To expect my dd's swimming teacher to listen to my views??

(58 Posts)
Squiffie Sat 12-Jan-13 17:22:52

DD started swimming lessons last week. I had concerns about her wearing armbands/rings as she's 2 and quite tiny even the 'flat' rings take up half her arm and don't really stay on! The teacher was fab - she said as I was in the water with her there was no need for bands and offers use of a noodle/woggle which dd loved!

Anyway this week we had an arrogant male teacher (who apparently is her actual teacher) who I insisted she wear the armbands or else I could find her another lesson to attend! I tried to explain that the previous week she had not had them and he refused to budge on the matter (dh was in the water so gave in) and basically said it was his way or not at all! He said he needed to wear the armbands because he had more control that way, although not entirely sure what he meant by that :/

Am I being unreasonable to expect my dd (and every child in the class - 6 of them) to be treated as individuals according to their needs rather than what the swimming teacher needs?

DamnBamboo Sat 12-Jan-13 17:25:13

If you want that, then you need to pay for private lessons I'm afraid.
The reality of it is, if anything happens under his care he is responsible and so it's not unreasonable of him to ask for this really.

Euphemia Sat 12-Jan-13 17:28:43

He's the teacher, his rules apply.

fluffypillow Sat 12-Jan-13 17:29:44

I can't see how he can be held responsible if it's a session where a parent is in the water with them. Surely he can advise, but not insist?

I think he sounds like a control freak.


edam Sat 12-Jan-13 17:30:49

I'm afraid there are six children in the class so no, your dd doesn't get individual treatment. The teacher can't cater for every parent's request x 6. You can try to explain to the teacher why you think the armbands are a bad idea for your child, but that's it, really.

edam Sat 12-Jan-13 17:31:35

and if you don't like the teacher, find another class.

SamSmalaidh Sat 12-Jan-13 17:32:00

What on earth is the point of a swimming lesson for a 2 year old?

MMMarmite Sat 12-Jan-13 17:39:30

I don't know the precise set up of the class (how many adults per kid? did they all have parents in the water?), but ultimately I think it's his decision. He is responsible for the safety of the 6 kids, and has to use his own training and judgement rather than whatever the parent thinks. Just because the first instructor felt comfortable waiving the usual rules, doesn't mean they all have to.

But if the rules don't work for your daughter, you would not be unreasonable to leave and go elsewhere.

DamnBamboo Sat 12-Jan-13 17:41:37

Of course he can insist. He is the instructor, has presumably instructed many children (unless he's new) and probably has a good idea as to what should be done.

If you don't like him, then move.

MMMarmite Sat 12-Jan-13 17:41:59

"he had more control that way, although not entirely sure what he meant by that :/" You make it sound like he's just doing it because he's putting his desire for control first. But remember, control is vital in a potentially dangerous situation, so his being in control is ultimately for the safety of everyone.

CSIJanner Sat 12-Jan-13 17:42:01

My 4 year old and 11month old both swim without armbands or woggles (the baby has me as the arm bands/back float whilst being taught but she can swim underwater and up, holding onto the side). If you're in the pool with your LO and feel comfortable, then you shouldn't need more than a woggle in the pool for a swimming lesson. Both of mine started swimming lessons before they were 5months old and by 2, my eldest was swimming, sometimes with or without woggle on their own. I suggest you change the teacher or move to a shared private lesson (2 child = half the price) to avoid this. I understand why the teacher said this - whilst he's off teaching other children. On deeper water, it means your childis afloat but I'm with you - I don't understand why he's insisting on this if you're in the pool with your child.

Sugarice Sat 12-Jan-13 17:46:49

Yes you are being unreasonable, he's the teacher.

Find someone who you like.

Squiffie Sat 12-Jan-13 17:51:14

All kids in the pool have a parent with them. I wish it was as easy as just finding another lesson but they are few and far between most with waiting lists of 18 months plus. He doesn't 'teach' anything, he doesn't even lead - no games, no songs, nothing! I want to keep her there as it gives a pathway to the main lessons when she's a little older. My 4 year old ds attends his lesson straight after and loves it! His teacher is completely different - the kids have swim aids in line with what they are comfortable with (armbands, woggle, nothing) and there are no adults in the water! I'm not asking for her to be completely without floats just to be allowed an alternative.

