Friday, 6 March 2015

The Student Becomes the Master

It is still less than a year since I became a swimming teacher. In fact it won't be until next month that's it's a year since I became a qualified swimming teacher and then it won't be until the middle of June before it is 12 months since I actually started teaching .

However, in such a short time I have already turned from the student into the master. Well not quite. I still have a way to go yet before I am the perfect swimming teacher. However, I have come a long way. I have learnt a lot from teaching, watching other teachers and listening to my boss and I know that I am good at my job.

I feel as though I can say this because I am confident that all of the children I teach - I also teach a couple of adults but it's mostly young children - like me and enjoy our lessons together. I have been told by parents many times that their children look forward to their swimming lessons all week. I have had lots of positive feedback from parents either directly or via my boss and on top of all this, I am able to monitor the success of my pupils and I believe that they are all progressing very well under my tutorship.

Please don't read that last paragraph and think that I am showing off. I'm not! That's not my style. There are plenty of things that I am not good at. Plenty! And I am happy to embrace that. However, swimming teaching is simply one of the few things that I am good at and so why shouldn't I acknowledge that too? I know that I am a good swimming teacher and I know what makes me a good swimming teacher.

Firstly I have a good knowledge of swimming and a thorough understanding of the different stages that need to be completed - body position, legs, arms etc - and the best way and order to teach these. I can watch a swimmer of any age and tell you what level they are and what things in particular need addressing. These are all things that I have learnt on the job.

I am also very calm, patient - this is an absolute must and something I have in bags for young children - and welcoming. All parts of my personality that make me suitable for the job, that can't be taught. Either you have enough patience to work with young children or you don't. But the thing that I believe is most important, is the fact that I have a good balance of discipline and fun. I know how to make the children in my lessons laugh - certainly something not all teachers do - but at the same time all of my pupils know the rules. For example they all know - regardless of how old or competent they are in the water - that they do not get into the water until I have told them to. I make sure that all of the children adhere to my very simple rules and I make sure to "discipline" them - by which I mean talk to them in my slightly more serious voice - as consistently as I can.

But that's not what I'm writing this post about. When I say the student becomes the master, it wasn't a device in order for me to blow my own trumpet. What I meant was: tomorrow will be my first opportunity to impart some of my wisdom, some of the things I have learnt over the last 9 months, onto someone else. There is a young lifeguard where I work, who is interested in becoming a swimming teacher and he has asked me if he can shadow me during some of my lessons.

Of course I was more than happy to help - as other teachers have helped and continue to help me - and I also felt quite flattered. It gave me a little ego boost. I know that his asking me probably had as much to do with the fact that we used to lifeguard together and he therefore feels as though he can ask me, as it did whether he thinks that I'm a good teacher or not. However - as arrogant as it might sound - I am a good swimming teacher and I don't think that he would have asked to shadow me if he thought otherwise. So hopefully by watching me he can learn a few things (all the things that you should be doing as a teacher I hope haha).

And so there it is, 'the student becomes the master'.

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