As the second week of the second set of swimming lessons draws to a close, I’ve been paying attention to the way my kids learn with different teachers.
Arlo’s last session was taught by a young man. He was a great teacher; enthusiastic with high-fives, in control of his class, able to see one person’s progress even as he was facing a different direction helping another kid float. When Arlo got the same teacher for his next session, we were all happy. The next day we were sad because that teacher was very sick and couldn’t return to teaching. Arlo’s class got a female teacher. She is very nice and competent (and perky!) as well but a little out of her league with a class of five, four of whom are boys, one of whom likes to cannonball and another of whom swims sideways.
Seriously, this kid leaves the wall with the group every time and ends up at 90 degrees from where he started. Woe betide anyone who swims in a straight line near him because they are getting run. the hell. over.
Arlo’s progress has been pretty good, but not fantastic in this second session. That’s OK. He’s still swimming and it’s a great twenty-five minutes.
Also can I just say: it has rained ONCE in four weeks of outdoor swimming lessons, which is like some kind of west coast miracle.
Eli’s last session was taught by the perky young woman who is now Arlo’s teacher. He did not submerge and therefore he did not pass. This session, Eli’s teacher is a different young woman. (She has fluorescent orange fingernails. You can see them from twenty feet away.) Eli spent all last week not submerging and playing with a rubber duck. This week, a new teacher joined the old teacher (so now there is an amazing 1:1 ratio of student to teacher) and the new teacher is a guy. Eli loves this guy. I kind of do, too. Today, three days after being taught by this guy, Eli submerged. Repeatedly.
So “good” teachers are the right teachers for a kid at any given moment in that kid’s development and that’s both impossible to predict, I think, and should serve to take the pressure off teachers to be amazing, life-altering, etc. Swim or school or music teachers. Any kind. You teach to the best of your ability and kids learn to the best of their abilities and if you’re lucky you make a love connection and if not it’s just a meh sort of time and if you’re really incompatible, well, don’t worry, it’ll be over soon.
I’m holding tight to this feeling as we approach another elementary school year. I hear a lot from other worried parents about this teacher that teacher which teacher. I think I know which teacher would be right for Eli. But in three weeks he’ll be a different kid again and I might be totally wrong. Time to let Big School swoop him up, tuck him in its fragrant armpit and help him decide what and who he wants to become.
Relinquishing control to other teachers,* some of the time. That’s what it’s all about.
*unless they’re really awful.