Swimming is like flying, except for the part about how it’s the opposite of flying. But in my mind, when I swim, I’m soaring over the ground, feeling the water rush past my face. Swimming is the best! Water is the best! Don’t ask me what sign I am. I really don’t think that has anything to do with it. ANYWAY! I love to swim, and I love my job teaching adorable 3rd graders to swim.
Except on Friday. I did not love my job on Friday.
On Friday, four of my six students shiver-cried for the entire hour. Nothing I said or did could get them to stop crying. The more they cried, the more they curled up their little bodies and clung to the wall. The most I could get out of one kid was to reach out and tap my hand, then he snapped his hand right back to the wall.
I started this job confident I’d revolutionize the world, one swimmer at a time. I just knew I could teach any child to swim, no matter how stubborn. It’s not an easy job, physically or emotionally. But it’s rewarding, and it’s fun. The children inspire me with their unique approaches to life.
Gavin marched to the end of the diving board with wild-eyed determination. He announced, “Ooonnne! Twwooo! Threeeee?! BIG! JUMP!” Then, he slid into the water with a tiny splash.
Elisha, after transforming his kick form so that he moved forward instead of backward, decided his birthday present to himself was to jump off the diving board. How cool is an 8 year old whose birthday gift to himself is to conquer a fear?!
Abraham’s key phrase was, “Let me do it by myself, and don’t help me. Even if I struggle. Okay?”
Carmen made the mistake of saying, “I can’t” in front of me on the first day. I made her say what I make all the girls say. And she greeted me with that phrase every day for the next three weeks: “I am a strong, powerful woman!” But she surprised me by adding a snap and a hair flip.
I wondered if I made a mistake applying for and accepting this job. Maybe I’m just a person who likes swimming, but who has no business working with children ever. Maybe. Maybe not. Time will tell. But I love the kids, and the swimming, so much that I decided stay until they fire me. Fortunately, I don’t think they fire people just because their students cry. For an hour.
Yet I press onward!!!!!!!!!!