Monday, January 26, 2009

Lessons Learned

I was reminded at our last pool session of the most important part of teaching, and that is to pay attention to what we are teaching or I should say who.

When I go into a class as the coach I prepare myself with a syllabus and a few key points that I believe would be beneficial to my students. I always make it a point to listen to the needs of my students but sometimes I get caught up in my agenda.

This past session a young man really drove home the point that the syllabus is in the students not in my lesson plan and that all I need to do is draw it out of my students. I had a plan of clever games and exercises for him to do, when it came to the class his needs were really just to be comfortable in the pool surrounded by a bunch of crazy adults messing about in small boats. For a young boy he was probably fairly intimidated just by the fact that he was the only kid. My plan was to try and teach him kayaking what he needed to learn and what we ended up doing was learning how to be comfortable learning how to just be in a boat and how to relax to the point where learning can take place while being the only kid in the pool.

In retrospect the whole lesson might have been more valuable to me than him.

Thank you Andrew you are a great teacher.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


As I pick up the book and examine the cover, memory of the first read flows through me. The excitement of the story unfolding, fresh and new…spending hours immersed in the writing, the images engendered…a sense of completion at the end washed away with a cold shower of reality pouring back. There is no re-capturing that feeling no matter how much the book is loved or how often it is a companion.

I stand in the pool watching the students and feel envy. They are overcoming fears, perfecting motions and experiencing a new chapter of their story. There is always more to learn or to master and life continually plays out but there is a sadness in knowing that I would have to move on to something different to regain that “first time” rush. I feel envy and am a little jealous.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


This year's RISK (Rhode Island Surf Kayak) session is going to be held in Matunuck on January 17th.

More information is available at - RISK 09

Friday, January 9, 2009


Bliss isn’t it…that seems to be far too relaxed. Ecstatic isn’t it…that seems far too jangled. Joy will have to be it then though there is quite a bit riding on a word that is but three letters long. My friend’s child looked at me and held out a hand. He wanted me to follow him as he walked around the room. This was a skill he was just mastering and wanted to share. There was the pride of “look what I can do” along with the “this is absolutely amazing” blended with the enjoyment of “share this moment with me”. All of these things were expressed in his smile, giggle and the way his feet pumped as he pushed the cart that helped him stay upright. There was no filtering the joy. His parents are kayakers, I can’t wait to see the look on his face when he starts to master that.