I recently had the privilege of teaching a 7 year old girl how to paddle board! It was such a fun few hours on the lake – for the girl, for her mom, and for me as their instructor.
Teaching Maria reminded me of all the things that I love about teaching children – including seeing their excitement about learning and doing something new, and seeing their confidence build. Kids seem to especially love the feel of standing up on top of the water and being able to look straight down to see the bottom of the lake!
Because I am a teacher, the summer months allow me the freedom to operate my own business doing what I love – getting more people outside enjoying their time spent in nature!
During the other ten months of the year, I teach children from Kindergarten to middle school. My favourite parts of teaching are connecting with the students and seeing their excitement when they have really learned something new – the “Aha” moment as it is called. This is defined as “a moment of sudden insight or discovery”.
I saw this with Maria when she discovered how to control the movements of her board with her paddle strokes – forwards, backwards, and turning in a circle. And I saw it again when she stood up on her board for the third time and realized that she was totally capable of standing and paddling at the same time.
For most kids, the progression of learning how to paddle board goes something like this:
- excitement combined with some hesitancy and fear around getting on the board and leaving shore;
- pride and excitement when they learn how to paddle forward, backwards, and how to turn their paddle board around;
- increased confidence as they learn that they can control how their board moves on the water!
- a willingness to try standing up on their board on the water – we always practice this technique first while still on shore so that they have already rehearsed the progression of movements
- standing on their board! Like everyone, usually the first few times feel a little shaky and with more practice the kids are smiling, happy and proud.
Learning something new always involves taking a risk and stretching your comfort zone a little or even a lot, which can feel unfamiliar and even scary. But the rewards include increased confidence, more enjoyment of life, and the excitement of mastering a new skill. And if you’re learning to paddle board, it also includes the awesome feeling of standing up on your board on top of the water and being able to move it to wherever you want to go!
Give it a try and see how much fun you can have!