Wednesday, November 23, 2011


"Teacher Shannon will be subbing for Teacher Dana today". The sign reads on the door as you walk into swim lessons. What goes through your mind as a mom? "Oh man, here we go again, she's not going to get in with a teacher she doesn't know." Or, "Cool a new teacher!" How you respond to a substitute teacher can help or hinder your child with new situations and new people.

I admit, I feel a pang of frustration when I walk in and see our teacher isn't there in the pool. My kids LOVE their teachers and so do I. Swimming is very intimate and develops a trusting relationship between teacher and child. But my kids have had some of their best lessons with subs! They show off, they play more or they listen more!

Some parents I have over heard talk to their 3 year old like this: "Now Nancy, teacher Dyan isn't here today cause she's sick, is it OK if you swim with teacher Chelsea instead?? She's really nice. Look, she's right there." Seriously. Asking a 3 year old permission is not OK. Parents need to set the tone and make the decisions with regard to swim lessons. This is about safety as much as about fun.

I've heard other parents say to their kids, "Kacey, check it out a new teacher. Tell her what your favorite thing to do in class is." My favorite is watching teacher Shannon smile at the kids and say, "I'm teacher Arlette today, don't I look like her?" This gets even the youngest kids laughing...the silliness.

There are those times where some kids who are sensitive just can't deal with a sub. A common problem is usually girls sometimes have a hard time with boy substitute teachers. Poor Teacher Vince. The boys are loving his energy but the girls are often turned off by his boisterous volume.

Parents, my message here is: You can help us out by being up beat and supportive even when you are discouraged about having a substitute teacher. Our kids absorb so much of our mood and can take that with them into the pool. Here at LPB we only get your kids for 30 minutes a week and would love for it to be enjoyable and full of learning.

As a teacher, I don't like missing my classes at all. I love my students but sometimes we are on vacation. La Petite Baleen strives to get consistent loving teachers that are committed to your child and their attendance. This is a learning environment where we like to mix structure with flexibility. Parents, you are our best allies and your child's best allies. See you at the pool!

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