One Sunflower

my next job

on July 10, 2012

My sister sounded anxious on the phone. “I’m going to be teaching preschoolers.  I watched another teacher and she was using little songs with the kids.  Can you teach me some songs?  I keep thinking this would be a good job for you – maybe when you retire.”

But wait, you’re thinking,  don’t you already teach preschool? 
Yes, but my sister is teaching swimming lessons.  And, actually, I have thought about doing this when I retire.

I love the water and taught swimming lessons before and after college.  I was on the waterfront staff at Girl Scout camp where I taught swimming and water safety, canoeing and sailing. 

When I graduated from college and needed to work while I got my teaching certificate, I worked at a YWCA teaching to all ages, (including the man I eventually married!)

My sister began her employment career the same way I did and returned to teaching swimming when she left computer programming.

I would love to resume this work when I retire and just hope some pool somewhere will hire a flabby, veined-leg old fogey to teach.  I’ll know the songs!

My sister continued to vent her anxiety about the age of her new students.   “I’ve always taught adults. Kids can smell your fear – just like horses.”  Well yes, I admitted, kids do seem to know when I’m not feeling very secure in my work with them. We chatted some more and I gave her a few song ideas but she didn’t think she could keep them in her head.

She called this afternoon to update me after her first day of classes.  She taught 3 sessions and felt more confident as the day progressed.  “I admitted to a dad this was my first time teaching young children.  I probably shouldn’t have done that.  But he made me feel good when he told me how pleased he was that his son was so comfortable with me in the water.  Maybe he was just doing that to make me feel better.”

Maybe so, but you know what sis, all those techniques you use to teach adults — they’ll work with kids too.  Routines and baby steps, ending sessions with skills students are most sure of – the same things you do in your other lessons.

Songs?  Just call me again and I’ll sing you some songs.  “5 little speckled frogs, sitting on a speckled log…..”


8 responses to “my next job

  1. I am smiling as a think about how fun this would be. And fulfilling, too. Such good advice about how good teaching techniques work for all ages. Especially mixed with a little bit of song. I am slightly envious that you have an idea for a retirement job as I am pondering that myself.

  2. Love it! I wish my swimming teachers would have sung to me. They just said jump – I was afraid of the water for years. ( I did over come it and taught swimming myself in high school).
    Love the good teaching thoughts – adults and kids are all learners.

  3. I am glad your sister knows to come to you for wise advice!

  4. I love the whole idea of doing this again someday…it took your post to help me remember how much fun it is teaching them to blow bubbles for the first time ….and turn their head… and float ! xo nanc

  5. Michelle @litlearningzone says:

    This is so true! It doesn’t matter what age you are working with – teaching the students is all that matters. Lucky your sister had you for a little advice and so glad she survived and is feeling more confident!

  6. Donna Smith says:

    Strategies for teaching and learning are the same no matter the area or age!
    And a little song helps everything and everyone!
    Hope you get your dream retirement job someday!

  7. It’s great your sister has you to call for a little song, too! For isn’t that what you gave her, a little support, i.e. a little song. It’s good advice, to gain trust, no matter the age, is what to do. It sounds as if she’s off and running, er, swimming!

  8. The songs in swim class are the best. I thought they were a little hokey when my daughter went for her first lesson, but then I grew to love them. She loved them, so therefore I did too. Isn’t that how it’s supposed to work!??!

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