Thursday, June 13, 2013

Are you a Lifeguard or a Swimmer? - Teach Like a Pirate - Chapter 2

p - Immersion - rate
Are you a Lifeguard? - standing on the sidelines giving orders, hovering above, directing from the side?
Are you a Swimmer? - in the "water" with your students, guiding them side by side, and totally present?
My son, Tanner, is totally immersed when he plays with little ones whether it be swimming with his cousin or teaching the neighborhood boys to play basketball.
In the classroom, on most days, I am a swimmer!  I don't sit behind a desk (and don't have one) and give orders. I don't give an assignment and then go sit and grade papers or chit chat with my assistant.  I am in the floor with my students or walking around beside them at their seats.  How else am I going to really know my students?  
I especially love "swimming" with my students in guided reading and math small groups.  If I am in the moment, fully present, I am able to reach my students and give them just what they need to move them forward.  I don't teach from the sidelines!  

Just as you know when someone isn't really "with" you, so do your students!

However, I have to admit, after swimming all day with my students I often come home and become a lifeguard.  Not in the sense that I am barking orders or halfway doing things at home.  But, my attention is divided.   I am not fully present when I am at home because I am always busy with homework, blogs, and making items for my classroom.  While that might make me a good teacher, I need to learn to STOP and be fully present when at home.  
My family is more than worth it!



  1. Wow, great post. And, uh, those last few lines really hit home...ouch. Why am I such a good "Swimmer" at school, and such a tyrannical "Lifeguard" at home? I have never put the 2 together before...thanks for pointing that out, Tamera. You are so right about our families deserving better from us...they are the reason we want to be good swimmers at school! I'm gonna have to take some swim lessons here at home this summer:)

  2. I can't wait to read this book! Thanks for your notes and feedback! I'm also a NC teacher! I love your blog. Tara

  3. Great insight! I think so many of us are guilty of going home to be a lifeguard after a full day of swimming with the kids. I started to blog last night and my youngest son came down to play checkers and my first instinct was to say, "Not right now.", but I put down the computer and had fun with him. Now it is my JOB to make sure it continues when school starts again!

    The Resourceful Apple

  4. Oh Mommy guilt. I am totally with you on the school and home front. It's hard, maybe impossible, to do a really good job at both at the same time. I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way.
    Thanks so much for stopping by.

    School Is a Happy Place