Forum: Adults / Children & Parenting

I'm uneasy with James' swim class...
By Theresamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sat Sep 06, 2014 03:28 PM
Locked by Theresa (28613) on 2014-12-21 21:28:26 Swim class is over!

James is taking swimming. He signed up for his first class back in the spring, and was pretty instantly taken with it. Young, college aged instructor who missed a lot of classes, but James loved the kid.

Summer class, different young, college aged instructor - a real surfer dude type of guy, James loved him more than the first guy, swimming is going, well, swimmingly.

School is back in session, so so is swimming, and his first class was today.

His instructor appears older than my grandmother, and had two assistants who if I had to guess from looking at their bone structure, aren't old enough to have driven themselves to class.

She describes how she wants the kids to get in the pool, and not a single one of them understood her, so she gets the assistants to demonstrate, and within a few minutes, she's got the two assistants and all 6 kids in the pool.

She herself never got in.

Any time she wanted to teach them something new, she got all of the kids out of the pool, demonstrated the move for them on dry land, and then made them get back in and do the move with the assistants, while she paced on dry land, shouting commands.

So, um...I'm kind of new to being a swim mom and all, but is this how this works? His previous two instructors all were right in the water with the kids, actually touching them as they were giving corrections. She never entered the water - although weirdly enough, was wearing a bathing suit and swim cap, so she was prepared to be in the water, she just wasn't - so like I said - it's got me uncomfortable, but I am also allowing for the possibilities that maybe since he's getting to a higher level, this is just how it rolls now, and also that since I'm not used to this, I'm uncomfortable because it's new. I have cause to be uneasy, or is this just how it rolls?

10 Replies to I'm uneasy with James' swim class...

re: I'm uneasy with James' swim class...
By lux
On Sat Sep 06, 2014 04:25 PM
Hmm, this is a tricky one. I can see how you'd feel this is a little off, particularly when James's previous instructors have been in the pool with the kids.

I took swimming classes from pretty much the minute I was old enough to be chucked in a pool (I feel like around 9 months?) until I was 14 or thereabouts. You were moved up levels based on your ability and, to a lesser extent, your age. At some point, our instructors stopped joining us in the pool, although from memory, this wasn't until we were pretty confident swimmers (and older than what I seem to recall James being) and the purpose of our classes was to correct our style, rather than actually teaching us to swim.

I think the question of whether this situation is going to work for you is dependent on a couple of things. I seem to remember that James is around 7 - how strong a swimmer is he? Are the kids getting what the instructor is telling them once her assistants demonstrate? Honestly, in your position I'd find this approach a little unorthodox, too, but I guess what it really comes down to is whether it's working/whether James is actually learning in this class.

I'd give it a couple more lessons and see how things pan out. It might just be a matter of James becoming accustomed to a different teaching style, or perhaps this was a one off and the teacher might be in the pool next class. That said, regardless of whether this is a "normal" approach or not, if it's not working for James, I'd pull him out and take him elsewhere.
re: I'm uneasy with James' swim class...
By Tishwah
On Sun Sep 07, 2014 12:02 AM
I did the initial training as a Swimming Instructor here in Australia and it was very much hands on, in the water! I could understand if this was swimming coaching, where the kids are doing kilometres of laps every single day (been there, done that as well), why the coach would be on the side, but not a teacher.

Here in Australia you pretty much have to be qualified and registered with Austswim to teach, and I am not sure that would fly? . . .
re: I'm uneasy with James' swim class...
By majahayes
On Sun Sep 07, 2014 09:34 AM
I was in swimming lessons my entire childhood and my daughter has been in swimming lessons from 6 months old and is now almost 6 years old. I have never seen a class where instructors were not in the pool, unless it was when I was in lifeguard training classes. If my daughter was in a class like that I would be uncomfortable with it and would switch her to a class with a different teacher.
re: I'm uneasy with James' swim class...
By Louisemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Sep 08, 2014 02:29 AM
If it's just been one class with this new lady, perhaps her not getting into the water was a one-off. Perhaps she had a cold or something.

I only ever took swimming lessons through school and none of the instructors ever got in with us. This was the 90s though.
re: I'm uneasy with James' swim class...
By Theresamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Sep 08, 2014 08:37 PM
I went and talked to the lady at the community ed about it today.

I said, like I did here, that I acknowledge that I'm a pretty new swim mom, so this might just be the way that it goes, buuuuut, and told her the rest of the story.

I was prompted to go ahead and speak up, because James had gone from not wanting to get out of the pool, to going "I don't have to swim today, do I?", which is a pretty distressing trajectory for his love of swimming to take, in one class. :O

The lady that was in charge of the swim classes was there, and she said that James' two previous instructors were hands down the best two that the department had (that have both been lost for the year to college), so if we were expecting someone on their level, we were setting ourselves up to be disappointed, no matter what. Haha...

