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How to have a successful first lesson

As a swimming and water safety teacher for your first lesson there are some key tips you should always be mindful of before getting into the water

  1. Be early – It’s professional to be at the pool before your class begins to arrive 15-20minutes is ideal. This will allow you time to change if necessary and set up your area for your lesson.

  2. Always set up your equipment – Setting up your equipment and knowing what you need for your lessons is very important. You don’t want to be leaving your lessons to get extra equipment. Keep your equipment as tidy as you can throughout your classes to avoid slips and trips on the pool concourse and ensure it’s packed away at the end of your lessons.

  3. Professionalism – Your appearance is the brand. As a a swimming teacher you will be representing the program and/or the swim school you are working at, therefore a professional appearance will assist in promoting the program you are teaching.

  4. Be prepared and plan – Know the levels you will be teaching. Be aware of the outcomes and the skills and progressions that each level should be aiming for. If these are new students and levels you need to take the time to get to know these levels.

  5. Customer Service – As a swimming teacher you are not just delivering a program in the water. You are delivering a service to the student and the carer in the water and out of the water, be mindful of your actions once you leave the pool.

Tip: If the lesson hasn’t started and parents are struggling with swimming caps take a couple of minutes to show them how to put them on properly! (With a smile) They will be grateful.

Beginning the class

  1. Use this lesson to get to know your students – first lessons no matter what level are really a “meet-and-greet” session so don’t get too caught up in the outcomes in the level. You want to get to know the students.

  2. Safe entry into the water for your students is the first step and should be revised every lesson.

  3. Introductions – for yourself to your students and ask them their name as well. Be observant, don’t forget if there is the quiet student engage them as well. (this might be best done on the edge of the pool for young students or in the water for older students)

  4. Expectations – Setting expectations. Especially for older students who do have the ability to listen and follow instructions. It’s very important to set some very basic instructions such as “listening when the teacher is talking” etc.

  5. Class control – Controlling your class is rolling the expectations and communication of each week into a consistent and thorough pattern so there is a regular “flow”. It’s not about being the toughest teacher or the absolute “push-over”. It’s about providing a safe, comfortable, happy environment for your students to flourish and reach the desired outcomes.

  6. Keep the instructions simple – Simple instructions – complicating instructions always complicates the task no matter how old a student is. Use the students name then provide the instruction.

  7. Feedback – Students are sponges! Positive feedback is a must however your body language, eye contact and even facial expressions are crucial for young students. You need to “speak” to them on several levels. If you’re not genuine with your students they will pick up on it.

  8. Taking into account the age and ability of the students maximise practice time and movement through the class. Carers are not paying for students to be waiting on platforms. Keep the class moving and practicing skills as safe as possible. Involve every student in the activities.

  9. Teach one skill at a time – For a first lesson you may not get through many depending on the level however as the students get to know you and you get to know them. This will get progress and you will find a steady rhythm within your classes.

  10. Water safety – Teaching a skill that helps students to be safer in on and around the water and is something they can hold on to for a long time. Revising these skills every lesson is great for their development and retention.

  11. Have fun – Teaching swimming and water safety lessons should be fun for both yourself and the students. Not every lesson goes to plan, but always have fun!