Those people who think 'his class, his rules' how would you feel if this was applied in the same way in schools? Teachers are required by law to differentiate their lessons in order to meet the needs of each child in their class. One size does not fit all especially where the size if bloody armbands is concerned

Casserole Sat 12-Jan-13 17:52:07

His lesson, he gets to run it how he likes.
If you don't like it, you switch.

Casserole Sat 12-Jan-13 17:52:40

ps if swimming lessons for a 2 year old create these problems, good luck with school grin

yellowsubmarine53 Sat 12-Jan-13 17:55:11

Yes, teachers in schools are required to differentiate their lessons but some basic safety rules apply to everyone.

OP hasn't said anything about the actual teaching, so we have no information that he wasn't differentiating according to swimming ability.

Casserole Sat 12-Jan-13 17:56:53

School teachers are required to differentiate in order to meet the needs of the child, not to facilitate the personal preferences of their parents.

complexnumber Sat 12-Jan-13 18:01:32

"Those people who think 'his class, his rules' how would you feel if this was applied in the same way in schools? Teachers are required by law to differentiate their lessons in order to meet the needs of each child in their class"

But teachers are not required to teach according to how a parent sees fit.

MerylStrop Sat 12-Jan-13 18:02:50

It really doesn't matter. Were I you I would just take her swimming myself and just have her name on the list for the swimming lessons at a more appropriate age.

It is in No Way Possible comparable to school, where there is a whole lot more adherence to rules for common good than differentiation according to preferences.

DearPrudence Sat 12-Jan-13 18:08:03

I don't see the point of swimming lessons for a 2 year old either. Just take her swimming a lot.

Group lessons didn't suit my DS (when he was 5), so I switched him to private lessons.

Squiffie Sat 12-Jan-13 18:10:24

I don't see how you can be any more 'safe' than having your mum or dad with you. He wasn't differentiating in any way - neither on swimming ability nor preference. I was asking to take her needs into consideration considering she couldn't move her arms with the armbands on.

I would move her because all the teachers my dc had thought arm bands were a bad idea as they stopped them being able to actually move their arms and swim.

Lessons at that age with a parent per child used to use a woggle/float/nothing depending on what they were learning and how happy the child was - some would hold onto a float and kick, some still needed their parents to hold them.

Squiffie Sat 12-Jan-13 18:36:08

See this is what I experienced with ds but we've moved house since then!

Floggingmolly Sat 12-Jan-13 18:36:56

No games, no songs, nothing!
You do have huge expectations of a swimming class, tbh. Maybe stick with playgroups till she's a bit older?

HollaAtMeBaby Sat 12-Jan-13 18:38:34

What is a woggle? confused

I can't decide whether you're BU, can see both sides... why don't you just teach your DD to swim in the baby pool while your DS is having his lesson? I can't imagine what a 2yo will actually learn in a lesson. I have taught children to swim, there's no amazing secret to it. I'm sure she could still join the 4yo swimming classes when she's old enough, it's not like going into the final year of a physics degree course...

MerylStrop Sat 12-Jan-13 18:42:06

Look, clearly this just isn't the class for you.

Find another.

Easy peasy.

AndABigBirdInaPearTree Sat 12-Jan-13 18:43:27

weird, I've never seen a single set of armbands on a kid having lessons and we have spent a very large part of our lives around pools.

I taught both of mine until they needed stroke work, it is very easy to do at that age. Spider walking on the edge, kicking while pretending to be a motor boat, ring a ring a roses, sitting on side and jumping in, blowing bubbles etc.

AndABigBirdInaPearTree Sat 12-Jan-13 18:44:53

and actually IMO armbands slow down the learning process and make kids dependant on them.

OrangePetals Sat 12-Jan-13 18:47:36

I don't think you are wrong expecting a 2yo swimming lesson to have songs and games, it's meant to be fun.

Have a look round for other lessons, there are tonnes of small companies doing lessons in my area, although I know about most by word of mouth.

Or just grt your teeth and put up if you want her in the next class, but there might be a waiting list for that class, do they really prioritise kids in the younger class?

Squiffie Sat 12-Jan-13 19:01:26

Floggingmolly the ASA suggest that a parent and toddler swimming lesson should consist of games and rhymes to get children happy in the water and tach through play! I find it a bit condescending of you to suggest we "stick to playgroups"

HollaAtMeBaby a woggle is a kind of float sometimes know as a noodle, sometimes used in aquafit classes. I'd love to teach her myself but the family swim times are usually when I'm working sad

cakebar Sat 12-Jan-13 19:01:56

OP YANBU. I have been to classes for that age group for 3 DC, various teachers. All have advised whatever floatation device they favour (and different teachers advise different things) and all have supported parents to try what they think best for their dc. All have used games and songs for this age group. Can you swop to a different teacher within the same swim school?

