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In Praise of Sarah

Sarah is our swimming teacher.

I have to say that my kids have been taking lessons for years. Sean was 3 when he first started lessons, and he had a rough go at first. He was fearful and didn’t enjoy his lessons at first. What’s nice, though, was that he didn’t hate it. He just didn’t enjoy some aspects of the lessons – like the teachers insisting that he not move forward until he jumped in.

Here are Sean and Grace two years later. Sean is 5.5 and Gracie has just turned 3. You can tell how excited she is for lessons.


Group lessons. Too many kids in the pool, because the “baby pool” was closed. (This may have been the day – or just before the day – that Gracie almost drowned in this very pool.)

She kept inching away from the pool.


The next year we got a hot tip on some private lessons through the city. Gracie and Sean got one-on-one attention, but as you can see, Gracie’s face is nowhere near the water.

Evidence of swimming – Sean’s wet, Maddie’s mostly wet, Gracie’s partially wet. Not close enough.

The private swim club in our city has lessons, and as you can see… despite wearing goggles, Gracie’s head is not going in the water.

This one is perfect – you can see how Gracie would rather not wear her goggles, but she was NOT getting that face wet.

And Maddie learned from her sister.

Sean, however, is swimming at this point. Hurrah!

Every day I’d say, “Let’s get her face in the water,” to whomever was Gracie’s teacher, and yet we always got the same result.

Then, last year, we met Sarah.

The kids, meeting Sarah for the first time.

When Gracie started lessons with her, she was very hesitant to put her face in the water, but by the end of about 3 weeks with Sarah, this was Gracie.

Sarah is patient with the kids, but also no nonsense. Sometimes she needs to negotiate, especially with my youngest, Maddie.

It used to be such a chore to take the kids to swimming lessons. Sean would usually enjoy them, but the girls didn’t. Now, the kids love them. They ask at the beginning of the summer when we get to start lessons. And I get to see how much they learn and how far they’ve come, and beam with pride.

The best part? I can take them to a pool and be confident that the older two are water safe and I can let them swim on their own while I help Maddie practice in the shallow end, and do things like this:

Tomorrow is their last lesson, and next week they go back to school. Summer has gone by in the blink of an eye. Until next summer, thanks Sarah!


Did one teacher turn things around for you or your kids?


3 responses »

  1. Gen,
    This is an awesome story as well as an excellent documentation for them to see in years to come. You are an awesome mom.


  2. I need a Sarah…..Zach is over-confident at the end of the summer, and ends up freaking out in the advanced classes the next year and ends up going back to a class that is actually behind his level. Thus no forward progression. Gabe could care less if he can swim or not. He loves playing in the water, but refuses to work on skills. Mikki is my water baby, but does only exactly what the teacher asks (which doesn’t involve faces in the water at this point, hence she isn’t trying to go under at all).

  3. I’m disappointed that we didn’t get to take lessons with Sarah this year. She is the best!

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