The pool and the classroom – partners in education!
What’s the situation with children in the classroom and at the pool? What do we have plenty of now and what are the things we forgot, gave in to and got used to, and what are the things some of us gave up on? Are the challenges in swimming and education bigger now than thirty years ago, or are they perhaps similar or same? What is now expected from the classroom and the pool, what do they imply, and what are the things they can offer?
As the pancakes were being made, the discussion of parents about this topic got quite fierce.. Not having the intention to blame anyone at the table, under or above it, on the right or on the left, I tried to make my mind clear. I put the entire story and everybody from “the classroom” into “the pool” and made a question, both to them and to myself as a coach and a parent: What is it that makes Mr Pool and Mrs Classroom free to create the past, the present and the future of children? And what is it that makes them completely different regardless of the time, back then and now?
Noise: Back then but also now there are always those who disturb the class, make noise in the classroom and at the pool… It is a challenge for all of us who are in the classroom or at the pool to grab the children’s attention, not only of those making the noise but also those who are trying to avoid the noise, or just ignore it. Persistence in swimming and education pays off, and it was the case in the past and it is still the case today.
Creativity in both settings is wide. There are textbooks and various curricula we need to stick to, but the way you interpret it is still an open category… Offer the kids an alternative in acquiring knowledge and skills. Make them interested. It is easy to teach a child that 2+2 is 4, but it might be quite difficult to explain to every youngster at the very beginning of education why it is number 4. The same goes with the pool.
Play: Kids will always be kids. They like to play both in the pool and in the classroom. We should not stop them playing. A play can help them be better at history, clever for maths, and the play makes them learn the basic swimming techniques. With playing, even a rainy day can be much easier to handle, not only for them but also for us.
Motivation: It is challenging both for the Classroom and the Pool to hear, to listen and to respect. Understanding “a foreign” language without rejecting your own. Remind everyone at the pool and in the classroom why they are all special. Encourage them to think outside the box and be role models to all those waiting for the “bell”.
DIFFERENCES which are ADVANTAGES:
Discipline: Swimming is a lesson by itself. The pool often forms children starting from the earliest age of non-swimmers, to the extent that they become responsible and disciplined much sooner than their peers in the classroom.
Authority: I’m aware of the fact that today you need to put additional efforts to establish authority among children! By showing them your attitude, your own example, your work, knowledge, curiosity, but not at all costs… At the pool or in the classroom, the coach is the only authority. Parents should put aside their “hat” at the “front door”!
Order: Water is such a medium which cannot stand any lack of order. It might sound funny, but there always must be order in the pool, otherwise somebody’s life could be in danger. Everybody who is disturbing the order in the pool will get a time-out to think about his/her actions and possible consequences. If they don’t change their behaviour, they will be asked to leave the pool, for the safety of their own and the others in the water and around it. It is late to think about all this after something bad happens as a consequence of “disorder”!
Grades: In the “gradebook for swimming” there are no Fs or As. One might get just a warning, since swimming is a life skill giving you only two options: either you know how to swim, or you don’t! No privileges, no winking at someone’s faults while having a test in the water.
I believe that swimming should be and that one day it will be a part of general knowledge of all children! I strongly believe that swimming will be affordable to all the children in the future and that everyone will have the chance to learn how to swim.
No matter which side of the round table you sit at, invest in swimming and education of children, because by doing so you are investing in their safe and better future!