Squiffie Sat 12-Jan-13 19:03:59

OrangePetals Yup, they prioritise kids that have 'come through the ranks' as it were :/

bangersmashandbeans Sat 12-Jan-13 19:07:56

YANBU. There is lots of point to swimming lessons for two year olds - my DD has been doing lessons since she was 12 weeks and as of Monday will be doing lessons without me even needing to get in the water. At her lessons no armbands are allowed at any stage or age as if a parent is with them there is no need and they can become reliant on them. They do use woggles in just one section of the class. I would find a different swimming lesson franchise and have a chat with the teachers before you sign up. The lessons I go to are done by ability and not age which makes a lot of sense too. Good luck and don't give up as swimming is so important a skill to learn in my opinion!

Booyhoo Sat 12-Jan-13 19:18:11

OP in life with children there will be battles. you need to pick which ones are worth fighting. this is not one of them. just put the bands on her or teach her to swim yourself during play sessions.

5madthings Sat 12-Jan-13 19:23:52

Yanbu, what cake bar said only five kids worth of swimming lessons not three! smile

Squiffie Sat 12-Jan-13 19:34:49

I'm so pleased there are people who get where I'm coming from! bangersmashandbeans I did speak to them prior to the kids starting which makes it all the more frustrating. Anyway, I'm writing a formal letter of complaint as his attitude stinks, I am however going to include haw great I think ds's teacher and the substitute teacher are!

McNewPants2013 Sat 12-Jan-13 19:39:45

Are you buying the right armbands

Yfronts Sat 12-Jan-13 19:58:03

My 2 year old uses a woggle only in his group swimming lesson

FeistyLass Sat 12-Jan-13 20:03:41

I'd swap classes or drop classes for a while if possible and take your dc on your own.
I had a similar issue with ds' swimming lessons. He'd been timid of the water and for the first lesson the teacher was brilliant and he was swimming on his own with a noodle. The second week it was a different teacher (who was to be his main teacher) and she insisted on armbands and the children being ducked under the water shock. I persevered for a few weeks but it reached the stage that ds was crying as soon as we left the changing room.
Her approach worked for other children but not for him so we stopped classes and I went back to taking ds on my own. We quickly built up his confidence again.
If you don't trust the teacher then your dc will pick up on that and it will make for an unhappy time all round. Trying to force them to act differently with a letter of complaint seems like a recipe for disaster.

TotallyBS Sat 12-Jan-13 20:20:52

A formal letter of complaint? Yup, that will endear your DC to the teacher?

If you feel this strongly about this arm band thing then take your child out and do the teaching yourself. Problem solved.
It's definitely not worth all the discussion or letter writing.

rollmopses Sat 12-Jan-13 20:36:19

If you take your DC to these 'lessons' to have fun and get used to the water, then listen to the teacher or find one you like better. However, if you want your DC to learn to swim then find a teacher who doesn't use armbands or similar devises as these are counterproductive to actually learning to swim.

MerylStrop Sat 12-Jan-13 20:39:50

Oh yeah that's great, make the bloke's life more difficult because he doesn't teach the class the way you want it taught.

Really, you should just find a class that suits you.

Portofino Sat 12-Jan-13 20:42:27

No songs? What do songs have to do with swimming?

theleanandhungrytype Sat 12-Jan-13 20:43:19

what casserole said

His attitude may stink, you're isn't looking great with formal letters of complaint to be honest. What if it was his first ever unsupervised lesson or something? But no, just because he didn't do what some parent said, fire up the complaint letters.

What are teachers supposed to do if each parent comes up to him with their own ideas of how the class should be run!

Happymum22 Sat 12-Jan-13 20:52:25

I've taught swimming before.
Every teacher has their own opinion and way of teaching, they get the best from children from their method. All children are different though and I hope he will assess your DD and whether arm bands are best practice.

On my course I was told armbands restrict movement in the arms and so not good for more than very initial stages/ on a beach/ on holiday.

I personally can't rate the woggle highly enough- it really is, for me, the way to get results.

See how your DC progresses with this guy, go with an open mind and SHOW the teacher (and your DC) you are supportive (even if inside your head you aren't 100%) and positive, say thanks at the end to show your DC how much your respect the teacher. Then see how things are, if neccesary move your DC.

