Dropped in at the deep end

7th March 2008 at 00:00
The day our new swimming teacher sank without trace

Dear Bex,

We're huddled in the head's office with Nesta, the new swimming teacher, who's been taking my form group for a splash around every Tuesday.

"We really do appreciate your efforts," gurns the head ingratiatingly. "It's just we're not sure that your approach to swimming is the right one for our school."

"What do you mean?" Nesta fiddles with her braided hair.

"Well, while your emphasis on letting each child discover their 'inner swimmer' at their own speed is admirable ... ".

"Why, thank you."

"We're not sure it's entirely safe."

For a moment Nesta just hovers there, braids swinging, like a confused dream catcher. Then she summons the inner strength to answer back.

"If you're talking about what happened with Jimmy Chong last Tuesday, I don't see what's wrong with letting someone discover breast stroke in their own time."

"Nesta, he had to be resuscitated by seven different lifeguards."

"Well, y'know, that's all part of his unique learning journey. And anyway, he wanted me to throw him in the deep end."

"And you didn't think of asking him to get out of his wheelchair first?"

Nesta shrugs.

"Then there was the incident with the high diving board and the blow-up dinosaur."

"Mrs Carter," breathes Nesta. "I know that's how poor Rachel would have wanted to go."

"And letting the kids invent their own strokes was very creative, but half the class are now suffering from a severe bacterial infection."

"I wanted to let little Robert express his artistic energy."

"Yes, but if you think about it a swimming style called brownstroke was always going to be a recipe for disaster." The head sighs. "I think the kindest thing we can do is to terminate your contract."

"Oh please don't," whines Nesta. "Teaching kids is the only thing I've ever wanted to do. It's my life, my passion."

"Er, well, let's just think of this as a step on your unique learning journey," says the head, ushering her towards the door. "A journey that is leading inexorably towards the benefits office," she intones as it swings shut behind Nesta.

Love Kate x.

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