This week's blog has been written by Jo, who recently ran our most recent teacher training course in Bristol.
The vast majority of our teachers were originally our clients, they came to classes with their babies, fell in love with Turtle Tots and the whole idea of baby swimming (because it is so AWESOME!) and then approached us asking how they go about become a teacher. The great thing about running a baby business is that you have a rich pool of talent in your client base – many women are re-assessing their priorities in the light of having children and are seeking a new work/life balance to allow them to have more time with their families.
However most are not already swimming teachers, so the first thing they have to do is a whole load of training with the STA (Swimming Teachers’ Association) to get all their swimming teaching and lifesaving qualifications.
Once all this is under their belt they then come on the Turtle Tots specialist training which incorporates the official STA Baby and Preschool qualification. This involves two weeks in the pool and classroom, the first intensive week with ‘practice’ babies and the second week in real classes being assessed by experienced teachers to ensure their techniques and delivery are spot on. Last week I delivered the first week of training to the latest bunch of new teachers here in Bristol. Jodi from Berks and Bucks ran another training course just before Easter.
I was moved to write this blog (once I’d recovered from the training week as I was utterly exhausted) after witnessing first hand what an amazing transformation the group of new teachers go through in just one week. As a tutor, it is a proud moment watching your tutees strike out on their own!
For some, teaching and leading a group comes naturally, for others this is the hardest part. There is a huge amount of technical information to absorb and remember - teaching babies to swim isn’t rocket science, but there is a lot more to it than a lot of people realise.
The first week of training involves long days, with up to six hours a day in the pool. Most of the teachers are staying away from home, so as well as feeling nervous and overwhelmed with all the information they are also missing their families. It can be quite an emotional wrench being away from your baby or toddler, often for the first time. Not to mention the organisation involved in arranging childcare, work and domestic arrangements for a whole week.
All our teachers have passed their external assessments with flying colours and are off around the country in their home areas delivering loads of assessed lessons - some of you will have spotted them in your classes.
So, welcome and HUGE congratulations to our latest Turtle Tots teachers - Laura, Claire, Natalie, Louisa, Trudy, Lucy, Alexis, Kelly, Carly, Hayley, Gemma, Nicky, Jessica and Zuzana and of course to our newest licensees Kate, Emma and Verity who are launching their own businesses in West Kent, N. Worcestershire and Newbury - you guys officially have the best job in the world!