Happymum22 Sat 12-Jan-13 20:55:51

Oh just saw DC is 2, scrap my post.
At this age swimming is about confidence building, not learning to swim properly. Physically they will really struggle to learn at that age.
YANBU to expect games, songs etc. but if your not happy just go elsewhere, take them yourself occasionally and when they are an appropriate age then find proper swimming lessons.

Squiffie Sat 12-Jan-13 21:43:31

It wasn't his first unsupervised lesson - he's not a young lad with lots to learn - he's an arrogant man who refused to discuss possible alternatives. I'm writing a letter of complaint about his attitude, not his teaching method. A letter that will also include praise of other members of staff who were much friendlier and far more willing to meet the needs of the individuals in their class. If he doesn't want to be complained about then perhaps he should think twice about speaking to customers like dirt.

I actually went to the first lesson with an open mind. DS has never used armbands and never will but I was open to the fact that dd may well be required to wear armbands. However the 2 teachers I encountered the first week were amazing - friendly, encouraging, adaptable and made me feel at ease - complete contrast the the stubborn, arrogant man I met today.

I'm not asking him to do anything difficult, I'm just asking for my dd not to be forced to wear armbands that are clearly too big and completely unsuitable!

3littlefrogs Sat 12-Jan-13 21:45:14

Sorry - I couldn't get past the idea of someone paying for swimming lessons for a 2 year old......................

ahmnoclassyladybut Sat 12-Jan-13 21:52:30

I taught first one to swim by taking them to swimming lessons from around that age.

Second one came along and tbh I couldn't face it all again, I wish I had though because he goes once a week for a term a year with school and swims like a brick while the other swims, well not like a fish but at least like pumice stone (I think that floats)

maddening Sat 12-Jan-13 21:59:12

Puddleducks do lessons through every age group and don't do arm bands. Although at 2 they are still in the pool with you.

mercibucket Sat 12-Jan-13 22:10:25

All the swim schools here use arm rings - apart from those for babies eg waterbabies
In all honesty it sounds like a mountain out of a molehill but certainly move to another class.

DonderandBlitzen Sat 12-Jan-13 22:13:02

I've found swimming teachers quite unbending about not making allowances for individuals. In my case I asked if i could get in with my daughter initially or if she could wear armbands initially, as she was scared of going in without me/armbands. The swimming teacher said no to both, but they have to be like that. They have to insist that people all do things their way, because they are responsible for children's safety in the water. They can't have each child doing something different as it would be harder to organise the lesson. You just have to accept it or find another lesson.

sameoldlovebunny Sat 12-Jan-13 22:38:26

if you don't like the way they teach, find somewhere else.

MerylStrop Sun 13-Jan-13 16:57:33

I think you are the arrogant one here.

It's his class, and he doesn't have to adapt it to suit you (and everyone else who fancies a different permutation). It's your prerogative as the paying customer to choose a different class.

Unless he was actually intimidating/offensive (as opposed to brisk as you might be when trying to begin a class promptly for other paying customers) a complaint is possibly both spiteful and futile.

marquesas Sun 13-Jan-13 17:04:33

Where are the lessons - at a council run leisure centre or a private facility? I've been to under 3 swimming classes in two different council areas and both were games and songs as you expected, neither used armbands and nor do any other pools I've been to with older children.

I'd be thinking hard about an alternative venue - the lessons for older children won't differ much whereever you go.

Floggingmolly Sun 13-Jan-13 17:25:22

Why don't you just pay for private lessons, if you want the class tailored to your requirements?

Bobyan Sun 13-Jan-13 18:30:19

Why don't' you ask your son's teacher to teach your children privately if it's that much of an issue to you?

In my experience armbands restrict movement in the water, so YANBU to question these methods.
DS has been going to swimming classes since he was 5 months old and proper lessons since he was 1 year - and they DO learn through songs and games. Rhythm is hugely important in swimming and this is the best way to teach that kind of control. Also - it should be fun!
I don't know what to suggest - the teacher should explain his reasons to you and if you are still unhappy, I guess you have to leave and find a class that better suits your expectations.
And to the posters who don't see the point in lessons - my DS is 3.5 and can swim a length of the pool unaided. He has two lessons a week, which he loves, and we also go socially once a week, where we play. His confidence in water is fantastic, and he swims using proper techniques, which are only going to help him as he gets older.
It's not for everyone, but there are lots of reasons to do it. smile

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