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Unsure of my reaction.....


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#1 Maree83

Posted 15 January 2020 - 02:32 PM

I think this is a part vent, part question....I took my two girls to there swimming lesson this morning,  they are doing a holiday program,  so having a lesson every weekday this week. The instructor we have this week, we have never had before. My girls are in the same class (class of 3).
The instructor seems to lack patience with the kids, compared to others we have been to that is. My girls are 3yo and 4yo, the younger admittedly can be a handful at times. She was mucking around a little bit (bouncing around whilst waiting for her turn, she also likes to practice putting her head in the water whilst waiting and is sometimes doesn't wait to hear the instructions, just wants to do the next task if you know what I mean).
The lady kept telling her off, threatening to make her sit out of the class, saying she can sit out in the cold and watch everyone else.  At one point,  my daughter was doing an exercise lying on her back with a kickboard (holding it to her chest while kicking), the instructor changed the task midway through, and wanted her to hold the kickboard across her legs. My daughter clearly didn't understand what she wanted, but the reaction from the instructor was to get frustrated and threaten her again.  Once they reached the side of the pool again,  she chastised her again for not listening.  In this instance,  I don't believe she wasn't listening, she clearly wasn't understanding.
My 4yo has some fear of the water, and for a couple of tasks,  she told the instructor she was scared, to be met with the response that nothing bad is going to happen, put your goggles on and get over here. When my daughter hesitated to do it, the instructor said "so you aren't even going to try? Okay,  you can stay there then".
My daughter ended up sitting there for half the lesson, not doing anything. They generally just do the same tasks over and over again.
I don't know if I am overreacting  or if I should say something. I am pretty sure my vibes at the end of the lesson indicated quite clearly that I wasn't too happy, but since she had back-to-back classes, I didn't have a chance to talk to her.
What would you do in this situation?

#2 Maree83

Posted 15 January 2020 - 02:37 PM

Oh, and as a side note, I did chastise my youngest as well for her behaviour and explained the expectations.....about sitting down to wait for your turn, and to watch the other kids instead of putting her head in the water etc.
I just don't know if I am being overprotective. The instructor told the other girl off a few times as well, so it wasn't just my kids.

#3 born.a.girl

Posted 15 January 2020 - 02:49 PM

I don't think you're being over-protective.

Your kids are behaving their age.


Sounds like the teacher doesn't have much rapport with kids. I'd like to think I'd say something.

#4 Riotproof

Posted 15 January 2020 - 02:49 PM

I think the bit where she said “you aren’t even going to try” is the problem. I think you should take that up with the supervisor.

Threatening to make your dd sit out for not cooperating is pretty standard swimming school discipline, though it sounds like she has a particularly short fuse. Especially for someone working with preschoolers.

#5 Maree83

Posted 15 January 2020 - 02:51 PM

 born.a.girl, on 15 January 2020 - 02:49 PM, said:

I don't think you're being over-protective.

Your kids are behaving their age.


Sounds like the teacher doesn't have much rapport with kids. I'd like to think I'd say something.

Thank you for the reply. I wasn't sure if it was me or not. I think I might get there earlier tomorrow to talk to her. I don't want a confrontation,  but think I need to say something.  Just have to think of how I can get.my point across without starting an argument.

#6 born.a.girl

Posted 15 January 2020 - 02:54 PM

View PostMaree83, on 15 January 2020 - 02:51 PM, said:

Thank you for the reply. I wasn't sure if it was me or not. I think I might get there earlier tomorrow to talk to her. I don't want a confrontation,  but think I need to say something.  Just have to think of how I can get.my point across without starting an argument.


I wonder if she's used to teaching primary aged kids?


Yeah, difficult to nicely say 'you need to back off'.


Good that it's not just your girls though.

I'd be more inclined to talk to any management there - too far back for me to remember how the holiday programs worked and who was in charge.

#7 Maree83

Posted 15 January 2020 - 02:56 PM

Nice to know that it isn't all in my head, thanks guys!
Yes, I can understand making a child sit out of a class. I am under no illusions that my kids are perfect but they are still fairly young and she does seem to lack patience.  Doesn't t she much for her to get snappy. Although, today was worse than the other lessons, maybe she had a bad morning.
It did upset me the most, with what she said to my eldest. My daughter clearly wasn't trying to misbehave, she is genuinely fearful of certain tasks. The swim school was aware of this, and this has been explained to the instructors that teach her as well. In the past, most try to encourage her to do the task in a slightly different way, but no alternative was even offered.

#8 Bereckii

Posted 15 January 2020 - 02:57 PM

Is there a supervisor around? Would it be possible to have a chat to the supervisor (mention you feel that the teacher doesn't have much patience for this age group and that their instructions are not clear enough for this age group) and ask that they watch your lesson for 5-10 mins to get their (the supervisors) take?

#9 Bereckii

Posted 15 January 2020 - 03:03 PM

View PostMaree83, on 15 January 2020 - 02:56 PM, said:


...she is genuinely fearful of certain tasks. The swim school was aware of this, and this has been explained to the instructors that teach her as well. In the past, most try to encourage her to do the task in a slightly different way, but no alternative was even offered.

Yes. I would have thought that if a child is not willing/able to do a task the teacher should have a series of baby steps that they work on, with the view to getting the child to be able to eventually do the task. Not an all-or-nothing approach.

E.g. Child won't submerge head. Teacher to work on a series of steps over however many lessons it takes to achieve the goal of having child submerge head, such as: putting chin in water, putting side of head + one ear in water, putting mouth (not nose) in water and blowing bubbles, putting mouth + nose in water, putting face in water, etc, etc, etc, until finally child is willing to submerge head.

