Running your own swimming classes (or any classes for that matter) can be an incredibly enjoyable choice of career, offering employment independence and flexibility, but it can also be unbelievably demanding, especially when it comes to that bit that nobody likes,....paperwork and administration.
If you're only teaching a couple of classes, the chances are that you're perfectly happy with whatever spreadsheets or files that you're using and you can easily keep on top of payments and receipts, so you might not feel that you need any help as such.
That's exactly how I started out in 2005 when I was a proud franchisee running baby classes, but as word spread and class numbers increased as well as locations, I found it more and more difficult to keep on top of it all (and being a mum and housewife too!). At my peak, I had 13 classes a week running, and I employed 2 other teachers, so that was an awful lot of paperwork and, as is inevitable, a fair amount of chasing for payments too! An experience that stayed with me long after I closed down my franchise after 7 years as my children had grown and demands on my time were very different.
Fast forward to 2011 and I found myself getting heavily involved with our local Swimming Club as a volunteer parent and committee member -position of Membership Secretary. (Something that sneaks up and befalls many swimming parents!) That later developed into a new interest - Level 1 Water Polo Coaching and once again I found myself working with younger children, this time teaching them the first skills in a great aquatic sport - Balls + H2O = FUN!!
As well as the coaching, my voluntary role as Membership Secretary was taking up 20-30 hours a week, more during the ASA Batch Renewal months Jan - March, and it was then I decided to ask my husband for help from an IT perspective as this was his 'thing'. We wanted to design a British System that British Swimming Clubs and Swim Schools could use easily and affordably and allow volunteers to put some fun back into their commitments too by giving them back some time.
It took many hours, working together, using our local club members as guinea pigs, for us to come up with the initial design and outline of what is now Club Organiser - still a constantly evolving, administrative system, moving with the times to keep accommodating as many new requirements of our user clubs as possible.
Our latest feature which has just gone live, is our stand-alone Learn To Swim Category, which acts as a Swim Section, but contains as many classes as you run - you simply add the class details, upload your members and allocate them to their class, and the system allows you to do the rest - general admin tasks and reports, produce register sheets (live and manual), allows you to easily move pupils through the classes, tracking their achievements on the swimming pathways as you go and all the time, keeping them within the main club database as well. Parents and guardians (or swimmers over 18) can make payments via the system, paying only the additional charges as set by their payment provider (bank/PayPal/Credit Card) - we DON'T add on any extra charge for the benefit of paying online. This will save you hours of chasing payments, and if you offer any swimming galas or school/club events, these can be entered and paid for direct through their member's sign in too.
A screen shot of a sample Class List
The features are too great to go through in a blog, so suffice to say, if you're interested in knowing more, go to www.cluborganiser.co.uk and take a look around, or drop us a line and we'll be very happy to answer your questions. Our second (smaller) software system, www.classorganiser.co.uk might also be of interest if you're looking for a system that simply allows you to show your classes and availability on through a weblink, allowing parents/guardians to book into classes and pay direct themselves.
For clubs who offer Swimming Lessons, we completely understand and appreciate that most swimming clubs are run by committees made up of good hearted volunteer coaches, many of whom have been carrying out their roles for many years, with little or no grumbles. Times are changing though, and clubs need to change to keep up with everything. We are here to help, support and guide you through that change, so do let us.
We'd love the opportunity to help you and your members "Just Keep Swimming!" so don't be shy - get in touch!
A screen shot of a sample 'Live' Class Register for use on poolside on your hand held device - enabling you to tick off both attendance and achievements within the swimming pathway framework for each pupil as you go. (Manual forms can be printed off for use on poolside if you don't have a WIFI signal, or prefer to do them later, once class has finished.)