For a long time now, I have been thinking of changing my car from petrol to a hybrid model. I am nervous to fully convert to electric as I make quite a few long journeys, but hybrid sounds good to me and certainly a step in the right direction environmentally.
Making changes in our lives can be quite daunting and I discovered this no more so than recently, when I was unable to deliver face to face classes in my musical theatre academy. Like everyone, lock down brought many challenges, and one of which was making sure my pupils got their lessons as planned. At first, this simply didn’t happen. I closed the academy and awaited an announcement for a swift return, but of course it didn’t come. Weeks turned into months and by this stage, it was apparent that I would only be able to offer classes if we went online!
For me, online classes didn’t really seem feasible. Musical Theatre lessons include singing as a group and this, online, doesn’t really work and with much of our teaching involving group work, and show rehearsals, I simply wrote off the idea and decided to wait until the Autumn term, when we would be back to ‘normal’!
Over the Summer months, I provided some free activities for the pupils to do at home, from colouring for the youngest, to monologues and ‘You Tube’ tutorials for the older students. Something at least…but perhaps not ideal.
Then Autumn term was upon us and we eventually got the green light to go ahead with face to face classes. Following strict guidelines and a thorough assessment, my academy was deemed ‘COVID Secure’ and we were given certificates and a logo that we could display, to prove it!
It soon became apparent that our now smaller classes would get even smaller as the weeks passed, due to local lock down periods and certain school years having to quarantine. So I bit the bullet and tried an online class at the same time as my face to face class.
iPad set up, tripod bought, long extension leads and chargers all at the ready. I set up Zoom codes allocated passwords, updated terms and conditions and bit the bullet! To be honest, I was dreading it! There was so much to consider…child protection, health & safety, technical issues etc. but it was worth a try, so we went live and then this happened….
Absolutely nothing – it went perfectly! The WiFi worked, the pupils codes worked, the children engaged really well and the teacher coped with it like water of a ducks back! (Quite a hard task to control a full class of ‘live’ pupils at the same time of keeping children online involved and engaged). I would go as far to say – Why haven’t we ever done this before? Sometimes children can’t attend because they struggle for a lift or a parent is ill etc. Why not always offer this type of class?
So there we have it, like many others around the country, our ‘Hybrid’ classes were born and it was easy. We now offer all our classes as ‘hybrid’. So perhaps its time to learn from this lesson and make a decision, and I think I have – As soon as I am able, I’m going to change my car to a hybrid version and I bet I’ll wish I’d done it very much sooner!
Embrace change, take risks and be brave. Anything is possible when you decide to go for it and don’t have a ‘Plan B’
My book, ‘So Your Child Wants to go to Drama School?’ is all about not having a ‘Plan B’ – Read the first few pages HERE for FREE!