Why I chose to become an Aquatots Teacher?
I'm guessing like most teachers/trainees in my position I found my 'eureka' moment when I took my own children to swim classes. I fell in love with it instantly! I always had teaching in my mind when swimming with my eldest but I never had the confidence to pursue it, and the timing wasn't quite right. Now I take my youngest to lessons, it most certainly confirms how much I love it and how my children love swimming too. I feel it is such an important life skill!
The reason I chose Aquatots is because they have structured levels of ability and a clear path of achievement from level 1 and above; they teach lifesaving skills to children which is amazing - what a fabulous thing to teach; they have Foundation courses for older toddlers/children which my daughter would benefit from as she is currently self taught and they teach snorkelling to children which is great for holidays.
Starting my Journey
On first time arriving at Aquatots Training Centre I couldn't believe how welcoming it was for all the new trainees....that first day was full of every emotion and anticipation possible - There was a lot of information to take in, and some that didn't sink in at all - and that big folder! It was all quite overwhelming.
But in time it started to make sense and the overwhelming anxiety became enjoyment and what I felt was very resourceful information not only for becoming a swimming teacher, but for situations of everyday life, and especially being a mother, there was info that was most definitely useful!
The most nerve racking day for me was when we had to do our lifesaving test - I felt I was a strong swimmer but never really knew how I would cope in this sort of situation. - Somehow you find yourself managing to lift a 70kg dummy off the bottom of the pool and to the side. I towed a fellow trainee to safety...its amazing what you feel is almost impossible, or most certainly a big challenge is so much more achievable than you expect!
Then it was off to continue my training out in the field (or water might be more appropriate)
Meeting my Teacher Development Trainer (TDT)
I met Jane (my TDT) at the pool and really enjoyed seeing the difference in levels all in the space of a few hours. It was a very interesting experience watching from the poolside. I couldn't wait to get in and start my practical training.
Pool session Training
My first day of training was just over a week away, and I was so excited and EXTREMELY nervous. There is a huge training folder to read but it’s an easy read because it is just so interesting. It is a lot of information to take in and I have never changed career paths in my life. I was feeling a range of emotions from doubt to nerves to excitement.
To begin with I felt incredibly nervous but getting in and getting involved was so exciting!
After the first pool session, I was feeling VERY overwhelmed but Jane put me at ease. I spoke to Jane for support and she made everything clear and worked through my questions with me for the following week. That’s what the TDT is there for and why they are with us every step of the way throughout our training.
When it’s my turn to take the lead with presenting some skills, I am incredibly nervous but I’ve been practising hard at home. There is a lot to remember and talk about with each skill but I took a deep breath and worked my way through. The first skill presentation wasn't too bad for my first try. Of course, it could be better but you have to start somewhere and things would only improve before my exam. It’s not as easy as these teachers make it seem but it is as fun.
With each week my confidence grows as I improve and look forward to my next pool session. I even scored full marks for a skill during my training, a fantastic achievement.
As the weeks progress, I get the opportunity to run a class which is a great chance to practice working through the lesson plans.
During the weeks of training I sit my Theory Exam and Lifesavers Test and am thrilled when I find out I passed both. Phew, that was challenging. The Practical Exam to go next!!!
Exam day arrives and I am tested on skills which I have to present to different classes observed by an examinier and my TDT. I admit I was nervous but had to push those nerves to one side as I was determined to pass. By the second skill, my nerves had subsided and I enjoyed it so much.
The great news is, I passed and I am a qualified baby teacher!!! - The last few months of hard work has paid off and I've loved every second of it.
My First Day Teaching I had so much fun teaching my very own first class as a fully trained Aquatots Teacher with many more classes to come. It really is rewarding and enjoyable and I am sure I will always remember those first Level 1 babies who started their Aquatots journey at the same time as me.
** Since this was written Laura has gone on to complete her Toddler, Child and Aquanatal Training programmes so now enjoys teaching all levels of the Aquanatal programme. She is also now a qualified TDT allowing her the opportunity to train new Teachers herself.