let me introduce you to my new pool.

Can we just take a moment to appreciate the fact you can get shirts that say ‘chlorine is my perfume’ – I need this in my life.
It has never been truer.

I also wanted to introduce you all to the pool that I’m going to be teaching in, my new pool.
I’ll be working at Dean Greenwood Swim School, based at the Mt. Eden pool, which upon first inspection didn’t thrill, but once I’d got in and switched my imagination on it’s a cracking little pool to teach in – fellow teachers will understand.

The thing that drew me to this swim school above others was the focus on staff development, and while I’m going through training and the values of the swim school are being drilled in to me, it seems like they do practice what they preach.

I’ve always said that a major flaw of the teaching system as it stands in the UK is that once you qualify, there is no renewal process, or minimum required teaching hours in a set period of time. You don’t have to go on CPDs in order to retain your qualification and often if you want to, you have to front the cost yourself – employers don’t seem to want to help you continue your professional development.
How on earth can you possibly expect to produce million dollar swimmers if they’re taught by 50 cent teachers?

The best part about teaching is that it’s always changing, there are always new ideas, new ways of doing things, better ways of doing things.
Too often teachers in the UK are closed minded, they are protective of ‘their’ techniques and they don’t want to keep learning, they’ve got their way of doing things and 80% of the time it works, but that 20% are the kids you really need to be teaching.
I’m not daring to suggest my opinion has any real clout and I’m certainly not saying I know everything about teaching, because the day I think I do, I need to retire; I’ve just been around long enough to know I’d be shooting myself in the foot to be so ignorant.
I can finally say that I am a great teacher, something that has always been hard for me to see, but it is dangerous to get complacent.

DGSS seems to value the professional development of the staff and indeed, it’s part of your ongoing employment that you keep yourself trained and go on courses and further develop yourself.
Rather like my experience in Melbourne, here they want you to be the best you can and it seems to be more of a community of ideas and teaching practices as apposed to holding all your cards close to your chest.

The fact that you don’t need a qualification to teach swimming in New Zealand terrifies me, but my mind was somewhat put to rest seeing the training that’s delivered and the support that is offered to new teachers.
Of course, that’s not unified across the country, and fresh off the boat I have no idea what the set up is like elsewhere, but from what I’ve seen thank goodness these kids are starting off here.

I absolutely do not think it needs to be easier to become a teacher in the UK and Aus.
In the UK, the fact that the course is so expensive and at times gruelling is a great way of weeding out those that can’t cut it and usually means we’re producing semi-ok instructors fresh off the conveyor belt.
(I say usually, because there are some glaring exceptions to this rule).
But I think there should be the same ‘rules’ as in Aus, that you have to have x amount of teaching hours signed off with a qualified instructor before you can teach alone.
(This is great, because I’ve seen teachers refuse to sign off on hours until they were satisfied with the standard of teaching and it’s largely unpaid, so you have to really make the effort).

I can’t wait to get started properly.

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