For the record, I’m 33. And a half plus a few weeks if you want to get technical. I’ve been teaching on one pool deck, lake front or pond for 18+ years now. And yes, I still teach swimming lessons.
I’ve been asked why though lately and I thought I’d clear the air.
Do I really need the money that much? I did at one point. When I took a significant pay cut to switch jobs and then had my housing situation change quickly, I really did need the money. it’s still nice, though, a little extra never hurts. While I make decent money (knock on wood that doesn’t change in a negative way!) there’s little room in the budget for frivolity and I’m the sort of girl who loves some frivolity in her life. Besides, the money isn’t that amazing although it does include a free membership.
Is it because of the “hot” guys? Wink wink, nudge nudge. Um. No. I have met some very nice people and really good eggs on the my most recent/current pool deck, and while some are attractive, few would be considered hot. And the kids I work with are just that, kids. (There are a few on my staff that haven’t even been alive as long as I’ve been teaching. That’s alright though, they have a lot of potential to be good teachers.)
You want to know why I still teach? Because what I’m doing is making a difference. I’m teaching kids a life saving skill. They might not save their own lives, but we talk about safety and emergencies and go over what to do if there is one.
I’m giving kids who aren’t great at other things a place to feel safe and accomplished. Even if they aren’t awesome in the water. Every day brings small improvements that they can see themselves. I’m giving the girl who had several open heart surgeries the ability to achieve physical goals and be part of something that she hasn’t been able to do before. I’m pushing the boy who doesn’t like to do physical work to swim just a little harder because while he might not like work, his seeming desire to please me is just a little stronger.
I’m teaching the kids that have access to unguarded water during the summer months how to help each other. I’m helping adults who never thought they’d put their faces in the water learn to swim a whole length of the pool. I’m doing good work and putting as much positivity back into the world as I can.
And I do this with a gentle firmness that students respond well to and parents seem to appreciate.
One day I’ll leave the pool deck because it will be time to do so. I hope that when I (finally) do, I’ve shown the younger instructors how to manage classes, pull just a little more out of a child, be fair and compassionate, and ways to teach each skill 100 different ways.
That’s why I still teach swimming lessons.