Correct. It was a 4 hour class where about 3 hours was actually in the pool working on or talking about skills. That was it before open water. By the time I had a properly fitting mask and correct weight dialed in, the class was almost over. I just managed to do all of the skills, and the only ones I was able to practice were done during the downtime when the instructors were occupied working with other students. I left the class having just achieved nice neutral buoyancy that I felt comfortable with, once.ALL you had was 3 hours in the pool in TOTAL before you went to the openwater? Just 1 pool session of 3 hours ONLY and then you went to openwater? Am I understanding this right or am I missing something here?
I do around 25 - 28 hours in confined water/pool over 9 sessions (on average but based on performance not just numbers) with usually 4 students before I take the students to openwater (we do 8 dives for openwater over 4 days). We repeat ALL of the skills I taught my students several times during the confined water/pool sessions before they go to openwater. The last session in the confined water/pool is evaluation of ALL skills taught in the confined water to review everything making sure that the student can perform ALL of the skills with high degree of competency. Buoyancy control AND equalization are paramount in training (CW & OW).
The other scuba instructors in Libya do 6 hours in pool only however. They do 3 - 4 dives in openwater and then they certify the students. Classroom time is only 5 hours. They watch videos mostly and do the exam. Hardly any time teaching in class (they don't use books or any eLearning at all). For classroom, I have the students do the NAUI eLearning first and pass all of the online quizzes and final exam with 100% grade and then around 20 hours review and covering the critical chapters (science and physiology Chapter 4 of the NAUI textbook and the deco./dive tables Chapter 5). Student take a challenging written final exam at the end of the classroom work. I also give a 2 hour lecture on dive computer use prior to openwater to prepare the students for dive computers use in openwater (students use dive tables in planning for the openwater dives but also carry dive computers for them to learn how to use entry level DC's.).
I'm not blaming my failure to properly equalize on the instructors or the short time, but I do think with less of a rushed feeling, I would have felt more comfortable with slowing everything down to insist that I got things right (although what does a noob know about what is "right"?). Still, I have some responsibility to myself because I'm not new to learning or new to potentially dangerous activities. I definitely failed to do the right thing a couple of times.