Red Jackets This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Every Saturday morning I bundle up, grab my skating bag, and head for the Pilgrim Arena in Hingham, Massachusetts. For an hour I practice my jumps and spins on the smooth ice. The slippery surface seems to slip away under my silver blades as I glide. Although I skate five times a week, Saturday seems the most special for me. This is the day that I am transformed into a skating instructor.

After a hard, but exhilarating practice, I step off of the ice to grab my red jacket. My name is monogrammed across the left sleeve of this fleece jacket and over the left side is sewn, "Skating Club of Hingham Instructor." The red jacket signifies that I am part of the rink's Learn to Skate program, sponsored by the United States Figure Skating Association, whose purpose is to teach children with little experience how to skate. There are about 20 instructors and 75 children. I have been teaching for three years and plan to continue throughout high school.

At the end of last season, I received a plaque for outstanding service for teaching more hours than any other instructor. After completing sixteen hours, everyone gets a red jacket which becomes a requirement to participate. Wearing a red jacket is an honor to me and hopefully many other instructors.

When I teach I put my whole heart into it. Because I love working with young children, I find this easy and enjoyable. When I show kindness toward the children, they show it back. Sometimes I see instructors teaching kids as if they are burdens and in return, the kids treat them like enemies. The teachers wonder why their kids are obnoxious. I am greatly affected when I see a child so happy after he finally realizes how to stop or get up. When I convince a sobbing child that it won't hurt every time that she falls, the smile that she gives back extends from ear to ear. The most valuable part of this program is sharing my knowledge of the sport with others and giving them the same joy I get when I skate.

I would recommend that any skater find out where to sign up. There are children all over the country waiting to learn how to skate and become as good

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This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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