Hi! My name is Ashley and I have been working as an instructor at Swimtastic (Franklin location) for two years and have developed close relationships with each of the students that I teach. I teach children from the age of two years old to fourteen years old. There are many life lessons I have learned from them, and though I have seen many come and go, no matter what is going on in my life at that moment, I look up to these children. Here are just a few life lessons my students have taught me:
1. Don’t Worry
I always have a problem with worrying, and whenever I get into the water to teach children, I
have to be their support system to help them swim. I have found that when I am focused on helping a child succeed in the water, my worries disappear as I help them overcome their own. When a child is in the pool for the first time, they do not know what to do and find the deep water terrifying. In some cases, children freeze up or they freak out. One student in my class told me that she wanted to hold onto me while she kicked her feet because she was terrified of drowning. While I understood the fear of drowning, I had to tell her that she should not worry about it when she is around me. When I was working to get her comfortable kicking and swimming by herself, I was not worrying about the many faces watching me teach through our observation deck; instead, my worries were pushed to the side in order to help a child succeed in swimming.
I have been working as a swim teacher for two and a half years. When I taught my first year, I did not always pay attention to how much I smiled and I do not know if I was consistent with it. I learned that smiling goes a long way with children; if there is no smiling, children will not work for what you want or what they should be working on. If a teacher is only serious, a child will not enjoy the experience of learning. I realized this when I started to pay attention to the way other teachers taught their classes. The instructors all did an amazing job smiling and being enthusiastic, which makes the class a lot more fun and engaging for a child. If an instructor does not smile, a class would seem boring for a child. I have learned to always smile while teaching, and the experience becomes fun for both me and my students. I tend to find myself having so much fun teaching the kids and smiling with them that my work doesn’t even feel like a job!
3. Do what makes you happy
This is something that can be shown outside of the water as well. Most children that come into my class show their individuality because they have on things like a Minnie Mouse swimsuit, pigtails with bows, cool dinosaur tattoos all over their arms or even nail polish that doesn’t match on each hand. I know these children are not concerned about what anyone thinks, only what makes them happy, and this mindset is something I strive for in life. There are of course times when I inevitably care about what others think of me, but at the end of the day, my students have shown me that it’s important to be happy with who I am.
All in all, these main rules of life can be taught by anyone, but without my experience of teaching children, I do not think I would have learned them. I will always cherish the experience I have had working with children. I love my job and I am excited to see what life may have in store for me in the future, and thanks to the lessons I have learned from my students, I am a lot happier.