#9 Practice what you Teach

I have recently been the lifeguard during swimming lessons at a local pool. This isn’t the first time I have guarded for these swim lessons. I have done it once before, also. I am unpleased with what I have seen, both times.

The lady in charge of the swim lessons at the pool is also the only Instructor in the area who teaches Water Safety (certification to teach swim lessons). I took her class, many years ago, and what I remember is how I have been teaching ever since. I use the proper holding techniques and I always setup the class so I can keep my eyes on practically everyone at the same time. I never leave the pool with my class holding on to the side (actually, I never leave my class in the pool). I also don’t leave a bunch of kids who can’t touch alone on one end of the pool while focusing on one kid.

The instructors I watched left kids alone who couldn’t touch or swim while they focused all attention on just one kid. They didn’t use the proper holding techniques, and as a matter of fact, they didn’t even use holding techniques that were effective (mostly for the little preschool kids). The lady in charge left the pool area briefly, once or twice, leaving her kids in the pool unattended. One of the instructors would send a kid across the pool and then immediately start another kid, leaving the first kid out of sight and unwatched. The lady in charge (along with some of the other instructors) would not demonstrate the strokes and only yelled out across the pool what the kids needed to do better. The lady in charge also never got in the pool, period. She was also busy checking on the rest of the classes while her class swum the length of the pool.

There are some other things I didn’t like, but they were just things I didn’t like. The items above actually contradict what WSI’s are taught. You’d think that she would take extra care to perform correctly since she is a WSI Instructor. I know that I reevaluated how I guarded a pool after becoming a Lifeguard Instructor. I wanted to make sure that I wasn’t being a hypocrite when teaching a class. And that I was doing things correctly, because that’s what I was taught.

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