Is her instructor a bit mean?

(28 Posts)
Kittenrush Tue 04-May-21 22:03:32

My 4 year old has recently started swimming lessons. She in a stage 1 total beginners class. First lesson she absolutely loved, they did basic stuff and she seemed to enjoy herself. She was the smallest there by far and presumably the youngest. The other children all seemed to have had lessons previously and were confident in the water, she wasn’t and needed the pole and a lot of support (which I noticed seem to annoy the instructor a little) but nonetheless she really seemed to enjoy herself and couldn’t wait to go back the next week.
Second week my husband took her and said it was awful. The woman was quite short with her and kept taking the pole away when she wasn’t ready. She’s obviously supported by pool floats etc but he said she was terrified and spent a lot of the lesson crying/swallowing water. She’s now quite upset about the prospect of going back. Is it unreasonable to expect support in a stage 1 swimming lesson? I am all for her being pushed and encouraged but she’s no wet blanket and wouldn’t have cried without a really good reason. Is she too little? Should I pull her? Teach her myself? Or have a little chat with the instructor maybe?

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buckeejit Tue 04-May-21 22:04:34

Individual lessons first maybe?

dementedpixie Tue 04-May-21 22:06:14

Are they not able to touch the bottom of the pool? In the pool my dc learned in they could move the pool floor so that the kids could stand even where it was supposed to the deep end

JayAlfredPrufrock Tue 04-May-21 22:08:01

Sounds awful. I’d pull her out and take her yourself until she is confident .

Popskipiekin Tue 04-May-21 22:09:21

I wouldn’t be letting her go back to that instructor. I’m not one for drastic flouncing action, but I think that is such an unacceptable approach from an instructor to a little beginner, and I’d be worried about putting off DC for life.
Definitely second investing in a short block of individual lessons - group lessons for beginners move so slowly and give so little individual time, it can be boring and off putting even with a decent instructor.

Chrispackhamspoodle Tue 04-May-21 22:12:49

Don't take her back.I persevered with an instructor like that and looking back wish I had stood up for my daughter.I did pull her out in the end and went elsewhere...she had to have private lessons to regain her confidence then loved it in a group.It should be fun.

CroydianSlip Tue 04-May-21 22:16:04

I wouldn't persist. I still remember the terror of my swimming lessons with an instructor who had not time for my nerves as a child. Awful.

I would ask to chnage instructors or groups. The best investment of your time/money would probably be to get a membership to a pool as a family and commit to going 2-3 times a week for a month or 2 to help her feel comfortable in the water and see it as a fun activity, then get her individual lessons in a block in the holidays before returning to classes again.

Kittenrush Tue 04-May-21 22:16:19

They can’t touch the bottom unfortunately, the pool is bigger than she’s used to too. She used to be confident in the water but what with lockdown she just hasn’t been for so long. I hadn’t even considered individual lessons as an option. I can’t teach her myself every week because I also have a 2 year old so I can’t take them both at the same time by myself but individual lessons makes so much sense. Glad I’m not just overreacting about the instructor. I’m also so worried she’ll be terrified for life.
Thanks all

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Fitforforty Tue 04-May-21 22:18:12

Not acceptable at all.

My 4 year nearly 5 year old has swimming lessons. The children in her class are held by the instructor until they are ready to do thing by themselves but even then she is right beside them and will pick them up if they struggle or start to panic. All the comments are positive and supportive.

Lougle Tue 04-May-21 22:18:42

I think she needs a smaller class, tbh. If it's a group class they can't devote all their attention to one child.

flashylamp Tue 04-May-21 22:19:05

She’s obviously supported by pool floats etc but he said she was terrified and spent a lot of the lesson crying/swallowing water.

Don't take her back. This demonstrates a lack of understanding from the swim teacher. She sounds like one of them who puts all the kids in the same box. Your DD needs a teacher who will spend the time building her confidence. You can start that by not taking her back, showing that you are on her side. It's ok to tell her that teacher wasn't good but you will find a better one, she needs to know the same thing won't happen again.

Kittenrush Tue 04-May-21 22:28:24

Fitforforty

Not acceptable at all.

My 4 year nearly 5 year old has swimming lessons. The children in her class are held by the instructor until they are ready to do thing by themselves but even then she is right beside them and will pick them up if they struggle or start to panic. All the comments are positive and supportive.

I absolutely love the sound of this! Is this a nationwide thing?

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Kittenrush Tue 04-May-21 22:29:17

flashylamp

*She’s obviously supported by pool floats etc but he said she was terrified and spent a lot of the lesson crying/swallowing water.*

Don't take her back. This demonstrates a lack of understanding from the swim teacher. She sounds like one of them who puts all the kids in the same box. Your DD needs a teacher who will spend the time building her confidence. You can start that by not taking her back, showing that you are on her side. It's ok to tell her that teacher wasn't good but you will find a better one, she needs to know the same thing won't happen again.

You’re absolutely right. I’m going to tell her this first thing tomorrow.
Sometimes it honestly just takes writing it out to make you realise.

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SkedaddIe Tue 04-May-21 22:33:37

Agree with you and pp, its not acceptable.

LivingMyBestLife2020 Tue 04-May-21 22:36:15

Does she have somebody in the water with her? Yourself or her dad? If not, then absolutely take her out.

