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Hi There! I see you are from WI....as am I. Can I ask where you are located and can make some recommendations? Even though I live in the Mad-town area, I know quite a bit about a lot of the dive shops all around the state.
My husband and I always stick with private instructors or LDS' that never have more than 6 per class. Just feels better that way...and we know a few private DMs who have very good prices. Sounds like the better option for you is option #2. Anyway, I'm happy to help. Feel free to PM me if you don't feel comfortable posting out here.
My shop has a maximum of 6 to an instructor and 6 in the pool at a time. ( We have our own pool, about half the size of a 25 meter public pool. ) Many classes are 3 to 5 students. I would find another training facility that can meet your needs. I don't think any instructor, however great, can focus upon and properly train 14 students at a time even with an assistant. You love all things aquatic. Don't let a bad operation divert you from your goal. My wife did a 1 on 1 class and found it very much to her liking. However, if you are in a small class where each student can reasonable expect the attention they need (and paid for) that may work out for you too.
Just a suggestion...if you change shops, ask the old shop for a "Universal Referral Program" packet. It will make it easier for you and your new instructor to determine where you are and allow him to give you credit for any training that you don't need to re-do.
Thank you again everyone for all of your help and knowledge. It was a very disappointing experience. But this is something I really want to do. And I deserve to have proper training. This has really taught me to do my research beforehand. I sent a detailed letter to the owner. The response back did not address the student to teacher ratio. I hope they do consider it for future classes. This is too important not to be.
BTW, just for information . . . it's not the number of students in a class, but the ratio of students to staff that makes the difference. We'll have up to 12 in a class at the shop where Peter teaches -- but for the pool sessions, we often have three or four DMs and AIs along with the primary instructor (and there are sometimes two of them). If a class is that big, there will ALWAYS be a second full instructor for the OW days, as well as quite a number of certified assistants. If you have a class with 14 students, only part of a pool, and the minimum number of CAs, you don't have a good experience for the students.