#10 melanieb530

Posted 15 January 2020 - 03:10 PM

Normal kid behaviour and teacher doesn’t sound suited to the role. I’d bring it up with the teacher and the supervisor.

#11 Maree83

Posted 15 January 2020 - 03:10 PM

^^Exactly.  That is the technique most instructors take. Not just give up on her and offer nothing else.  There were people at the reception,  but no supervisor at the time. Our classes are quite early so I don't think the supervisor has started.
My feelings feel a bit validated now....I never know if it is just my overprotective instincts kicking in or not.

#12 Belaire

Posted 15 January 2020 - 03:11 PM

I would definitely take that up with the pool or deck supervisor and mention that you don't feel her patience in correcting their concentration & explaining their tasks was at the appropriate level for their age and ability. My kids have been doing swimming lessons for 4 years and have had probably over a dozen instructors between them and we've never had one that lacked patience or spoke to them in that manner. Even now that they're older and they pull them up more on lack of concentration or mucking around with other kids in the class, they still don't talk down to them like that.

3 & 4 is pretty young in swimming and I'd expect a few kids of that age group would be reluctant to try some new things/need coaxing on things they found scary.

#13 Riotproof

Posted 15 January 2020 - 03:14 PM

Are they still operating now? I think calling and speaking to the supervisor might be good.

It’s a bit weird that they aren’t supervising all the classes though.

#14 chillipeppers

Posted 15 January 2020 - 03:35 PM

We had an instructor like this and I pulled my kids out of her class

#15 #notallcats

Posted 15 January 2020 - 03:43 PM

IME, all swim instructors are a bit grumpy!  But at the ages of your kids, I think they should be a bit nicer and understanding.  Older primary kids are  use to following and listening to instructions.  I'd ask to change class if possible, or maybe give her one more chance, might be a bad day.

#16 Ellie bean

Posted 15 January 2020 - 03:54 PM

I wouldn’t be happy, that would put one of my kids right off lessons. I’d switch instructors. I’ve seen kids (not mine for once!) behave way worse than that in lessons and the instructors have been far more patient.

#17 ekbaby

Posted 15 January 2020 - 04:26 PM

I don’t think it’s just you. My youngest DD has had great swim teachers and they are used to and even encourage kids putting their head under while waiting on the step - that kind of experimentation/risk taking is great for them getting a better understanding of water

As a one off I would let it go, if that teacher was back teaching my kids again I’d see if they could be in a different class and/or raise concerns with supervisor re: not a good match for that age group

#18 Zippypeaks

Posted 15 January 2020 - 04:47 PM

Ugh!! This is what erks me about swimming lessons. They're trained in teaching how to swim, not necessarily in the appropriate developmental stages of childhood. And that kids spend a big chunk of the time sitting, waiting for their turn! My kids swim instructor at least lets them practice putting their heads under the water while they wait! I'd say something, at least let them swap to a new instructor.

#19 ineedmorecoffee

Posted 15 January 2020 - 04:50 PM

We had the opposite problem where the instructor would waste half the lesson trying to convince one of the primary aged kids to participate - to the point the other 3 kids would miss out while this kid faffed about.

This kid just didn’t want to be there and everyone suffered, so we ended up changing to another class.

The op’s kids are younger so need a more patient instructor who can tailor instructions to suit the age of the children. Or maybe they were just having a bad day.

Edited by ineedmorecoffee, 15 January 2020 - 04:50 PM.


#20 ipsee

Posted 15 January 2020 - 04:51 PM

You could grab the teacher and say before class that your DD is a bit nervous, and needs a bit of gentle encouragement.

The last thing you need from swimming lessons is to have them put off swimming.

#21 Daphne27

Posted 15 January 2020 - 04:56 PM

I think you definitely need to say something before class tomorrow to the teqcher around their level of understanding and fears. Some of what you describe is unhelpful and not going to develop a useful relationship between your kids and swimming lessons. If after that tomorrows lesson is the same i would be chatting to the supervisor and requesting a different class.

Edited by Daphne27, 15 January 2020 - 04:58 PM.


#22 MarciaB

Posted 15 January 2020 - 05:04 PM

I would speak to the supervisor first thing in the morning.

There are different skills required for pre-schoolers compared to primary school age kids.  Sounds like your instructor is treating the little kids like they are older than they are.

Speak to the Supervisor and gently let her know that if things don't improve this lesson you will be requesting a change in instructor or a refund of your lessons.

#23 Mrs Twit

Posted 15 January 2020 - 05:31 PM

I would explain my concerns to the deck supervisor and they should observe the class. As someone else suggested try ringing them tonight if they are still open and discuss with someone before you get there tomorrow morning. The teacher is likely to be too busy back to back teaching to chat with parents. That is what the deck supervisor is for (well that's how it works at my kids swim school).

#24 Islander

Posted 15 January 2020 - 05:39 PM

I would definitely be unhappy with that (threats, developmentally inappropriate instructions, unsupportive teaching style) and would provide feedback. Can you email the swim school? My feeling is that the teacher won’t change... but hopefully they’ll at least offer you an alternative teacher then not employ this one for preschoolers again.

#25 Maree83

Posted 15 January 2020 - 05:44 PM

Thanks for the replies guys.  I rang the swim school and spoke with the supervisor and explained what happened.  Apparently this particular instructor usually teaches level 2 kids....mine are beginner and level 1 at best between them.
I have swapped instructors as I don't have any confidence in the one we had, more importantly I don't think my girls were confident with her either.
The lady I spoke to was very nice and easy to talk to.  Hopefully next week is more positive!




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