My son has just started lessons. He’s doing duckling 1 and needs a parent in the water with him. He has to pass stages 1-4 before he can start the proper stages lessons alone. The pool is half a meter deep so he can touch the floor.

Is there a similar thing in your area?

He’s only 2, 3 in July, and the youngest by a long way. The children are mostly 4 and 5 I’d say and a mix of abilities.

I hope you sort it out, learning to swim is so important and should be fun

Kittenrush Tue 04-May-21 22:44:26

LivingMyBestLife2020

Does she have somebody in the water with her? Yourself or her dad? If not, then absolutely take her out.

My son has just started lessons. He’s doing duckling 1 and needs a parent in the water with him. He has to pass stages 1-4 before he can start the proper stages lessons alone. The pool is half a meter deep so he can touch the floor.

Is there a similar thing in your area?

He’s only 2, 3 in July, and the youngest by a long way. The children are mostly 4 and 5 I’d say and a mix of abilities.

I hope you sort it out, learning to swim is so important and should be fun

No she’s on her own. I wouldn’t have even considered it and felt genuinely sick about not being in the pool with her but a friend mentioned it was about time she should start lessons. I should have listened to my first instinct. She’s way too little.
I appreciate you all being so gentle with me. This seems utterly stupid to me all of a sudden! I will look for something more suitable.

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Waterfallgirl Tue 04-May-21 22:44:59

My DC are older Op. but I have spent many an hour at poolside watching lessons.
I have in the past reported a teacher for this type of behaviour, often they are staff who have come up through the ranks as good swimmers but have no idea about children or how to teach.
Or you get the bully type who just can’t identify in their own mind ‘why ‘ a child can’t just ‘get it’.
Go with your instinct, better for dd.

Findahouse21 Tue 04-May-21 22:51:11

Search for a Puddle ducks class, they are run as described with the instructors either holding the children or very close by until they are confident

Wanttotouchflamingos Tue 04-May-21 22:59:22

Not acceptable at all. I was 10 years when I went for swimming classes first( not in the UK) and the instructor (a***) would push me into the deep end few days after I started, at one point I use to run around and he would chase and push me in the water. I cried everyday before going to classes and told my mum I wouldn’t go, but the instructor convinced my mum that this way I learn faster etc. Nevertheless I am scared of water (mostly)now and I don’t swim . All thanks to my swimming lessons. So change her instructor and put her in a place where she is not made to feel like this. She deserves much better.

Longdistance Tue 04-May-21 22:59:26

My dd was put off swimming when the swim teacher kept shouting and nagging at her. My dd was 9 at the time, a confident swimmer but needed better direction than being nagged at.
There were quite a few of the younger kids in the pool screaming, but an instructor was in the water reassuring them.

GordonPym Wed 05-May-21 02:59:26

From what I have seen from poolside, there are 6-8 kids and they are left standing on one ending, while the instructor takes them one by one to the other side. If one kids takes forever to let go of pole or decide to leave the bench , it means the other kids are left there for 4-5 minutes, will get cold, and then there will bet 6-8 sets of parents telling the instructor off because the kids don't actually swim.
IT is not very clear what was happening, and a teacher will accept a bit of hesitancy , but can't exactly wait for the child to be ready because it is not a private lesson.

Howyoudoingirl Wed 05-May-21 03:31:50

I would look for private lessons or ones that you or dad can be in the water with her. We used to go for swimming lessons with school at a local pool. The 2 instructors were horrible & would push you out from the edge with the pole, and yell if you tried to hold on to it. I still think about it 40 odd years later. Swimming should be fun at that age

Cobbsgirl92 Wed 05-May-21 07:30:17

I’m a swimming teacher and stage one beginners should be in a pool where they can touch the bottom easily. Usually this is the baby pool or a smaller teaching pool. Stage one swimmers should be taught wafer confidence first with basic learn to swim mixed in. Blowing bubbles, splashing, playing games and generally having fun in the water. If she is a beginner then none of what you describe should be happening for a while until the teacher feels confident. Usually when the child is able to swim in a slightly deeper pool we have an assistant in the water with us to swim alongside each child whilst the teacher continues watching and supporting the rest of the group.
It sounds like the swim school/ teacher isn’t quite right for your little one.
I hope you can find an alternative so she learns that swimming can be fun!
You could try some private lessons to start with or maybe an alternative swim school? Is this current class at a local leisure centre? You may be able to find smaller private swim schools that offer a kinder approach.

Kittenrush Wed 05-May-21 22:15:58

Thanks all. I took her just the two of us today and she was beyond terrified. It was awful.
I cancelled at the desk and complained about the instructor. The manager apologised and knew immediately who I was talking about without even needing a name or time of lesson. Why do they employ people who clearly aren’t the right fit?
They offered to try and change her instructor but for now the damage is done. She made it incredibly clear she won’t be going anywhere near the water without either one of us!
She was much better be the end of the hour. Bobbing about on her pool noodle. Private lessons/DH lessons it is.

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SeasonFinale Wed 05-May-21 22:18:47

If she is terrified it may be worth waiting a month or so before trying again. Maybe have some splashing in a paddling pool in Summer again to get her water confident etc. before going back.

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