Abu Bakr is a lifeguard turned swimming assistant, who has found teaching swimming to be an incredibly fun job. Here he talks with us about his journey from being a lifeguard, how swimming teaching fits with his studies, and the importance of representation.
The change came at the perfect time as Abu Bakr started to focus on his studies. He says,
“I started as a lifeguard, and I was watching the swimming lessons. I always thought that was something I could do. Now I’m going into year 13, I can’t be lifeguarding for eight hours a day, because I’ve got revision, and I’ve got mocks. So swimming assisting came at the right time.”
There were lots of skills Abu Bakr had gained as a lifeguard that he could transfer to swimming teaching, such as observing the pool and communication. He says “When you’re a lifeguard, you’re able to communicate with everyone in the pool, and now as a swimming assistant, you’re communicating with the kids. And it’s not only verbal communication, but visual communication, some of the kids can’t understand you so you’ve got to show them and they progress that way.”
Abu Bakr loves teaching kids how to swim, and he finds it to be a fun and rewarding job.
“I just love meeting the kids every single week, they’re so happy to see me, and I’m so happy to see them, playing the games and just having fun. It’s not strict teaching that you would do at school. It’s very much a fun time. It’s a fun way of learning and that’s not just fun for them, it’s fun for me as well.”
As a mixed Muslim, Abu Bakr noticed a lack of representation within the Muslim community as swimming teachers. He believes that representation in swimming teaching is important, saying,
“I think getting more people, getting more Muslims, or more people from different religious backgrounds and different cultures would make a lot of kids, and a lot of adults, feel more comfortable bringing their kids to lessons and getting them to learn how to swim because it is an essential skill.”
He’s also noticed that a lot of parents are much more comfortable bringing their kids to him as a swimming assistant, as they feel more comfortable with someone from their community.
Abu Bakr encourages anyone who has the opportunity to become a swimming teacher to do it. He says,
“Swimming Teaching doesn’t have to be a career, it’s a great side job because, from 16, you can be an assistant. Hopefully, trying to get younger Muslims, or younger people from different cultural backgrounds, into teaching will promote older people to do it as well.”
“If you have the opportunity to become a Swimming teacher, definitely do it. It is very rewarding, it is a very fun and comfortable job to be in.”