Thursday, September 24, 2015

Swim strife

This time classmate Miguel did not come and coach ragged on Emily the whole time and that was definitely worse than every other class.
When we went to begin backstroke drills, he instructed us to first do 50 yards just kicking and then 50 swim. He turned to me to repeat himself, saying that I had mistakenly swum when he said kick in last class. I stared back blankly. “Oh, you don’t remember, do you? No matter. This time, just kick.”

I knew he was talking about Emily’s mistake last week, which she then repeated this time. I know we’re both white girls in black sport suits, but I’m easily twice her age and wearing a neon green swim cap. And this is our fourth class together and there are only three students total.

Surprisingly, he praised the work I’d been doing to improve my form and said that was very good when I finished a lap. Then he turned to Emily and said that was “very bad, not good at all.” We thought for a moment he might be jesting, but he was serious and went on to tell her what was wrong. She became very flustered throughout class.

I just don’t get it. The rest of the time he does a gret job pointing out what individual things we should work on to improve our form and explaining them in detail, and it’s been very helpful. So why the negativity? As I said before, this is a city rec center swim class. It’s not a master’s class, it’s not a team practice, it’s not a private coaching session, no one here is training for the Olympics.

I may have very limited experience with teaching, but I’m fairly certain you’re not supposed to tell your students that their efforts are “very bad.”

Just two classes left.

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