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As I meet parents that have had their children in the British Swim School program, the talk of instructors always comes up. The reality is that having a good instructor- one that works well with your child, is really key to a successful class.
What’s great about British Swim School, is that they get that. They know that they need to hire swim instructors that are going to work well with kids. It’s just a part of the job. They need to have good personalities, patience, and creativity.
They take the time to work with new instructors and ease them into the new setting. In fact, Caroline’s class is currently with an instructor that’s in training. The aquatics director is right there in the water showing the new instructor how things are done first hand.
The care that is taken in training, really shows through.
One of the names that always comes up when talking to other moms, is an instructor named Jared. Moms just rave about him quite honestly. He’s great with the kids and very patient. Caroline has not yet had Jared as an instructor, but I’ve had the pleasure of watching some of his classes that are going on at the same time as hers.
Even as someone that hasn’t been in his class, he knows Caroline’s name and always greets us with a smile and some conversation. Today, we are continuing on with our interview series. And yes, you guessed right… Jared is our interviewee today.
Before we get to the interview, I wanted to provide a quick update on Caroline’s progress at the Seahorse level:
You know those moments… the ones when you KNOW without a doubt that your child can do something, but they just won’t do it!? Caroline is in one of those phases right now in a lot of aspects of her life (now that I think about it).
She can totally put her own shoes on- but she refuses to try. I’ve seen her do it long long ago, however. She could also be getting herself dressed and undressed- if she tried. She’s a very stubborn child. She may or may not get that from both me and her daddy.
It’s one of those things, though, that if you push it, an all out tantrum ensues. So we usually just leave it alone. I know full well that she won’t be going to college unable to pull her own pants up. She’ll get around to doing it when she’s ready.
That’s the thing about Caroline. She doesn’t do anything until she feels fully prepared, and completely ready to be able to successfully do something. She waits until that moment to show me that she can do something. In the meantime, she practices. She observes. She learns.
She’s doing this same thing in swim class at the moment. I am 100% confident that Caroline knows how to float on her own and do that wonderful starfish she’s been learning for many months now. Yet she won’t yet take that plunge.
If you ask her how to do a starfish, she can tell you “legs out, arms out, belly up, chin up”. When instructor Chase was filling in for Ms. Christine one day, he had her do the starfish all on her own. It was her first time doing this, and she did it extremely well. She listened and probably floated for about 5 seconds.
That was a couple of months ago! Since then, she’s not really done it again. But it’s not because she doesn’t know how. It’s because she’s being stubborn. As parents we know this. We can tell when our children are just refusing to do something, or if they are not ready.
If you watch her on the pool deck, she’s focused. She watches the other children in her class as they take their turns. She knows exactly what to do and how to do it. She’s taking it all in. When she’s ready, she’ll be able to hold her starfish for quite some time!
She’s nervous though. So no matter the expectation, the reward, the distraction- she’s not quite ready to take that step. And so… we wait and practice and keep her having fun.
Caroline has been at the Seahorse level now since August. She’s been practicing the same skills for 4 months now, so I know that when she decides to take that step, she’s going to just amaze.
Interview with Jared
How long have you been a swim instructor with
I’ve been working at BSS since January of 2017
How did you learn to swim?
The life guard at my neighborhood pool would teach me when there were no guests
at the pool. I learned to swim when I was about 6.
Why did you choose to become a swim instructor?
When I was 4 or 5 I almost drowned at a water park. It is very important
to me that all of our students understand what to do if they slip off the edge
What’s the best part of your job?
I think the best part of my job is knowing I’m preventing an accident in
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of this job is seeing so many smiles. You cannot
possibly have a bad day when you see all your students coming to class smiling
and leaving smiling.
How would you describe your style as a swim instructor?
I’d say I have a very patient and adaptable teaching style. Not every child
learns the same way, so you really have to cater to certain needs quickly.
Do you have any advice for parents who are hesitant to put their kids in swim
To put it simply, don’t be! There’s nothing more important than knowing
that your child knows what to do in the event he/she falls into the pool. Also, seeing their progression is really fun and satisfying.
How do you handle fearful children in class?
I usually handle fearful kids with incentive and games. Kids love games.
Sometimes they might not like the water very much. It’s usually not water
itself, more so the big pool. So having them play with a bucket of water helps.
And patience is always key.
How do you make the class engaging for young babies and toddlers?
The parent’s enthusiasm is the most vital part. If the baby/toddler sees that mom or
dad isn’t having fun, they won’t have fun. Emphasizing we all sing
together and seeing big smiles from mom and dad is the biggest way to get them
What does a typical work week look like for you?
I work Tuesday through Sunday. I teach classes Tuesday morning, Wednesday
afternoon and Sunday morning. I am also the site ambassador at ACAC on Tuesday,
Thursday and Friday afternoons. Also Saturday and Sunday mornings. I have a lot
of minnow, seahorse and turtle 1 classes.
If you had the chance, what’s the one thing you’d tell all of your student’s
First I’d like to thank them for giving our program a chance. Swimming is no
small deal. It’s incredibly important, so I think the biggest thing I’d
emphasize is how grateful I am.
Why would you recommend BSS over another swim program?
I would recommend BSS because we focus on survival skills first. This helps
learning how to swim immensely because the child is no longer scared to jump in
or push off of the wall. They’ve been given all the tools they need to take
that next step.
What is the Deck Ambassador position?
The Deck Ambassador is the first face you should see welcoming you to class. We
answer any questions a student or parent may have. We also make sure classes start and stop in an orderly and timely fashion. More important, we make
sure the kids are ready and excited to swim, and that our BSS parents are satisfied
with our program. I absolutely love engaging in conversation with the kids and
parents before and after class because it makes me more than just a face they see.
It makes me a friend and a trustworthy staff member.
Special $15 Credit
If you live in Montgomery County or Frederick County, Maryland, and are interested in signing up for your first lesson, I am really excited to announce that you can receive a $15 credit towards your account just by mentioning my full name: Katrina Villegas! The information for our central Maryland British Swim Schools can all be found at this link. And not to worry if you live elsewhere, there are British Swim Schools ALL over the US!
Other Posts of Interest:
British Swim School- Tadpole class (level 1)
British Swim School- An Interview with Caroline’s Instructor (Christine)
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