There was a lot of activity in the main pool at our local leisure centre this morning. A dozen or so young men and women were on a life saving course. We watched the trainees pretending in turn to be in need of help and then being rescued.
We then watched how a board was used to support a swimmer in trouble. The head had to be secured carefully while straps tied the body to the board. This whole exercise was done with great dignity - as if the youngsters understood the need to be watchful and focused. I wonder how many hoped they would never have to use this information and practical demonstration.
On the other side of the pool swimming lessons were taking place. The teachers were walking up and down beside their charges. Sometimes the teachers jumped into the water to demonstrate a stroke and on other occasions a helping hand was used for support and comfort.
It must be quite a strain on the teachers. The lessons were on a one to one basis. The teachers had to be in and out of the water for long periods. Swimming pools are noisy areas anyway with lots shrieks and shouts. The pool area is hot and there is a strong smell of chlorine.
I watched the teachers with interest. They sometimes had to shout to make themselves heard. They had to be sympathetic, they had to be patient and teach the same stroke over and over. They had to revise and go over areas that they must have covered before.
The teachers seemed to have brief chats with the parents before and after the lessons.
The children appeared to be happy and smiling. It looked as if they were enjoying the exercise and their communication with their teachers. All the ingredients of a good lesson:
Well prepared teachers
A safe environment
Well briefed parents.
We hope for the same or even better, for our eleven plus children!