Follow up to the “Billy Wall” post

I had a parent or two talk to me about my last post. I wish you guys would make comments on the post, but either way, I do appreciate the kind words. When thinking about that post, I realized that I still had something to add.

On the topic of respecting our job as coach/teachers and us respecting yours as parents: I think the best thing you can do for your children is to encourage safe play, learn basic skills and practice good character.  I cannot express enough the importance of communication between you and your teacher. Sharing information, that I call “car talk” or the conversation that occurs after the session and on the way home. Kids process the days experience and may share likes and dislikes with you because they feel more comfortable talking to mom instead of a teacher.  Share that information with the teacher and help us help the children to have a more positive experience.  On the opposite side of the same coin, don’t watch the class/session and over-analyze every step.  Don’t assess what your child likes/dislikes, most likely that you’re wrong. Also something that is challenging to them might just be the thing they like best. Openly communicate, I can’t say it enough.

“Billy!” No response.

“Billy”, again the 3 year old ignores his mom.

Once more “BILLY!!”, “What?” asks Billy, “Pay attention to your teacher!”

That is not a joke; it happened when I was teaching a 3 year old class at another gym and inspired the glass wall that separates our lobby from our gym. I think I should call it the Billy Wall in honor. If you do stay and observe the class allows allow the child’s focus to be directed by the teacher and be on the teacher. I was asked if it was OK to signal the child with thumbs up, or a short direction.  I went through this when my son was swimming over at Kittleson. He would check with me through the glass and I would give him the thumbs up and then point at the teacher indicating that he needed to listen up.  So is it OK, sometimes they need to check in and that’s understandable. It’s the way you deal with the check in that matters.  As for giving direction, I would say No. That is after all the teacher’s job.

I was also asked if a parent could step in the gym to help with hair, of all things.  Again no. Our goal is to help the children be self reliant. I’ve put in pony tails before and am no stranger to braiding. I didn’t say I was good at it, or that a child would enjoy my styling but that’s not the point. Hair done before the session should last the session. Any equipment, from ankle braces to bar grips need to be handles and adjusted by the child. That is being self sufficient and self reliant.

Lastly, If you absolutely MUST speak to your child during a class then a signal to the teacher is the best plan.  Important last minute issues, like rides home, or having to leave quickly for whatever reason, sometimes pop up.  We understand.  It’s not Ok to disrupt a class or to walk into the gym for reasons other than emergencies.  If it’s something that requires a conversation with the instructor, then a scheduled meeting time is best and not an impromptu conversation in the gym. Again, clear communication at the right time is the key.

Hope that answers some questions. Have more? Let me know.

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