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to complain about ds swimming teacher?

(43 Posts)
ErnestTheBavarian Mon 26-Oct-09 20:50:16

Seriously pissed off, but dunno if I just forget about it, or complain to the pool.

Paid £100 for course of lessons for ds (5, almost 6).

Today was the last one. I was watching from the cafe through glass screen, so couldn't do anything, as I was landside with dd (16 months). He spent the entire lesson standing at the side of the pool shivering, bar literally 30-40 seconds where he 'swam' about 20m.
Last week wasn't much better.

I challenged the teacher then and she just said he didn't want to get in because he was cold angry . I pointed out maybe he was cold because he was stood on the side for ages.

If in school a kid can't just say I don't want to do the sums, so the maths teachers says ok, don't do them, or the kid say they don't want to play netball and the PE teacher say, ok no problem. I paid really loads of money for this swim course, and she basically left him to shiver out of the water at the side of the pool.

AIBU? He is only 5, so feel he needs encouragement and maybe even being firmly told to get in the pool and get on with it. Obviously it's more convenient for her to effectively have 1 less pupil to bother about.

Or do I just never take him to swimming lessons again and hope he doesn't drown angry

SorciereAnna Mon 26-Oct-09 20:52:21

How many pupils in the group? How many lessons of how long?

What were the rest of the lessons like?
How many other children were in the lesson?

LilyBolero Mon 26-Oct-09 20:56:53

Yabu - she has other pupils to concentrate on, if your ds wouldn't get in, (and kids can be VERY determined) then she has to focus on the other kids who ARE happy to get in.

Ds1 and dd have both had days where they refused to get in. Nothing the teacher could do, the teacher is there to teach swimming, not to cajole children into behaving.

ErnestTheBavarian Mon 26-Oct-09 20:56:59

ABout 10 kids, all similar age,

Lessons 1 hour long (too long imo) spend about 10 minutes jumping into shallowish trainer pool (about waist height on me) then 40 minutes with her doing 'lengths' in the full size pool - many kids stood on side for a lot of the time, but only my ds basically all the time, then ending with 5 or 10 minutes in the jacuzzi.


ErnestTheBavarian Mon 26-Oct-09 21:00:21

ok, fair point LB, otoh, he didn't want to get in cos he was cold, but he was cold cos he was stood on side of pool...

I've taken ds1 & 2 to swimming lessons too when they were younger, and they def never stayed out of the water for so long, and their teacher wouldn't have allowed them too either, and also she included all the kids - obviously there were times when they had to wait thier turn, but never prolonged periods of standing on the side which we had this time (toher kids too, not just my ds, but my ds much worse. Basically the last 2 weeks he's barely been in the water)

With 10 children, she can't spend time encouraging your reluctant son into the pool unfortunately.

bumpsoon Mon 26-Oct-09 21:00:35

TBH you would probably be better looking for one on one swimming lessons for your DS ,i think i paid about £15 a lesson for my son ,so for a £100 you would probably be getting better value for money ,plus he would learn alot quicker

ErnestTheBavarian Mon 26-Oct-09 21:01:56

Thanks bumpsoon, I think you're absolutely right. Thanks for the tip

IlanaK Mon 26-Oct-09 21:02:32

Sounds terrible. My kids have been going to Swimming Nature (central London) for years. Ds1 started at 5 and ds2 started at 4. Plenty of kids that age don't want to get in. A good teacher will be skilled at getting them into the pool (having watched years of lessons I have seen this again and again). 30 minutes is the right amount of time for a lesson - an hour is crazy! The classes we do are group classes of between 8 and 10 depending on the age/level. They cost us £5 a go so it is not about the money either. Both my older boys have learned to swim extremely well (despite being reluctant swimmers in the beginning) due to skilled teachers who knew how to make it fun and motivate them. I have never seen them standing on the side of the pool for longer than it takes to queue up and jump in. When ds2 was learning to swim at first, there was a lot more standing around (in the pool) and he used to get cold so we got him a shortie wetsuit. But the standing around was not to the extent you are talking about.

