Sunday, July 24, 2005

Things I Don't Understand

  1. Why some people will repeat themselves over and over and over, saying the same thing repeatedly until you have to actually stop them from talking, in order to speak a word of reply to the questions they just asked.
  2. People with zero sense of direction. I don't mean getting turned the wrong way around on a back road at night, and being confused. I'm referring to those who I am convinced could get lost in the woods behind their own houses.
  3. The inner workings of the female brain.
  4. The total inability of some people to follow very simple directions.

I'm working on all of the above. But number four in the list is the specific one on my mind at the moment. I flew with Mr. Complication this evening. Though I may have to change his name to "Mr. Confusion." Always interesting, sometimes manages to wear me out. Introduced simulated instrument flight this time, and he did better than most do. Thats a relief. More often than not, I have to recover the plane within a minute or two, after first introducing it to a student.

His problem right now is that he hasn't managed to synthesize a full package of skills. He can manage through each individual skill by itself, but putting them all together in an attempt to fly a standard traffic pattern is a bit much for him. So his homework tonight is to write down each step of the process, and try to armchair fly, while sitting at home.

But back to the things I don't understand. I guess you could say there are three types of people in the world:
  1. Those who have an inherent grasp of which way to turn a knob for "up" or "down" (or alternately, which way to turn a wrench for "on" or "off").
  2. Those who get it wrong a few times, but start to figure it out.
  3. Those who manage to get it wrong so consistently and repeatedly over a long period of time that they completely skew the statistical probability curve.
I like to think I'm part of the first group, though I surely fall into group two sometimes. Those in group three intrigue me the most. I think it is also that group which manages to baffle me the most regularly. I recall one student years ago who, whenever it was time to put the key in the magneto switch, tried it the wrong way every time. These are very standard-looking keys. One edge is full of curves and bumps, the other edge is smooth. Somehow, he would get it upside down every time. I started observing this trait, and became fascinated. He was nearly finished with the private license the first time I ever saw him guess correctly. Several time, I showed him how to tell which way, but it really didn't change the results.

I don't have a problem with it. I get a little frustrated sometimes, but more often, I am just trying to find a way to more effectively communicate. Everybody has a different learning style, and my job is to find it and work through it.

So Mr. Confusion is an interesting case. We have a lockbox where the keys to the aircraft are stored. Simple 3-digit code. On our first lesson, I explained to him that the code was part of the tail number for a specific aircraft, and told him which one. This explanation has been sufficient for every other person who has wanted into that box.

Mr. C, though, may need some other sort of explanation. He has decided that the code derives from whichever aircraft we are flying on that particular day. Somehow, magically, the code differs depending on which set of keys he intends to retrieve. I'm at a loss. I really didn't expect this to be the kind of thing I would have to explain 5 times.

So every time, I re-explain how it works. And I begin to wonder: if this is confusing him, how will he handle VOR's or cross-country flight planning. I guess we just have to wait and see.


At 8:31 AM, Blogger adr said...

Careful there with #3. Any particular questions?

At 9:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'm kind of wondering which female mind(s) he's having trouble with. -esm

At 2:35 PM, Blogger Lenise said...

I know a no. 1, and he's no female! (Nobody y'all know).


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