Encouraging a discouraged student

flyf15

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So guys, I have an instrument student that is most of the way through learning approaches and headed towards cross countries. He's had a pretty rough time so far, been at it for about a year and a half with big gaps, ~4 instructors, etc. I picked him up about 3 months ago...due to scheduling problems and weather, we've only flown 5 times in the last 2 months and consequently, he's not making much progress, and he knows it.

Well, today we had a talk and he's thinking about quitting all together due to being distracted, discouraged, and frustrated. I ensured to him that he's getting there and its just going to require flying more and working harder. But, the impression I got back was that in his head, flying more just means burning more money and he still won't make much progress...because thats whats been happening to him for the last 1 1/2 years.


Does anyone have any advice for what I should do to handle this? I need to get him encouraged to finish it off and to stop thinking so much about where he is and just worry about learning.

Thanks much guys, I appreciate it.
 

johnpeace

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Going on a trip where I got to fly in actual, on an IFR flight plan really made the lights come on for me. Somehow it made all these mysterious concepts come together as a way of flying that made sense.

There's nothing like breaking out of the clouds inside the FAF with the runway environment in sight.

If you could give him an experience like that, maybe it would help.
 

Fly_Chick

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Flyf15, what is your student's motivation for getting the IR? Personal plane, personal flying, career? Build on the motivation. I like the thought inspired by johnpeace about possibly taking up in actual to another location, that is really an eye-opener.
 

flyf15

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His motivation is mostly to not always be grounded on bad weather days. He owns a plane and flies it strictly for fun.

His problem is he just doesn't seem to think he's ever going to finish. It is taking him so long to just stay in the same place. I know the real things to help are just to minimize weather cancellations and keep pushing him, but he seems to be pretty bummed.

Thanks much for the suggestions guys, I'll have to see if we can get out of the routine or something.
 

Fly_Chick

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What are the wx issues that cause the cancellations? Can he go up at night, after work, in actual with you? Can you file to get out, then get into VFR conditions and fly in actual for the departure and arrival?

Set up a schedule for him. Maybe make the flights a little long - perhaps 1.5-1.8 hours, and go to another airport. Shooting approach after approach at the same or nearby airports can get monotonous, especially if he does not see much self progress. Sometimes flying a vector or victor airway allows the person more time to get established, observe what is going on and get more ahead of the plane.

Have him look out the window every so often. For example, have him tell you exactly where you are on an instrument chart, and when you and him have both worked to sucessfully get him to pinpoint his location, have him look outside to see he is exactly there. That is a condifence and motivational builder. Fly an approach without a view limiting device. Will be another change of pace and re-motivator.

I had a married couple with their own plane and wanted their instrument ratings for the main purpose of being able to take of in the mornings with a fog layer and arrive at their destination in VFR, after the fog burned off. They wanted to learn, yet their main motivation was being able to go out in a comfort level for them.

I think right now you really just need to find a motivating and fun factor for him, with a "wow" experience and a feeling of accomplishment (even in the accomplishment is a small step along the way). Training stretched out too far and cancelled too often can be very frustrating.
 

Say Again Over

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My instrument rating was a humbling and rewarding accomplishment, he will never make any progress with the infrequent lessons, he needs to just pick a week and finish it off. I also agree with johnpeace.
 
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