This Parenting Thing Isn’t Going Swimmingly

, , , , , , | Related | September 5, 2017

(I have taught swimming lessons for many years, and have just started a program for swimmers with special needs. One family wishes to register their son, who is prone to violent outbursts, and was banned from swimming lessons because he choked a kid and held him under water. His parents chalk it up to his medical condition, and decide to try a one-to-one environment to see if it’s successful. His parents also want it during a busy lesson slot that his brother is in, when we really need extra instructors. They solely want this so they can attend a workout class. Luckily, it’s summer, so we’re able to get an extra instructor with no problem. After two lessons, I am having a hard time with him leaving the little pool or wanting to do any swimming. To make matters worse, he will not leave the water after the lessons are done until his parents show up. He is almost 12 and very strong, so we can’t physically move him. This is a problem, as his parents are often late, and we only have five minutes in between lessons. So, by the third lesson, I get a coworker to cover my next lesson so I can talk to his parents.)

Me: “He wouldn’t leave the kiddie pool again this time and threw a couple toys at other kids.”

Dad: “Oh, no, I’ll try to talk to him about that.” *starts to leave*

Me: “Actually, I wanted to talk to you about that. Since this session is almost over, if [Child] wants to pass to the next level, it’s going to be hard to do that. I want to talk to you about what you want for him. If you just want his time occupied, then I can absolutely do that with no problem, but we’ll most likely be spending it in the little pool.”

Dad: “Oh, no, we don’t want that. We absolutely want him to progress.”

Me: “Then I’m going to have to ask that one of you be present during the lesson or come before the lesson is over to help get him out of the water.”

Dad: “Hmm, I’ll have to talk to my wife about it. We do go to an exercise class during this time.”

Me: “Even if we could just find you in case he’s acting out. It really helps when you’re present.”

Dad: “That could work; I’ll talk to my wife and let you know.”

(I don’t see him for the rest of the summer. Fast forward two more months: they show up randomly, expecting the lessons to continue, when they haven’t confirmed anything or responded to any of the calls or emails. Since my schedule has changed, I am not present when they try to accommodate the child with a new instructor, but I hear about it. Unfortunately, the child punches his new instructor and breaks her glasses. He then refuses to leave, and neither of the parents can be located. A meeting is held to potentially work out a compromise, and what really irks me is what the father says:)

Dad: “We just want him to be occupied while we work out. From 9 to 9:45am, he is your problem, not ours.”

(A word from the minimum-wage lifeguards you’re abusing, buddy: 1) the program was completely free for you to use, and we went above and beyond trying to accommodate you, 2) I offered you that EXACT option earlier, but it wasn’t good enough for you, and 3) try to open your eyes once in a while!)

Drowning In Sarcasm

, , , | Learning | August 29, 2017

(I’m working with a group of kids who are at the age and the level where they can either sink or swim. Once they develop more technique, I push how far they can swim to practice their endurance. On this day, they are doing a particularly long one for the promise of extra play time.)

Student: “What if I have trouble getting to the end?”

Me: “You won’t, I’ll be right beside you. If you are tired, I’ll grab you, and you can rest.”

Student: “How will you know I’m tired?”

Me: “It’s pretty easy to tell.”

Student: “What if you can’t tell?”

Me: “Tell you what, it you’re really scared, how about we have a safe word? So if you say it, I know you need help.”

Student: “Okay, what will that word be?”

Me: “Aaaaaaah!”

The Little Mermaid Student

| New Zealand | Right | October 11, 2013

(I am a swimming teacher for mainly children under five. It is after the final lesson of the day. I am standing chatting to the parents. A young girl I have just been teaching walks up to me.)

Young Girl: “Excuse me. What are you doing?”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Young Girl: “Why aren’t you in the pool?”

Me: “I don’t have anyone else to teach today. You were my last class.”

Young Girl: “But I thought you lived in the pool. Aren’t you a mermaid, miss?”

(I have to fight back the laughter as this little girl is completely serious, and is horrified to learn I don’t live in the pool! It’s things like this that make my job worthwhile.)

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