Dear swimming teachers,
ALL that chlorine, all those pruney fingers, all those hours spent having water splashed in your face - they are all worth it.
You might not be told that by the parents who whisk their kids in and out, or have something to say about your technique, but it is all worth it.
You girls and guys really are lifesavers. It is impossible to know how many lives you have saved.
The pool gate left open, the capsized canoe in the dam, the rip on the beach on the coastal holiday - these potentially deadly situations have been handled and overcome because of your teaching.
Yes, we hear about when tragedy strikes and all too often it is a case of a lack of knowledge.
We do not hear of the countless tragedies averted because all those early Saturday mornings down at the town pool going back and forth.
Teaching is a tough gig at the best of times.
Teaching someone to swim, it would seem, is unlike teaching someone their three-times tables or how to type.
It is a full body experience, requiring physical effort, with the added unpredictability of water involved.
For that, you should be admired.
Here’s the thing though, swimming classes are fun. It’s not like teaching kids sit-ups or taking them to the dentist.
Just look at the pool edges, lined with wet-haired, sploshing primary schoolers, just waiting for the signal to leap in and get going.
That’s genuine joy to be there.
If only learning all things in life were as exciting.
It’s not even like you have to hide the fact it’s good for them in case the kids cotton-on and rebel, like when you eat choko and go overboard about the taste to convince the big-eyed onlooker that he or she will like it.
No, swimming is just a downright good time. The fact they are developing a vital life skill is the big bonus.
And that’s not to mention the possibility of a “treat” on the way home or from the canteen at the pool.
Nothing says “well done” to a young tacker who’s just clung to a kickboard for the last half hour, than receiving a Killer Python jelly snake.
Some of those putting more water out of the pool than in it with their flailing arms and legs may go onto serious competition, perhaps even an Olympic Games.
For the majority though, the joy of a weekly swim and knowing how to dive down and collect that bright plastic ring from the bottom is accomplishment enough, and certainly peace of mind for onlooking parents.