Jul 27, 2012

Stupid Swimming Lessons

{WARNING: This Mommy is about to get ugly}

Alright so here's the situation:

B and G have been taking swimming lessons 2 days a week for the past month {This is not the first summer they have taken lessons}.

Last night was their last lesson.  When lessons ended they were given Progress Reports.

The Progress Report is broken up into 7 sections with various titles, such as Personal Safety and Stroke Development.  It ends with section labeled, Instructor's Comments.

B handed me his soggy Progress Report and I glanced at it.  As I scanned through it I was trying to help him dry off, alert G as to where we were {For some reason he wasn't able to find us.}, and bounce a fussy Baby M.

Now before I go any further I need to let you know that I am not one of those people who thinks that her child is a perfect swimmer and expects a + mark to be in each box.  For goodness sakes the kid is 6.  Having this kind of attitude, in my opinion, suggests that there is no room for growth.  Let's be honest here, we can all grow in some way.

Ok back on topic, when I got to the section labeled: Swimmer's Attitude I read,

2.  Listens to instructions and follows directions.
The teacher {who appeared to be a high school kid, but my better judgment tells me that he was at least a Freshman in college.} wrote: Messes around to {That's not a typo.  He really spelled it like that.} much with J {wrote out the other child's name}.

Now wait a minute, why am I just now learning about my child 'messing around too much' with another child?  If this problem was significant enough for you to bring it to my attention in the Progress Report maybe you, Mr. Swim Teacher, should have alerted Brent and I to the issue a little sooner.  This way we could have addressed it with B.  And maybe, just maybe it would have stopped.  Oh and on another note, I don't think it was appropriate for you to write another child's name on my child's Progress Report.  Have you heard of a little thing called confidentiality?  Since this 'messing around' was so troublesome, I'm guessing that you wrote my child's name on the other child's Progress Report.  Now in all honesty, I'm sure J is a lovely child and his family is just fantastic, but on the off chance that they are crazy psychos, I'm not too thrilled about B's name potentially being written on J's Progress Report.

Ok problem #2:

Under the same section heading I continued to read:

4.  Demonstrates caring, honesty, respect & responsibility.
The teacher wrote: sometimes/sometimes not.

Ok, could you elaborate a little here?  Maybe you could try this thing called a positive sandwich.  Here's what you do: start with something positive a child does, explain in a gentle, yet tactful way what needs to be worked on, and finish with another positive.  It's like the positives are the bun of the sandwich and the area of growth is the meat, get it?!  What specifically does he do correctly sometimes?  What specifically does he sometimes not do?  Again, I'd like to address this with B, but saying: "Sometimes you are caring, honest, respectful, and responsible and other times you’re not", doesn't help him to know what he needs to keep doing and what he needs to stop doing.

Onto problem #3:

The Progress Report ended with: Instructor's Comments.

Oh wonderful Swimming Instructor wrote:
He is a very good swimmer {Yay, a positive!} he just needs to stop messing around with J {Same kid's name written, again.} and the things we use and he will get 10 times better than he is right now.

Well thank you for the complement glad to know you could find 1 thing to let me know that he does well.  Now, back to this messing around with J thing,  it's obvious that you found it extremely troublesome {and rightfully so}, however, if it was that much trouble why in the hell did you not talk with Brent and I about this?!  I would have been more than happy to talk with B about the problem and get it corrected!

As I'm sure you can guess I was slightly upset after reading this shit junk.  In an effort to try and help B realize he made mistakes and that he needed to rectify them, I briefly explained that his teacher noted his disappointment with B messing around with J.  I continued to explain my disappointment and encouraged him to tell the teacher he was sorry.

So as we were leaving the pool B walked up to his teacher.  The teacher was standing and talking with a group of other teachers and life guards {It did look as if they were practicing some type of drills}.  He didn't even acknowledge that B was standing near him {I'm sure B did speak softly and it was more than likely difficult to hear his voice}.  Finally, B tapped him on the elbow; the teacher didn't even look at B.  B said, "I'm sorry."   The teacher, still not looking at B, muttered "it's cool."

It's cool?!  Ok his response, his attitude, and his body language tell me that he can't stand B and is very annoyed with him.

First of all buddy, the kid is 6!  While I'm not thrilled with his behavior, it is developmentally appropriate.  If you can't handle it, get another job!  Second of all, whether you like it or not you are a role model.  You put yourself in that situation when you took this job.  You did not demonstrate the attitude of a good role model!

I did try to talk with the director of the swimming lessons before we left, but she had gone home for the day.  I called and left her a voice mail message when I got home.

I also talked with B about his behavior and we came up with some better activities he could do rather than 'mess' around with J {Whatever the heck that means!}

This is from last summer when his teacher liked him.


  1. Ack, sounds like the swim teacher is not very professional. :(

    It's good that you've taken note though, so at least, any attitude/ behavioral adjustments will be looked into - thank goodness for attentive moms!

    1. No, not professional at all. I'm trying to be understanding and not judge, but I just couldn't believe how harsh his comments were. I don't know what kind of training they go through as far as what's appropriate written communication and what isn't.

      Thanks! He's a kid. He's not perfect and he's going to make mistakes. He does need to learn from them. We have expectations and he needs to meet them :)

  2. Oh my goona Erin.. I would have a hard time not letting the Momma Bear out of the cage on this one. It really was uncalled for because if he's a good swimmer than obviously he's not getting challenged it the problem. Instructors like this drive me nutts. It's one thing if they are volunteer but chances are it's this girls summer job so she needs to figure out a way to keep those swimmers engaged.

    1. Brent and I were kind of thinking that most of the problem is because B is bored. Brent mentioned at the very beginning that it didn't look like too much was going on regarding 'skill' in B's class. The teacher in me told Brent that maybe he was teaching skills through games and we needed to just relax. Well, apparently I was WRONG!

  3. I hope you get to speak with the director and explain your extremely valid concerns. My kids have taken lessons at our local rec center and most of the instructors are high school and college age but they do an excellent job of working with the kids-redirecting behaviors, separating kids who are messing around etc. They have fairly small group sizes..usually 5-7 per instructor.

    1. This program is at The Y and we have been happy with it the past 2 summers that they took lessons there. The swimming teachers have been great with my kids. Our classes have been small as well. This year B's class only had 4 kids, which was the smallest class I've seen.

      I did talk with the director and felt much better after doing so.

      Thanks for reading and for commenting :)

  4. I agree. It was not at all handled diplomatically. You should have been made aware if it was enough to note on the report and he should have given B his attention when B apologized. It can be tough with young adult teachers, but the director needs to impress upon them professional behavior and should step in if one of her staff is uncomfortable approaching parents with a problem!

    1. Yes, the director needs to talk with the swimming instructor.

      Honestly, I was torn about who to go to first. If I were in this situation I would want the parent to talk with me first not my principal. But, I think this is a little different so I went to the director.

  5. Wow, not very professional at all. Is ther a director or someone else you could talk to about this?

    1. Yes, there is a director and I did talk with her. She was very kind and understanding. I felt a lot better after talking with her.