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to be cross about DS1's swimming lesson

(37 Posts)
SpudtheScarecrow Fri 02-Oct-09 13:17:19

DS1 has just started swimming lessons. He's 4 and only just made the age cut-off so he's the youngest in the class. He loves swimming and is quite confident in the water. This week was his 4th lesson

However, he hasn't really settled in the class as I have to watch from a viewing gallery rather than by the poolside - this means he can only see me watching from certain bits of the pool. Until this week he's just been grumbling about it a bit but this week he was really upset - trying to run after me, crying etc.

I managed to get him into the pool and retreated up to the gallery. I actually thought he did quite well considering he was so upset - he stayed in the water and did all the activities tho he was a bit teary and asked the teacher a couple of times how much longer the lesson had to go.

Anyway, when I went down to collect him the teacher came up to me and her first words were 'He's been a complete nightmare!!' I did point out that he was young for the class but she said they didn't use to take them until they were 5 and that was better.

I know her job is to teach swimming and has other children in the class but I'd have thought she might at least work with me a bit to settle him in? I could understand if he'd been like it all the time but this was the first week. Her attitude just seemed to be that I shouldn't bring him. It can't be the first time a child's been upset, can it?

So AIBU to be a bit shock at her calling my son a complete nightmare (he is my pfb which is why I'm asking) and the fact that she has no strategies to settle him in (I was a teacher before being a SAHM and we usually have a strategy for everything!) or should I give in gracefully and wait til he's older?

Thanks to anyone who's made it this far!

MovingOutOfBlighty Fri 02-Oct-09 13:20:54

Start later.

My dd hated swimming lessons until she turned 5. She has now 'caught up' in a month.
It must be very hard to settle one child in such a dangerous environment. i think she was tactless but personally, I wouldn't be happy as the parent of another child in that group if the teacher had to spend lots of time settling in one child and not getting on with the lesson as it is usually only 30mins long.

I would just take him yourself for a while longer or perhaps invest in a one to one lesson. Good luck

3littlefrogs Fri 02-Oct-09 13:23:59

Ahh - poor little soul. Leave it a year and then see. Just take him yourself so he can play and enjoy your company.

thedolly Fri 02-Oct-09 13:25:23

The combination of his age and the fact that you are watching from a distance is just wrong for him atm. Either find some lessons elsewhere where you can watch from the poolside or wait until he is a bit older.

itsmeolord Fri 02-Oct-09 13:26:19

I think she was rude, she could have been more tactful. However, she was probably really stressed with having to try and settle/calm your ds as well as give a productive lesson to the other children and keep them all safe.

In my opinion, swimming lessons are not like school lessons. There is a bigger element of risk, it is harder to keep small children under control in the water as they will naturally want to play about.

So, I think YANBU to be fed up that she said your son was a nightmare as there are better ways of expressing yourself, however, I think YABU to leave him in that class as he is not settling and should perhaps wait until he is a little older with plenty of trips to the pool with you in the meantime to build his confidence in the water.

DSD is only starting swimming lessons this year ( she is 9) because she was too clingy to go on her own up until now. All children are different and develop their own independence at different ages. smile

Pikelit Fri 02-Oct-09 13:27:58

He's not ready, is he? Leave it until he is a little older and try again. You don't want him to become iffy about the whole idea of swimming.

It mayn't be the most tactful way to refer to a child but I can absolutely see where his swimming teacher is coming from! It isn't her job to give your son extra settling-in time at the expense of the rest of the class.

FritesMenthe Fri 02-Oct-09 13:28:22

YABU - she is a swimming teacher not a school teacher, and only sees your child for 30mins a week. I wouldn't expect her to have 'strategies'.

Take him out and try again in a year whne he's more confident. Otherwise you risk putting him off for life.

mazzystartled Fri 02-Oct-09 13:28:53

Well she was very unprofessional and indiscreet to say he had been a nightmare (even if that was what she thought).

Tbh I think it sounds like he's not ready yet. I'd carry on doing what you were doing before for another 6 months or a year and leave the formal stuff a bit longer.

BTW has he just started school? It might be too much all at once.

paisleyleaf Fri 02-Oct-09 13:31:46

These lessons don't sound right for him at this stage.
I think (if possible) find different, more relaxed, happy, fun classes for him where you can be around.
Or take him a lot yourself to get his confidence up, until he's a bit older.

