Read what existing teachers and coaches say about their job
Testimonials of existing teachers and coaches, what they love about their job, how they got started
Sarah Slowgrove began her career by helping at her local club in Colchester and then taught in leisure centres and a private swim school. Now a Sports Lecturer at Colchester Institute, Sarah is currently training to become an ASA Tutor.
“There is definitely a feel good factor in knowing that you are part of the revolution to professionalise the industry and the fact that I will be part of the build up to 2012 by educating a new generation of teachers is a massive thing for me. As a sports person, I feel that it’s so important to promote the sport by getting more young people involved and then providing them with professional and well trained teachers.”
Swimming teacher and coach Sue Rayment is a well respected and dedicated advocate of the sport. She said of her role as a teacher and coach at Hart Swimming Club in Hampshire:
“I enjoy everything about it. At the moment I spend up to 20 hours a week teaching and coaching – which I absolutely love. I am passionate about swimming and consider it a privilege to be able to teach adults and children to swim. It’s a wonderful feeling when a child first learns to swim and just brilliant when the same child goes on to swim competitively.”
Simone Benhayon is manager of the swim scheme at Frome Leisure Centre in Somerset. Since moving to the UK from Australia, Simone’s alternative approach to teaching swimming has made a big impact on the number of pupils attending lessons each week. Word of mouth about her teaching style and fun approach to the water has led to the centre more than doubling the number of pupils it teaches.
"My teaching style is very playful; I love having fun with the kids, I feel that’s how they develop best. It’s important to me to make sure the kids are enjoying themselves in the pool whilst they are learning. Meeting people is the best part about my job, and seeing the smile on someone’s face when they achieve something, whether they are three, or in their seventies, is really rewarding."
She takes a very active role in all aspects of the centre’s swimming programme and is making a difference to swimming every day. Her positive influence doesn’t just fall upon the swimmers that she instructs, but also to everyone she works with, often swapping teaching techniques and knowledge to improve everyone’s ability to be a great instructor.
Pauline Spinks joined Silverdale Swim School in Bexhill as a valued helper and skills demonstrator and not long after enquired into becoming a fully fledged swimming teacher. She then qualified as an ASA Level 1 Swimming Teacher, quickly followed by her Level 2 qualification.
“Watching children as they develop from complete beginners is so rewarding. I love seeing them gain confidence in the water and develop skills that they can use for the rest of their lives."
From there she has gone from strength to strength. Working part time as a dental receptionist Pauline still manages to see around 200 pupils in the water every week. She teaches four sessions and works with children from all abilities.
"I love working at Silverdale: the environment is great and all of the people are so friendly, it really is a great place to work. It’s particularly satisfying to watch the really clingy children – the ones that won’t take their arms from around their mum’s legs - develop. When they are confident enough to get in the water, that is when I know I have done a good job."
Tracie Jack heads a team of 30 swimming instructors teaching 800 pupils a week in eight London and home counties pools – and her Swim-With-Me school is the ASA’s Swim School of the Year. With no swimming background she trained as a spotter for her children’s club, and, after enjoying that, she soon passed her Level 1 teaching qualification allowing her to get more involved in the sport. Tracie passed her Level 2 teaching qualification and began working with a local swimming club as well as the local council. Tracie knew that she possessed a talent for teaching children to swim and it was something she enjoyed:
“it was great to see them complete their first lengths or learn a new stroke, I loved it.’
The high ratio of teachers to pupils at the swim school means that children are able to get to know their instructors well. Each child that takes a class at Swim-With-Me receives lots of care and attention;
‘We want to make it fun for the children, that’s the best way for them to learn,’ said Tracie.
The above are excerpts from Swimming Times, the national magazine dedicated to swimming and other aquatic sports. To subscribe and read the latest reports and results of major championships and events, aquatics news, and many other features on aquatic sports and personalities, please click here.