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P.E. 28A student evaluation comments

Below you will find the results from class evaluations of PE 28A. Evaluations are not required every quarter but I do them often anyway.

see also: How to get an A in lifeguard training

Student learning outcomes in lifeguard training

But first, these emails and notes:

Graduates of the De Anza College lifeguard training program who are now head lifeguards or even facility managers come back to help teach the class and recruit employees. A note from one of them:

"I took the American Red Cross Lifeguard Training course and American Red Cross Water Safety Instructor course just for fun. The knowledge and skills these courses have taught me led me to pursue a career in Aquatics as a lifeguard and swim instructor. Not only did I enter the career field fully certified and prepared, but I also entered it with more certifications and experience than most other candidates.

The additional training Mary Donahue provided in the Lifeguard Management portion of the course has helped me advance my career from a lifeguard/swim instructor to a head lifeguard, and now I am the Aquatics Coordinator at the Addison-Penzak Jewish Community Center in Los Gatos.

Not only do I highly recommend these American Red Cross courses to persons interested in pursuing a career in Aquatics, but I also highly recommend hiring lifeguards who took their training at De Anza College. I know that these lifeguards/swim instructors will join my company with not only the skills and certifications necessary to ensure a safe pool environment and teach effective swim lessons, but I also know that they will bring professionalism and strong leadership skills as well.


Sylvia Lam

Aquatics Coordinator

Addison-Penzak Jewish Community Center"


The students give me self-addressed, stamped envelopes for me to mail their certification to them. A few weeks after the spring 2008 class I found this handwritten thank you card in with the envelopes:

"Dear Mary,

Coming into lifeguard training, I really did not know what to expect and how I'd do. It has been a roller coaster ride from then up until now. It is amazing how much experience I've gotten throughout the quarter. This has been the most challenging class I have ever taken in my life. I've never had to deal with so much physical + emotional + manual work. I am so grateful to have read what I needed to know, and for the things...the numerous skills you've taught me. I've never had an instructor really push me the way you have. I'm really touched and blessed to have taken this training course with you. Thank you for your honesty, time, patience and many chances to become a better rescuer, student and a better developed person.

Thank you very much. I'll never forget you, and your authority.

God bless. (signature unreadable)"


an email I received in August 2007:


I wanted to say thank you. I was surfing the web, searching for something, I don't know what and I ran into a webpage with your name on it with DeAnza's logo. I couldn't believe it. Anyway the site prompted my memory to pull out all the great things I experienced while taking your classes and helping out with lifeguarding. I took your lifeguard cert class, which was a huge turning point for me. It was my first job where I was helping others. I worked as a lifeguard, volunteered for Danskin's Triathlon, and your beginning adult swimming class too. I remember all your encouragement and I can't think of another teacher that gave me so much. You even paid me a huge compliment to my parents. I have so much to thank you for. Well, I'm a physical therapist now, helping those who sustain injuries at work. I finished my two BS degrees in 2000 and now live in Sacramento with my wife and son, with another on the way.

Oh, my name is John H------ and this was back in 1994-96.

Anyway, I had to tell you, that your effort made a difference and I'm grateful for what you did in a time of life where I was trying to define who I was, but now sure how.

Thank you Mary,



2010 From the comments section:

It wasn't as scary as I imagined. :) I learned more than I thought I would.

There was a lot more bookwork than expected, however I do think they are all necessary. I'm also surprised at how fast I learned all the skills and able to execute them.

It was fun to be in an environment that required a lot of teamwork. I have been going to De Anza for two years and this is the first time Iíve really made friends that I can trust. I also thought Mary was really fun and really strict and thorough at the same time, and thatís exactly what I want in a teacher who is teaching me not just job skills, but life skills.

For starters I thought the class would be ridiculously easy. Nope, that all shattered the second day of class. Itís really hard but fun, nonetheless. I didn't expect to learn so much and I definitely know why early in the class we were always told that we'd be better trained lifeguards than other lifeguards.

This is the best class I have taken at De Anza!! Period. Too legit, too legit to quit.

To be honest, everything exceeds my expectations. Thereís many helpful teaching assistants, a reliable communication plan that includes emails and a class website, an absolutely positive and encouraging teacher, and everyone gets along well as a team. The class was a huge challenge both mentally and physically. At first, I thought itsí a simple certification class, but I was wrong. There were countless quizzes, tests, skills tests and these didn't just towards the certification but also towards the class grade. The class was more than I expected, it was overwhelming and stressful, but I feel lifeguards graduating from this class should be more competent and knowledge able than any lifeguards who work in a waterpark (like the one I worked at). `

Excellent course. I would recommend it to any undergraduate student and also to all PE division students.

