Swim Please!

March 30, 2012

Reflection on a Swim Class

Filed under: kids swim lessons, swimming — Tags: , — maybe an idealist @ 2:42 am

I am slowly realizing the difference experience makes in class management.

It is practice that lets me pick my battles and pay attention to all swimmers. It means people see unflappable calm and endless patience while a child looses it or blatantly ignores directions. It means I’ll let a child stay put floating in the middle of the pool, and catch him or her on the way back- after taking advantage of the quiet and teaching the rest of the class for a minute. I’ll get the kids that are listening going on something and collect the stragglers while we swim past.

I’ve been teaching more autistic kids lately. I need slightly more training and a plan before targeting specific learning populations for special classes or marketing. I learned staying super calm encourages everyone else to be calmer, while staying on plan and keeping momentum means I don’t sacrifice the class for one swimmer.  I learned flexibility for teaching; if everyone isn’t listening or involved, it may be time for a different lesson.

The best laid plans are wonderful, but only until implementation. If you don’t constantly adjust to meet the needs of your audience, the plan will become a trap instead of a springboard.

The first goal of the class is safety; I want everyone to get out and go home, ideally not traumatized. I want swimmers to learn to love the water. Students won’t keep coming back if they aren’t enjoying the class. Swimming is supposed to be fun. Water is supposed to be fun. It is the sport everyone goes back to following injuries. I want students to swim well; it’s much more fun when you’re fast and efficient. Swimming should be effortless. Finally, by setting goals, working hard, seeing examples of responsibility, honesty, caring, and respect, and by having high expectations, each swimmer will ideally be offered a chance to grow.

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