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Word Count: 447
I change lives Whenever I feel as if I have become just another animate lump of carbon an indistinguishable number within the masses nothing reaffirms my self-confidence than those three simple words After all it is not every 17 year-old that can honestly make such an assertion most teenagers are grocery store clerks waiters and waitresses stock boys and every other clichd teenage mode of employment But not me Instead I wake up bright and early every Saturday morning brusquely roused by my deviously effective alarm clock By some means I manage to haul my inherently inert mass out of the covers and following an invariably meager breakfast bungle my way from home to the oppressively muggy climate of the school pool Inside I am always slightly doubtful that I will make it through another eight-hour work day as I hastily gather and take notes upon my papers Just in time to prevent my escape through a convenient rear exit however they arrive - the kids an enthusiastic exchange of high-fives follows then into the pool with the lot of us Ironically regardless of whatever mood I previously found myself in by this time I am invariably cheerful and optimistic - it is my responsibility to be part of the team of influences that shapes each toddler-sized metaphorical lump of clay In a forty-five minute lesson each child requires different techniques some need constant appraisal to bolster confidence others require that specific toy to persuade them all necessitate an uncompromising standard of safety yet despite such necessary accommodations most hurdles are easily overcome The good days though are those that challenge those that demand more every child unable to leave his mothers side to submerge himself to simply be independent - they all call for an extra effort Now the fun begins - all my skill in compassion in teaching methods even in shrewd negotiation comes into play Never-before realized reserves of patience and
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