use once or twice a week.

Off Topic - I’m sure that there are volunteer staff who would be prepared to put together some best practice guides and cleanup the system so that it is workable and becomes a useful business standard tool.

I go every parade night and try to help out as much as I can, the other staff are all clued up having not long been cadets them selves. The cadets are awesome with me and if they have a problem I always help them out. The other staff do the job like its a paid job, I’m not saying just because its voluntary they sit on their arses, but surely any normal thinking person including myself would say…I have 3 things to do yet that CI is sat twiddling his thumbs…hey would you like to get involved? I’m moving to another area in the next few months and there is a Sqn round the corner from the area I’m moving to so I will be throwing a transfer in and hopefully there will be staff who would help the newbie instead of just expecting him to know how it all works. Back in the day my Sqn had 3 CI’s, one did office stuff, one did teaching from the dreaded books and the other did uniform and basic drill. No we have a training officer who does all things first class and sports, DofE chap who does all that, and we have 2 ex cadet CI’s who do the teaching. I don’t expect everything to fall on my lap so to speak, but a little guidance into what needs doing wouldn’t hurt. There is no point me learning about things that no one has any interest in :neutral_face: I will be speaking to the CO tonight if I can gain entry to his often closed door. I have taken points from all the replies I have seen and I thank you for trying to help a newbie out…

Brings back memories of old times. I joined my present Sqn as a CI some 20+ years ago, and experienced the same problems as yourself eg people running round looking busy and nobody seeming to have the time to show me the “ropes”. After a couple of weeks of this I was prepared to throw in the towel and then remembered the motto “nil desperandum carborundum illegitimi”, and stuck with it. I suspect that you will come across the same situation in most Squadrons especially those will very full training programmes also, Squadrons are not geared to train the trainers. All the best

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It’s a sqn that loves getting trophies, many of the cadets enjoy winning but then we have a handful or so who just want to have fun and not feel pressured into doing sports or shooting competitions. Back in the day we would often have a sqn camp, just us and no other sqn’s. Nowadays it’s 10 sqns or more all at the same camp. It annoys me that they just expect me to know what to do, I hadn’t set foot on a sqn in at least 20yrs and trying to find out how something works or who I need to talk to often has me badgering the person 2 or 3 times because they forget with being so busy. But don’t worry I’ll be doing the poppy collections when other staff are ‘Busy’ to do that :frowning: