Lockdown teaching has been a challenge for all FLexercise teachers, but how do you keep in contact with your participants with limited internet? Heather Jordan explains how she has developed her own particular lockdown teaching style.
Communication in rural areas
I live in rural Devon close to the Cornish border. Whilst it is a fabulous place to live, sadly, the technology is not as good as it could be. Both the internet and phone signal decide when they will work. Consequently, lockdown teaching was always going to be a challenge for me.
Most of my teacher colleagues decided to offer their groups live lockdown teaching via zoom but, it isn’t really an option for me. Zoom does work here, but only for small numbers. Too many people on the call and it freezes which is really frustrating.
Lockdown teaching my way
So, I had to think creatively. WhatsApp has been a massive game-changer and my participants are loving how I am delivering work. I decided to offer 2 “routines” a day via WhatsApp using a Broadcast list. This means the members of the group only have contact to and from me, not the rest of the group. My participants can “do” their exercises anytime to suit them and it’s not dependant on having a good connection at a particular time. It has been very successfully received although there is only about a quarter of my normal numbers taking part.
It also means they can fit these exercises around their own lifestyles. I have one who does them between morning milkings, at around 6.00 am when I am safely tucked up in bed. They use their own choice of music, once they have gone through the patterns with me on their phones, and do them for as long as they wish. They also know to do a warm-up prior and a short cool down afterwards.
Learning more about each other
Because the groups miss seeing each other, we have a regular Thursday virtual coffee morning. This doesn’t involve any exercising but we just chat with each other. I give them a pre-determined theme to help channel the conversation. This has probably been the most effective, amusing and positive thing for our Coronvirus journey.
We have shared so many things, supported each other through good stories and troubled ones. I’ve marvelled at the talent within the group. We’ve looked at quilts, artwork, and cake disasters, looked at treasured objects and learned the stories behind them. I’ve also learned how adventurous and active a group they are. One even took part in the last Paris/London air balloon race!
Whilst we all want to be back to “normal” face to face classes, this time could not be considered wasted, we are all keeping fit, with the daily exercises and now “know” each other much more than we ever would normally.
Heather is creating some special short video’s for us to put on Facebook. They will deal with all manner of body oddities and will be entitled Heathers Bits!!! The list so far includes dancing feet and soggy bottoms!! To find out more about ‘Heathers Bits’ why not follow us on Facebook? They will be posted soon.