Assistant tips: Smile, learn and become a goggle-fixing expert!

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Every swimming teacher and assistant has been there – the first shift after earning their qualification.

It could be daunting and nerve-wracking, but the Swimming Qualifications (Swim England) Facebook group is making things a whole lot easier, as Jill Giddins can testify.

She completed her SEQ Level 1 Swimming Assistant (Teaching) qualification in West Sussex last year and makes her ‘debut’ as an assistant this weekend.

Ahead of her first lesson, Jill asked the Facebook group: “Any advice from swim teachers out there?”

More than 50 responses have followed – and there’s no one better qualified to advise on the subject than the group’s 9,000 swimming teachers, assistants, swim school managers and coaches.

The support, tips and guidance included practical advice on how best to assist Level 2 qualified teachers, how to communicate with the swimmers, and the most important hint of all – smile and enjoy it!

‘You will become addicted!’

Here are just a few of the fantastic tips Jill received from the Swimming Qualifications family…

Simonne Weavers: The teachers will be so happy to see you. Ask at the start what the lesson plan will be and offer lots of help and if there are any particular students she needs an extra eye on.

Melanie Barratt: Smile! Big smiles with the kids and talk to the teacher to make sure you understand the plan and what they want you to do. Above all, smile and enjoy!

Stuart Batham: Just be yourself and enjoy it. Do what you did on your Level 1 course when assisting Level 2s.

Sarah Young: Engage your inner child, smile a lot and have fun.

Elissa Smith: If you are in the water try to stay at eye level and not tower over them. They will engage more with you.

Liz Stokes: Don’t do it! You will become addicted!

Nicola Gustard: Do what is natural, talk to upset children, hold out that hand, be you and smile. Good luck!

Swim England Level 1 qualification endorsed by CIMSPA

Belinda Wikberg: Repeat L2 teachers instructions to the students further away or needing instructions repeated. Reinforce students following instructions with a quick few words of recognition – good job, thumbs up or simply good kicking if the instruction was to kick.

Karen Massetti: Chat to your teacher about what they have planned for the lesson. Introduce yourself to the children. Encourage them. Above all else, smile and have fun.

Mimi Donaldson: Take the lead from your Level 2 teacher, don’t try to take over, reiterate instructions, become a goggle-fixing expert, learn their names, smile lots.

Elaine Donohoe: Offer to do the warm up and cool down. This gives the L2 time to sort themselves out between lesson changeovers (maybe even nip to the loo!)

Gavin Bound: Learn all you can from your lead teacher, through prior lesson brief and during each lesson. You’ll soon get to know the kids in your class and who need more support than others.

Bradley Gould: Be open minded – each child is different – and have patience. Each child learns at different rates.

David Ajetunmobi: Don’t be scared to ask the teacher what to do in a certain situation. We live and we learn from experience as much as the theory. So it’s okay to have questions.