LilyBolero Fri 02-Oct-09 13:32:03

Dd started at 4, wasn't ready at all, although was very confident in the water and could just about swim. She just wasn't ready for the 'swimming lesson' environment.

We gave her a year off, but carried on taking her. She then started lessons again, loved them from the first moment and is doing brilliantly, and was the first out of her swimming class to move up a level, even though she had been 'learning' the shortest time.

Mutt Fri 02-Oct-09 13:32:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bigboots Fri 02-Oct-09 13:33:47

Try getting out of his sight completely. If he can see you or thinks he will be able to see you at some point it will be in his mind all lesson, and he will be upset until he does glimpse you. If he KNOWS he can't see you until the end, he may be able to accept this and focus on the lesson. If he can't, then maybe he is not quite ready and in my experience, being poolside will make it worse!

SoupDragon Fri 02-Oct-09 13:34:19

She can't work with you to settle him. It is a swimming lesson and she has to concentrate on all the children, not yours.

Find a class that is better suited to your DSs needs.

thedolly Fri 02-Oct-09 13:37:47

Oh, I forgot to say YABU

SpudtheScarecrow Fri 02-Oct-09 13:52:54

OK, thanks thought I probably was being a bit U. Just felt she could have been a bit understanding. Oh well, will leave it for a while. DS hasn't started school this time -he's a Sept birthday and I'd thought it might be fun to do this before he's in school full time. Don't want to put him off swimming for life!

LilyBolero Fri 02-Oct-09 13:57:49

If he's not in school yet, why not look for a fun session where you go in the water with him, and give him a bit more confidence at following instructions from the teacher.

MovingOutOfBlighty Fri 02-Oct-09 13:58:42

Spud, is she quite young? I have noticed the word 'nightmare' is bandied about quite alot by the younger collegues I work with, without much thought to it!

SpudtheScarecrow Fri 02-Oct-09 14:00:41

That's probably what I'll do Lily, thanks. I just need to make more effort to take him. I have DS2 aged 2 as well so we usually only go when DH is around. Will try to find a session where we can all go

SpudtheScarecrow Fri 02-Oct-09 14:05:00

No, the opposite, Moving, quite old-school. If she'd have said. as everyone one here has, 'I don't think he's ready' I'd have agreed it was just though we were being deliberately awkward and spoiling her class. Particularly when it was the first time he'd been upset. Back to just splashing around I think

happystory Fri 02-Oct-09 14:08:32

Well I do think it's terrible that she called him a nightmare unless she was saying it in a rueful what-can-you-do type of way. Agreed,she is a swimming instructor and has the rest of the class to think of but she should be able to deal with all aspects of the class, like nervous children, children who don't listen, etc etc.

I would take him out. It might put him off if you persist, and it'll certainly stress you. Just go at weekends en famille, he'll be ready in his own time.

MovingOutOfBlighty Fri 02-Oct-09 14:11:43

We had an old school ballet teacher for my dd. Very strict and scarey. At first it seemed funny, then my dd HATED her when she had been told off one too many times.
Gave up soon after that as seemed no point upsetting dd!

Think I would definitely leave it for now and go back in the summer holiday and have a nice different teacher.

SpudtheScarecrow Fri 02-Oct-09 14:12:39

Thanks Happy, I think the worst thing was in my little pfb bubble I was thinking how well he'd done to complete the class even though he was upset! She seemed so surprised that a child was upset and I wouldn't have thought my DS could possibly the first. I would have thought she'd have had something to suggest even if it was leave it for a while.

Smithagain Fri 02-Oct-09 14:16:10

Blimey, she should try teaching at the pool where DD1 had lessons. Unsettled children were completely par for the course, there and the teachers didn't describe them as nightmares as far as I can recall hmm.

So no, I don't think you are at all unreasonable to be upset. But if they are not really geared up for children his age, I would probably agree it's best to leave it.

purpleduck Fri 02-Oct-09 14:19:36

Both my kids love water - love the pool - but neither of them caught on to swimming properly until they were about 6/7

Save yourself alot of hassle and money and wait

SpudtheScarecrow Fri 02-Oct-09 14:20:50

Thanks Smith, good to know I'm not alone! I didn't expect her to neglect the other kids but a kind word or 2 might have helped

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