Best course I have taken at De Anza. Very thorough!

Because of this class, when at work for lifeguarding I always feel better, well informed, more educated than my co-workers.

I learned more than I expected to learn.

I loved this course!

It was fun.

Mary is awesome. The course is long.

Find a way to extend the class time.

The class and the instructor was a huge challenge but very rewarding. However, there were many times when people were stressed about passing for certification and/or the class.

Mary is an amazing instructor!

I thought that we would be spending more time in the swimming pool and goofing off. I really didn't expect that it would involve so much hard work and lecture time. Even though the class was 4 units it caught me by surprise.

Great class.

Weíre definitely more proficient than other guards that I have met and even then, we still aren't 100% perfect! So it really makes me wonder how much worse others are.

Thanks for your time and patience with me!

Too legit, too legit to quit.

I want the class to be longer so we can practice the skills and get better at them. There is more homework than I thought there would be and it is harder than I thought.

I was excited at the fact that we were given opportunities to guard during the quarter both at the Kidís Tri and the Escape from Alcatraz swim.

2010 On the check-mark-the-boxes sections of the Red Cross course evaluation, these were the responses:

Instructor was well prepared

15% agree

85% strongly agree 0% not sure/disagree

I would recommend this course to a friend

7% agree

82% strongly agree

0% disagree

11% not sure

Instructor helped me during the practice sessions

35% agree

58% strongly agree

0% disagree

7% not sure

Instructor was clear and understandable; gave clear instructions on what to do next

23% agree

73% strongly agree

0% not sure/disagree

I know how to use the skills I learned in this course

23% agree

73% strongly agree

0% not sure/disagree

I have confidence I can do these skills correctly

46% agree 54% strongly agree

0% not sure/disagree

These are comments from the student evaluations of a De Anza College lifeguard training class, 2007.

What did you like about this course?

"It was fun and I learned stuff that I can apply to my own life. Mary is a rad instructor."

"Support and encouragement from instructor, assistants and classmates. Feeling that I can help someone I love."

"I liked the depth of teaching. I feel I learned the skills to the fullest. The knowledge gained from this class is useful anywhere."

"It taught us skills and gave us knowledge of life-importance. Promoted the desire to help people. The atmosphere was fun and challenging."

"The instructor was very good. The course was fun."

"All subject matter was thoroughly examined and worked out. It is a confidence builder."

"It put me in a reality check. No matter how good I thought I was, I was always shown different. Most comprehensive lifeguarding course I have taken."

"Course material. Teaching style."

"Course was comprehensive and appropriate."

"The presentation of materials. Instructor was very helpful in describing and answering questions I had. Enabled me to improve my lifesaving skill. Good workout!"

"Giving life experience, training to encounter with an emergency effectively, survivor skill."

Additional comments or suggestions:

" I really enjoyed all the extra info we were given. There was never a dull moment in this class. Mary is the most thorough and encouraging instructor I have ever had."

"Mary is an excellent instructor, all her patience in teaching lifeguard training pays off from a student perspective. She not only covered material from the De Anza schedule but also included her illustrations, demos that made lifeguard training a fun experience."

"Very dedicated instructor and helpful TAs"

" The instructor was a great person to work with, as well as her TAs. They were all very helpful and dedicated to seeing you pass with a good grade."

" Good class, I'm glad I took it!"

" Overall, it was worth my time. I'm happy."

"It was fun, I just might miss it."


On the check-mark-the-boxes sections of the Red Cross course evaluation, these were the responses:

Instructor was well prepared

14% agree
86% strongly agree
0% disagree

I would recommend this course to a friend

14% agree
86% strongly agree
0% disagree

Instructor helped me during the practice sessions

14% agree
86% strongly agree
0% disagree

Instructor was clear and understandable; gave clear instructions on what to do next

7% agree
93% strongly agree
0% disagree


1/3 of the class said they took the job to fulfill a job requirement,

other reasons listed:

valuable knowledge

wanted to learn newest lifeguard information

safety, I have a child

felt like it


sounded like fun


Links to student evaluations of other classes are at: Give me proof you're such a great teacher

For information about this De Anza College class go to:

Lifeguard Training

Lifeguard Training FAQs

see also:

How to get an A in lifeguard training

 Updated Friday, January 2, 2015 at 3:46:36 PM by Mary Donahue -
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