The Swim Professor

Jim Reiser, M.S.

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Swim Instructor Mentoring Program

When using the video-based Swim Lessons University Instructor Training and Certification program, we also advise that SLU programs incorporate a mentoring program for new swimming instructors.   In addition to the invaluable opportunity to train by watching the courses actually being taught, we believe nothing ever can truly take the place of real experience.  This is where the mentoring program comes to play.

At the Swim Lessons Company, I require my teachers to shadow either myself and/or several of our senior instructors.   I like to have our swim instructor candidates shadow four different experienced Swim Lessons University instructors on four different days for a total of 12 hours.  That 12 hours of practicum work, of course, is in addition to their 12 hours of classroom video-based training and online swim instructor testing.  This gives the new teacher “hands-on” experience with not only four different instructors teaching from the same lesson plans and curriculum, it also gives them experience working with a variety of children, personalities, levels, and age groups.

Here is an email I send to my Senior SLU Instructors when the mentoring program is about to begin.  This way they know what is expected of them as the new teachers participate in their practicums.

Dear Staff,

Please note that I have begun scheduling new teachers at various locations to do their practicums with many of you.  If for any reason you have to reschedule a class—please remind me if you are mentoring a teacher that night so we can let them know too.

READ INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY.  The following is a set of guidelines for how you should help break in our new teachers.  Your influence on developing their teaching skills is an instrumental part of preparing them to represent us well and deliver the superior product that SLC parents in Columbia have come to expect.

  1. Introduce the teacher to your class and tell children that he/she will be helping you today.
  2. The first time you teach any particular level, begin to show them the various supports and manipulating techniques we do and let them try it with your guidance.
  3. Without taking away from your class, comment on the names of the exercise and on the cues we use, BUT for the most part you are demonstrating how we do it AND the teacher-in-training is just “shadowing” you.  Don’t overteach them, let them watch and learn and be a little “hands on.”
  4. LASTLY – THIS IS REALLY HELPFUL:

Once the teacher candidate has settled in, so to speak–take turns with them starting the children.  You always present the new exercise or activity, give the cues/instructions, give the start signal and give feedback AND THEN let the teacher candidate try it for the second practice trial.  REPEAT for each exercise or activity that we do.

* For the Parent & Tot swim classes— you teach the class, however, get teacher candidate involved in the holds, passes, safety skills, etc.

*  DO NOT TURN YOUR CLASS INTO TWO PRIVATE LESSONS.  YOU TEACH.  THEY SHADOW.   MANY OF THE TEACHERS IN TRAINING WILL BE DOING THEIR PRACTICUMS before they do their classroom training.

If you have any questions please let me know!  Thanks you!

The International Swimming Hall of Fame has named Jim Reiser the recipient of the 2015 Virginia Hunt Newman Award for his curriculum and approach in teaching infants, toddlers, and children to swim.  Jim is the first American to win the award in 10 years.

If you would like to learn more about the Swim Lessons University Online Swim Instructor Certification  and curriculum, make sure to visit us at www.SwimLessonsUniversity.com

Swim Lessons University is currently being utilized by recreation departments, YMCAs, America Camp Association swim lessons programs, as well as by private swimming instructors in 45 states and over 30 countries!

You can also call us toll free at 1-866-498-SWIM (7946).

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February 9, 2012 at 3:58 pm
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