Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Special Needs Swimming Teacher

It was my birthday last week, which inevitably led to some "soul searching". I'm not getting any younger and at some point I will have to think seriously about my long term career goals. What do I want to do career wise for the rest of my life and how is that going to support a family (something I definitely want to have at some point in the not too distant future).

Don't misunderstand. I've not gotten to the wrong side of thirty without choosing a preferred career path. The answer to the question: what do I want to do with my life - is a pretty simple question to answer. I want to be a writer! More specifically I want to be a film writer/director. If you haven't seen it already - or you just enjoyed it so much you wish to see it again - here is a LINK to my short film 'letters'. However, turning this into my career is proving somewhat difficult. I can definitely work harder at it - and I will! - but I also have to try and be realistic and pragmatic. Therefore in case my chosen career fails to take off, I need to have a back up option (one that I would actually be happy doing).

This is more difficult. I currently work as a swimming teacher and I love it. I especially enjoy working with young children and adults beginners who have a fear of the water. However, I'm not sure how long I can continue to be a swimming teacher. The hourly pay is ok but I'm constantly tired, constantly in luke warm chlorinated water and with hours fairly hard to come by, I have no idea how it would be even remotely possible to support a family while working as a swimming instructor. So in short, I still have little to no idea what I'm going to do if the film making doesn't happen (I'd better make it happen hadn't I!).

What I have been thinking about again recently however, is how to diversify my current job (in order to gain more hours and make it more sustainable). There is a possibility of moving into management. However, this holds absolutely zero interest for me. I'm not sure I'd be any good at it and the dramatic increase in responsibility and stress also comes with an initial vast drop in wages.

But there are others ways for me to broaden my horizons as a swimming teacher. I currently teach, parents and babies, children aged 2-12 years of age, adult beginners and intermediate adults. This week I will begin teaching my first advance adult swimmer - something I aim to do a lot more of - and I would also like to gain my coaching qualification, so that I can train competitive swimmers.

There is also another avenue that I am very keen to explore. In the past I have done a lot of work with children and young people with special needs. In doing so, I met some of my favourite human beings on the planet. I really enjoyed this work! It wasn't easy. It was often physically and mentally draining but it was mostly fun and often very rewarding! I often miss this kind of work. Which is why I have recently decided to explore the idea of becoming a special needs swimming teacher.

It's not a new idea. It has been at the back of mind ever since I first decided that I wanted to become a swimming teacher a little over two years ago. But I have decided that now - after 18 months of teaching experience - is a good time to start looking into it properly.

I currently don't know anything about it. Do I need to do a course? When, where, how much etc is this course? Can I get my current place of work or another company to pay for this training? Is there a lot of demand for special needs swimming teachers? How easy will it be for me find a job doing this? Etc etc.

At the moment I only have questions, no answers. However, training to be a special needs swimming teacher definitely feels like a natural progression for me. Once trained to teach people with special needs, I would really feel as though I have all bases covered. Therefore, although I still don't know how long I can continue to be a swimming teacher - another 18 months, 3 years? - by continuing to learn and train. I will be enabling myself to vary my clients as much as I can, which should hopefully keep the job as interesting and fun as possible, for as long as I decide to continue.

Ps. I am also (supposed to be) learning British Sign language which will mean that I can also teach people with hearing difficulties. 

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