FlamingoBingo Mon 26-Oct-09 21:03:09


"Or do I just never take him to swimming lessons again and hope he doesn't drown"

Or you could remind yourself that somehow lots of us learnt to swim without lessons and take him swimming yourself and teach him then!

Danthe4th Mon 26-Oct-09 21:04:08

did all the other children get in? bit difficult for the teacher if the others all got in and he said no. An hour is too long, my ds's have a half hour lesson once a week for £45 for 10 weeks and then we go for a practise on a sunday morning. Perhaps give it a break for a term or have a few one on one lessons they are around £8/£10 per half hour at our local pool. Or at a private pool its about £15.Ask some other mums what they think of local lessons and perhaps try somewhere else.

donnie Mon 26-Oct-09 21:04:26

why did you book him in for lessons which are one hour long if you think it's too long?

shockers Mon 26-Oct-09 21:05:31

My son used to get really cold and developed a fear of going into the water. I sent him in his shorty wetsuit until it had passed and he had become a better swimmer. Now he swims for a club and the training is so relentless that he doesn't have time to get cold but it was a real issue that could have easily put him off swimming.

ErnestTheBavarian Mon 26-Oct-09 21:18:38

donnie, it was supposed to be 12 shorter lessons, but for some reason compressed into 10 longer lessons, so I didn't intend to.

FlamingoBingo, I have 4 children, including a 16 month old, so looking after all 4 plus managing to teach 1 to swim at the same time is a bit much for me to cope with. If I say I'm taking ds3, ds1 & 2 are upset as they really love swimming.

I have up till now had v. good experiences with ds1 & 2 swimming lessons, so a bit shocked at how comparitivel crap this teacher is.

But the majority seem to think IABU so I won't complain to the pool then I suppose. Ta for input.

neolara Mon 26-Oct-09 21:34:56

I think the lessons sound terrible. My dd (aged 5) goes to swimming lessons. There are about 6 in the class and the teacher has all of them moving and doing activities pretty much for the whole 30 mins. They never stand on the side of the pool just waiting for others to have a turn. I'm afraid I think the teacher needs to plan the activities better. I'd change classes if poss.

bethylou Mon 26-Oct-09 21:43:46

I might cause offence here to any swimming teachers, but as a qualified teacher who then qualified to teach swimming, I was horrified to find out how little training you actualy have to do to call yourself a swimming teacher.
It can be difficult to persuade a child to get in the water if they don't want to (especially when you have other pupils swimming) but at the very least I would have suggested he should go back and get changed if he really had no intention of getting in. This is more an issue of managing children than teaching swimming and they won't have had training on that (unless it has changed in the last 5 years since I did mine).
I would raise it as an issue at the pool because I would want the teacher to have a discussion with a superior about how to manage the situation with others in the future - your DS won't be the only one!

MaryBS Mon 26-Oct-09 21:49:30

Actually I think YANBU, you've paid for something and it hasn't happened. IMHO you should get a refund!

floatyjosmum Mon 26-Oct-09 21:50:41

YANBU at all,

i pay £33 for 6 weeks of 45 mins for my 2,
there are 3 in the beginners class with 2 instructors and about 6 in the nextclass up with either 1 or 2 adults.
although its not their job to cajole them into the pool - would annoy me if my kids lessons were affected - they still shouldnt let kids sit out as much as that!

RumourOfAHurricane Mon 26-Oct-09 21:53:43

Message withdrawn

EvilTwins Mon 26-Oct-09 22:06:09

I think it's a tricky one. My DTs are 3.3, and have started swimming lessons this term. They are both confident in the water, which is why they're doing the lessons they are - 4 in the class, 30 min lesson with one very lovely (male) teacher. One of my DTs is happy with the lessons, and goes in brilliantly, and does what she's asked to do etc. The other is more timid, especially with men she doesn't know, so I'm hanging around in the pool during lessons (mostly swimming, obviously, but checking she is OK) Originally, there were only 3 of them in the lesson, but another DC arrived in the 4th week, and was reticent to get into the pool. The teacher spent a good 10 minutes (of a 30 minute) lesson trying to persuade her to do what the other 3 had just done. I was in the pool, so saw that he was employing good tactics to cajole her into joining in, but she really wasn't having any of it. I was seriously pissed off that he spent a third of the lesson concentrating on one child, especially as she just didn't want to join in.

