My Workout Yesterday & A Screaming Child
I had a new student yesterday for my swimming class. Let’s call this student Micheal. It was his first lesson and he seemed to be a rather receptive student. You can see that in a student who may likely do well in a swimming lesson. He was receptive, bold and fearless. However, I had a feeling that his parents did not fully prepare him for what a swimming lesson was all about. Thus, began my workout and a screaming child.
It all started with me asking the child to practice his hands when swimming. The child replied with a ‘no’ and wanted to leave the pool. He could not because we were in a part of a pool where it was too deep for him. The only way that he could leave was to swim.
He insisted that I let him go home. I responded that he is free to go, as long as he could swim out of the pool. In which he started to fake a cry. Now, at this point, if you have not experienced this before, you may be wondering how can someone tell if a cry is fake. I will just say that after two children and many crying students, it is an art, but there are a few signs.
For one, Micheal was not exactly crying but more of screaming. There were also times where he would pause to see how I would respond to him. I suppose he was really used to getting his way if he were to throw a tantrum. I held on to him, fearing that he would plunge into the pool and possibly get hurt. The holding on to him bit was my workout.
As the boys screams echoed throughout the whole pool, did I mention that his mom was in full view of this the whole time? She stared up occasionally checking before returning to talking with the other parents. Of course, pessimistic ol’ me was wondering if she was going to file a lawsuit against me for child abuse.
The workout lasted for quite a bit, Micheal did not seem large but boy was he heavy. As my muscles screamed in exhaustion, I held on to Micheal as he continued to demand that I take him out of the pool. I explained that that was the whole point of learning how to swim so that he could do so himself. One reason I did not want to give in was that I knew that doing so, would lose me all authority over him. If by some miracle his parents wanted him to continue learning with me, I would not be able to control him since he could always just yell.
So after a good half an hour, he finally gave in and did the exercise that I asked him to do. He was happy for the remainder of the lesson and when he left he even smiled and said goodbye.
As Micheal and his mother left, they told me that they will see me next week. I asked if she was ok with how I handled Micheal. She replied, “Oh yes! He’s like that you know, he just needs to ‘cry’ it out with you, teacher. Now, he has finally accepted you! See you next week!”
I sat there smiling. But in my mind, I was thinking if it was all a test for me. I wanted to criticize and question the parent’s disciplining methods and actions. But reminded myself that it was not my place to be judgemental. At the very least, I had a great workout out of it.