Mum-of-two Meghan Hawash explains how a change in career led to her dream job.
I’m sure everyone has that feeling sometime in their employment life that they’re stuck in a dead-end career, with very few prospects and no job satisfaction.
I certainly did. I was hardly enjoying working in retail and when I had my second child, I decided I needed a change in direction.
It was then that I noticed an advert on social media offering a funded Level 1 and Level 2 teaching course in partnership with the Swimming Trust, the Institute of Swimming and Active Luton.
As a former regional swimmer, who had competed in sprints at freestyle, backstroke and butterfly for seven years, it instantly appealed and I realised this could be my dream job.
Over four Saturdays, I took my Level 1 Swimming Assistant qualification and learned the basics of how to assist learners in the water, motivate, give feedback as well as the technical aspects of the four strokes.
Initially, I realised I had a lot to learn. Although I had a swimming background and understood the strokes, I gained a lot of knowledge from the technical sessions and also got to see the progression and emotional connection with learners.
During 10 hours of voluntary work at Inspire, I worked with another Level 1 candidate in the water and then assisted Ducklings, Stage 1 and a disability group, Access to Sport. I was able to put theory into practice and continue to develop my knowledge and confidence.
Over five weekends, I then took my Level 2 Teaching Swimming qualification and taught all stages of the Learn to Swim framework to learners. I really enjoyed taking the lead in the sessions, being able to choose the style of teaching required, and I could see why the fun-based approach is important to ensure the retention in learners remains high.
I learned how to time manage lessons to ensure that all aspects of the course were covered and although there was a lot of work and reading to complete, it equipped me to be the best teacher I could be.
My 20 hours voluntary work was completed within a month as I helped cover long-term sickness and holidays. I used the skills I picked up on the course and they proved to be beneficial, especially as I had to change my delivery style when taking learners who appeared nervous of having a different teacher.
Since then, plenty of work has come my way. I started by covering at some of the Active Luton sites and within two months, I’d been interviewed for contracted work and now teach a beginners and an advanced lesson on a Monday evening. I also teach disability lessons for two hours on a Friday and then one-to-one sessions after those. And due to the demand with school swimming, I’ve been teaching an additional school for half a term.
Active Luton has been a massive help. They put me through my National Rescue Award for Swim Teachers and Coaches and in-house training so I can cover Aqua babes and tots’ sessions.
We also have a meeting every 10 weeks to discuss all the teaching we have delivered and to look at ways of improving the service that we offer.
As for what’s next, I really enjoy working in the women-only lessons and would love the opportunity to add more classes. My aim is to also complete the Level 2 Teaching Pre-School Swimming qualification over the next year in order to have my own pre-school lessons.
It’s been a fantastic journey so far and I’m looking forward to what the future holds.