Keeping the swimming lesson on time is important. Start time and finish time is an important part of keeping a routine not only within your lessons but within the swim school as a whole. Most swimming lessons are only 30 minutes long and teachers need to ensure that they are meeting the needs and expectations of all the clients in the classes. Keeping your lesson on track can be difficult for some teachers – some activities take longer than expected or individual swimmers have trouble with a skill – but if teachers learn to manage the class time they will be able to make the most out of the swimming lesson for everyone.
Establishing an effective class cross over system will assist teachers in keeping the lesson on track. For instance having a warm up routine of kicking or breath control activities on a shallow ledge, while others exit via a different area of the lane can be helpful. This is particularly beneficial in parent and child classes; however teachers should consider always inviting children into the class once the parent is no longer accompanying the child for water safety education purposes.
If you want to make the most out of your 30 minute class you need to make sure that you plan the lesson. Having a lesson plan will keep you on track. Even though it is important to have a lesson plan teachers also need to make sure that they can be flexible. When introducing a new skill it is sometimes difficult to anticipate how long an activity will take, class dynamics or attendance may also throw out a well laid plan. Think of the lesson plan as a guide, the more experienced you become as a teacher the easier it will be to be flexible and accommodate unforseen scenarios.
Lesson planning will also help you identify where you are conducting the class and what equipment you require to deliver the lesson. In swimming lessons every day will be different. During some shifts you will be able to stay in the one location but on other days you will be required to move around the pool. Keep the lines of communication open between you and other staff members. By communicating with your co-workers you will be able to work together. For example you may be able to get assistance from another staff member to start both groups off with their kicking practice, while you move all the equipment for the groups to the teaching location. Should you need to move around the pool space within your lesson it’s important to be mindful of the time it will take – sticking to your scheduled time will allow a more harmonious lesson for all – co-workers, swimmers and parents.
Lesson plans generally include a warm-up activity, skill development sets and a final activity. Teachers should regularly check the clock to ensure that they are managing their time effectively. Avoid introducing new or difficult skills during the final activity as you will simply run out of time. The final activity should be something fun so that the lesson ends on a positive note and students want to come back next week. Activities like diving for rings are a good but can take time, especially during the early learning stages. It’s a good idea to have a back up final activity that won’t take too long. If you’re in the middle of a skill development activity and run out of time, don’t be afraid to stop the group, tell them this is their last go and end with a simple high five and lots of positive praise for their effort. Sometimes we just can’t fit everything that we planned in to a half hour lesson.
Some common ways to finish a lesson may include
- Group songs
- Diving for rings or goggles
- Swimming races
- Imaginative play eg swimming like dolphins or stingrays
- Water safety skills or scenarios
Ultimately some days and some classes will be harder to keep on track than others. Parents, students, co-workers and managers will all understand this. Regular poor time management however will become a problem, especially if parents think that they can be late to class because the teacher is never on time or if swimmers don’t rebook into classes because they aren’t receiving adequate lesson time. Remember time management is difficult but with planning and practice you can meet the needs of all your classes and make the most out of each lesson.