Some say it sounds too harsh or too strict. Well, if we as instructors do not properly lay the foundation for these future firefighters, they may not be fully prepared for the para-military environment they are wanting to get into. I would rather have someone struggle and have a setback by failing a class now at the college level than after they get hired and are in the academy and/or probation. Failing something at that level may lead to termination. Failing things now still gives you time to regroup and get yourself back on course for success.
Some of these items in my contract might be petty. However, I want to get the students to actually read the fine print and most of all - learn to follow directions! Many of us do not read instructions or directions. I bet we all can say we have firefighters (especially ones that are fairly new) that cannot or have trouble following instructions. Some of our paid recruit academies do a good job of weeding out those that can't.
This way, by giving the student a contract on the first day, they see what will fail them and what will keep them in the class. There are no secrets. You either follow directions or you do not.
Just a lot of thoughts I wanted to pass on to help set you up for success... Learn from the mistakes of others and properly prepare yourself for a career as a firefighter! Now is the time to start off on the right foot!
STEVE PRZIBOROWSKI, a Firehouse.com Contributing Editor, is a battalion chief for the Santa Clara County, CA, Fire Department. Steve is an instructor with the Chabot College Fire Technology Program in Hayward, CA, where he publishes a free monthly newsletter, "The Chabot College Fire & EMS News", that is geared toward better preparing the future firefighter for a career in the fire service and the current firefighter for promotion. He is an Executive Board member for the Northern California Training Officers Association, where he is a past president. To read Steve's complete biography and view his archived articles, click here. You can reach Steve by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.