So whilt I understand why you're annoyed, OP, I do think YABU to want to complain about the teacher - why should she spend ages trying to convince your DS to get in the pool, thus taking her away from the rest of the class. It's her job to teach swimming, not to waste time persauding your DS to get in the water in the first place. You're right - in school, a teacher wouldn't just say "OK" if a DC didn't want to do his maths work, but that teacher would have plenty of school sanctions to fall back on - the swimming teacher doesn't have that.

I think you need to speak to your DS about it, not the swimming teacher.

Rollergirl1 Mon 26-Oct-09 22:08:18

YANBU. I would be livid.

My DD is having swimming lessons at the moment. She is 3.7. I paid £140 for 14 lessons. The lessons are 30mins long and there are only 4 in the class. She is 3 lessons down. My daughter is quite reticent and probably wouldn't get in herself if given the chance but the instructor is amazing. She basically doesn't give them a chance to refuse. She is really fun and makes them laugh, starting off by working out what size "swimming muscles" (arm-bands) they need. Then she jumps in and lifts each child in. They spend the entire time in the pool. When they are not taking their turn at the activity they are holding on to the side. I thought my DD would object to this but she is fine with it. I think this is a good thing as the more time they spend out of the water the more likely it is that they don't want to get back in. She also then has complete control of them.

I think the key is shorter lessons, smaller classes and being firm yet fun.

If you're interested their website is here

snorkie Mon 26-Oct-09 22:56:02

bethylou I would agree that an ASA level 2 teachers certificate is ridiculously easy compared to a PGCE but it should still briefly cover dealing with reluctant pupils. I do think that a teacher has a responsibility to all the children in the class - if a child won't get in for one or at most two lessons, then some alternative strategy needs to be devised (involving parents and or helpers) for subsequent lessons. I don't think it's at all reasonable to have a child sat out for a course of 10 or 12 lessons without having discussed the problem & plans to overcome it with the parents at least. Maybe the OPs ds was more cooperative earlier in the course though, we don't know.

ErnestTheBavarian Tue 27-Oct-09 06:56:00

no, I mentioned it to her on more than 1 occasion that I was concerned that he was out of the water so much. Some times she denied he was, even though I had seen him out so much. Trouble is, I have to have my 16 month old with me. At first I was going in the water too. A couple of times he came up, say half way through saying the teacher's really nice and said I can finish already hmm . I told him in no uncertain terms that he had to go back and rejoin his lesson. SO I tried sitting in the cafe to avoid him coming to join me in the baby pool. Neither seemed to work.

The lessons ds1 & 2 did were varied and fun, the kids were mostly in the water, she had loads of different apparatus, like hoops to swim through, things to pick up of the bottom, standard stuff really. These lessons were dry as bone even witht he pool water thrown in, not at all fun, no 'learn through play' slant at all. Really shit quality. Was a choice of take it or leave it, so I guess I'll have to leave it.

Not sure if I'll complain or not, though I am really cross about it.

Thing is, ds can be stubborn, but if he was told to get in and do the exercise I'm sure he would.but she merely invited him, ie do you want to jump in now, and he naturally said no, and she didn't bother with him.

I tried to discuss the problem at least 3 times with her, and she didn't act on anything I said or try to change the situation.

sunnydelight Tue 27-Oct-09 07:24:10

I would be really unhappy about the fact that you have raised this before and nothing has happened, but tbh I think maybe you needed to be a bit more visible so she knew you were keeping an eye on things (not exactly easy with a little one, I know).

I would second the suggestion of 1:1. Having spent a fortune on group lessons that DS2 always managed to avoid/not participate in etc. ten minutes into his first 1:1 he turned into a fish and never looked back. They look expensive but often work out lots cheaper in the end.

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