Monday, July 20, 2009

Mama Bear

You all know Mama Bear Syndrome. The need to protect your kid at all costs. Even if the thing "endangering" them really isn't that bad at all. Today I took Haylie to her first day of her "Goldfish" swimming lesson. Her "Tadpole" teacher told her she was ready to move up. Let me note that the teachers at the pool are all teenagers and this is their summer job. They are qualified swimmers, and for the most part, great teachers...but they are there for a paycheck, and don't really develop any kind of passion for the kids they're teaching. I think that takes a certain amount of maturity - know what I mean?

So after about 15 minutes, her teacher looks over at the other teacher in the pool and says "Were you her tadpole teacher? Did you pass her?" The other teacher was not her teacher and replied that she did not know who was. They did not know I could hear them, but at that point I approached the pool and told them who her teacher was (not that it mattered). She then proceeded to tell me that Haylie was not ready to be in her class. She said that she would not be able to learn the freestyle stroke and recommended that I put her back into the tadpole class. She said "I'll teach her for today, but I don't think she's ready." Her body language toward Haylie for the rest of the lesson really IRKED me. I could see her looking over at the tadpole class like she wanted to dump her off over there...AND THEN SHE DID!! There was only about 5 minutes left in the class, and she actually took Haylie over to the other teacher. Like it was soooo hard to deal with her.

So I went to talk to the manager, who is also a teenager, and told him that I had no problem putting her back into tadpoles, but wondered if the classes were full. He said to come in the morning and they'd "fit her in". Well, there are rules and regulations and there cannot be more than 6 kids in a class. So when I got home I called the main office to see about getting her into a class. Sure enough, they were all full.

Lady: Sorry, all the classes are full so there is nothing I can do for you.
ME: Then, I would like a refund.
Lady: I'm sorry, but I can't give you a refund since she already went to class today.
Lady: Let me transfer you to my supervisor.

Yeah, that's right - she knew I was TICKED! So the supervisor was much more helpful. I had thought about the situation quite a bit before talking to him and I truly feel that she is ready to move up to the Goldfish class. She had mastered all the skills of a Tadpole - I knew that when she started the Goldfish class, that she would be on the "low end of the totum pole" so to speak. Here is the description for the Goldfish class:

*Improves tadpole skills and introduces buoyancy, body position, propulsion, and coordinated strokes*

INTRODUCES coordinated strokes, such as the freestyle, which her teacher so quickly deemed her unable to learn. Here's the deal: she may not learn to do the freestyle stroke - but it is her teacher's JOB to try and teach it to her. She is not supposed to know how to do it on the first day and she certainly should not be told that she CAN'T!

So, the supervisor asked me questions about Haylie's skills and confidence. I told him that she is small, and perhaps that is why her teacher felt that she was not ready, but that she is very confident, and very eager to learn. So he encouraged me to keep her in the Goldfish class. I expressed to him my concern that her teacher might be annoyed at having her in the class and that Haylie might get treated differently. He assured me that he would talk to the pool manager and have him pass along the message to the teacher that she is to teach my child and be fair!

I think that all of us, as parents, want to see only the best in our children - and it hurts when someone else sees anything less than the beautiful, capable children that we see. I am not a person who views her children only through those "rose-colored" glasses. I know my kid is not perfect - but don't you dare tell me she can't do something when you haven't even given her half a chance.

I'm taking her back to the Goldfish class tomorrow, and if that teacher even so much as looks at Haylie sideways - she's gonna get an earful from this Mama Bear.

PS: that is not the meanie teacher


Alisia Faumuina said...

I am ready!! I have my boxing gloves on..what time do you want me there?

kelly said...

Amen to that!

Jenn said...

Glad you put them in there place! Hope it all works out.

sueyado said...

You go girl!!! I love the mama bear syndrome! Good luck!!!