And she did point out that there's some benefit to being out of the pool when you're teaching - you can see a lot of things when you're out of the water, looking down at the kid, that you can't see when you're in the pool with them. Which makes sense, when you think about it.

But she also seemed genuinely surprised by some of the things - she seemed to be particularly taken back by the fact that they'd given her TWO assistants for six kids (so there's one instructor for every TWO kids, which is a absolutely unmatched student/teacher ratio, you'll never find that anywhere else), and she seemingly wasn't using them for anything. And she wasn't - she got all the kids out of the pool to demonstrate strokes, she paced up and down the deck giving corrections, the assistants never touched the kids, except the poor little one who was struggling mightily to keep up with the class. That poor kid, he never completed a single activity, they always just stopped him and went on to their next thing. :O

She said that the instructor herself was voicing some discomfort with the class - that it was coming in at the end of a lengthy shift, and she was cold, and whatever else, so she thanked me for bringing my discomfort to her attention, and she was going to speak to the pool supervisor to make sure she observes the class, and they'd figure it out.

So I feel a little more at ease, knowing they're going to look out for it. Absent any other solutions, looking out for it is the most I could hope for, I think.
re: I'm uneasy with James' swim class...
By majeremember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Mon Sep 08, 2014 08:46 PM
Louise wrote:

I only ever took swimming lessons through school and none of the instructors ever got in with us. This was the 90s though.

In my high school PE class we watch films about all of the different strokes. Then we were expected to get in the pool and do them. The teacher did not get in, I don't remember if she had a swimsuit on or not.

When I was in elementary school I took swim lesson and did not learn a thing - it was at the big water park in town. The teach gave up on me and stuck me in a life jacket and kept having to go back for me. The teacher was in the pool. After that class I just stuck to doggy paddling. My parents had already taught me how to float before the swim lessons.

I learned more in the high school PE class. Probably a maturity thing on my part and the fact that I didn't want to embarrass myself.

Though, I do not like the class you described. Maybe give it one more shot and if it is still like that try for another class and teacher.
re: I'm uneasy with James' swim class...
By dancin_til_death
On Tue Sep 09, 2014 05:29 AM
I was trying to think about it. From I think age 8-10 onwards my swimming teachers seemed to mostly out of the pool. I had several years of swimming classes behind me by that stage.

It depends upon the capability of the students. If someone is a weak swimmer, or hasn't mastered the individual strokes then its far better to be in the pool with them.

One thing I can say was that a good teacher is just as much fun out of the pool then in the pool. Even if they're making you do things that burn.
re: I'm uneasy with James' swim class...
By hummingbird
On Tue Sep 09, 2014 09:00 AM
My kids swimming teachers were always out of the pool on the side after their youngest classes, they didn't even wear swim suits, they wore t-shirts and shorts. Most of them were also life guards when they weren't teaching.

I suppose it's like anything else, as you get older the approach to teaching the subject has to change. Just like teaching dance your younger students have to have their attention grabbed and be brought into the moment, older kids are meant to already be there. This lady obviously has a very different way of teaching and if James is used to another style this might need a period of adjustment for him.

If he really loves swimming once he gets used to his ladies style of instruction and starts to understand it he'll feel more comfortable.
re: I'm uneasy with James' swim class...
By Theresamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member
On Sat Sep 13, 2014 11:14 AM
Just returned from the second class, and I'm considerably happier with the way this week went.

For starters, the class had shrunk from 6 kids to 3, which made me wonder of those other 3 sets of parents were like me, and unhappy with the class, but just elected to bail, rather than speak up. I guess we'll find out, if none of them return next week either.

And she actually got in the water with them, and personally demonstrated what she wanted them to be doing. A couple of times, she had them get out, so they could do a move on dry land, and each time, she personally went down the line, and physically placed each of the kids in the position she wanted them to be in, rather than just saying the words.

The pool supervisor came down to check on them today, which I know is a direct result of my speaking up. And I wanted to say "Oh man, today is going so much better than last week!", but I also didn't want to tip my hand that it was me that said something, either. When I talked to them at the community ed office, I identified the day and class my kid was in, but purposefully never gave my name, or his.

And dare I say, she even tried to joke around a little with them, hah! Look at that!

Although I had pool parents on either side of me today - I somehow ended up in between the mom and dad of the same girl, and every time the teacher would give her a correction, they'd immediately begin shrieking the correction at her, which would lead to a five minute discussion of why she was doing it, why she wasn't doing it, how they could help her do it, how she's never had to do anything like that before, etc., etc. *facepalm* Maybe I'm bringing my iPod next week. LOL!
re: I'm uneasy with James' swim class...
By hummingbird
On Sat Sep 13, 2014 11:20 AM
OMG, I hate it when parents do that, I had a mom a couple of years ago that would do that on parent watching day, her poor kid didn't know who to listen to, me or her. I asked her to button it or leave in the end.

Any hoo, good to see it was a better class and your mind is at rest over it. I hope James enjoyed it too.


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