Why Are Kids So Fantastic?

I am so lucky to get to work at the pool teaching 3rd graders to swim. I got this job almost 2 months ago, and I can’t believe I get to work with amazing kids, in the pool, teaching something I love (swimming), AND I get paid!

There is a very cool grant that provides the following for every single 3rd grader enrolled in public school in the city: for three weeks they are bused to the pool, given swimsuits that match the instructors’ suits, provided towels, and taught to swim for 1 hour. We also teach them some water polo and a little diving.

The above pic was inspired by one of my recent students. He was TERRIFIED of the diving board. Most kids are terrified of the board when they get up there. But this kid attacked his fear. He clenched his fists, gritted his teeth, and shouted “THUHREEEE, TWWWOOO, OOOOOONNE, BIG JUMP!” And he did that every time he jumped. He never once honored his fear.

I know how he feels. I took a diving class a few weeks ago. The instructor greeted us with, “First, we conquer your fear of heights. Jump off the 5 meter board. Twice.” The 5m doesn’t look so tall until you’re standing on it. I was earnestly concerned I would soil myself both times I jumped.

The next day, I watched my student conquer the same (or greater) level of fear over, and over, and over, and over. He must have jumped ten times. I am still so impressed.

Today, that session ended. I had to say good-bye to this very cool kid. And I had to say good-bye to 10 other students who stole my heart too. Ugh. The only bad part of the job is the final hug.

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