Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Biting My Tongue

I knew this day would come...

The day I put Darling into swimming lessons...

It's a day I've dreaded and looked forward to for years and it's finally here. Darling began her first official swim education last week.

I grew up at a lake and my very first job I ever had was teaching American Red Cross Swimming. I loved teaching so much that I did it for 11 years. I even got my Water Safety Instructor certification which would have allowed me to run any of the ARC's Learn to Swim programs. Darling is now taking lessons at one of the places that I taught because I'm a control freak and wanted to make sure it was a great program.

It still is a great program. Mostly.

Handsome knows that I'm rather opinionated and asked if I was going to be ok with someone else teaching her. I was told long ago by mothers who taught swimming to never try to teach your own child because they'll just see it as Mama/kid play time.

"Nonsense!" thought I.

Then I had a kid.

And promptly shut my mouth.

Darling can cling wrap to me like the best of them and in the previous 4 summers of her life, I could get her to do no more than put her face in the water for a few seconds and blow bubbles before it turned into play time.

Formal training was needed.

It's amazing what kids will do for strangers/teachers and never underestimate the power of positive peer pressure. I've used it on kids before. And it works like a charm. Darling is the only girl in her class and refuses to let the boys out-do her. I applaud that. Not even her intense fear of floating on her back unsupported keeps her from trying to best the boys.

Still, I can't help but watch her class and others and think about better ways to teach the skills. I'm good at several things, but I'm really good at teaching swimming. I've taught everyone from babies to senior citizens and I was blessed with great teachers myself.

It bugs me to see a teacher tell a kid to put their face in the water/float on their back when they won't do it themselves. Dry hair is not part of teaching. Fully interacting with your students by showing them what you want them to do is very important. I hate seeing her teacher scurry off to the hot tub when her beginners class is still trying to get out of the pool. Or dunking their heads semi-forcibly under the water.

I'd love to go back to teaching in the evenings, but with my full time marketing job and the museum, there's just no way. I also need to let go and just let my kid learn. No one is perfect....I can always go back and fix the things that need fixing.



kcmeesha said...

my kid wouldn't go into the water when I was trying to get her in,but the first day in camp she was splashing like she'd always done it. the 1st rule is to stay away when someone else is teaching your kid, most of the time you'll feel like you could do a better job.