I became an ART tutor in November 2017 and have very much enjoyed the whole business of working with new groups of people and seeing individuals gain confidence and develop the observation skills necessary to teach well. My last course, however, was at Biggleswade in February 2020, back in those days of innocence pre-Covid! How would we have predicted that we'd stop for so long?
As normal ringing life started to resume a few weeks ago I started teaching a couple of new learners myself. This gave me the heads up that I needed a quick revision on how to do it! How could I have forgotten to do that lovely little 'Hand-ring' exercise? Teaching bell-handling requires a lot of knowledge and planning - it doesn't just come naturally without any forethought. This experience prompted me to look at the theory materials I had to deliver a bit earlier than I might have done. Good job - I'd forgotten that I'd changed computer in the last 18 months, so converting and checking five powerpoint presentations and three videos, plus that 'Eek' moment of realising that none of the four different connectors in the house worked for my computer/project combination. A quick order via Amazon Prime saved the day!
7.30am on Saturday saw me all packed up and setting off for Felsted and just a tad excited! The Felsted crew turned out to be a lovely bunch of people - you invariably are, but we tutors always worry that one or other of you might like to test us out! It's fun working with different personalities and amounts of experience, and very rewarding seeing the look of 'Ah I get it' on someone's face as they realise how best to take the anxiety out of putting both strokes together. The final practical session where people were demonstrating a fault they were given showed how much people had sharpened their observation skills as the watchers spotted different additional faults! I'm confident a good proportion of the teachers will be able to use their improved skills straight away, and one pair who are to co-mentor each other were already displaying a good line in critical banter.
All in all I was very pleased with how the day went. A lot of the smooth running was down to the excellent local organisation by Beth Johnson, Essex Association Education Officer. I feel back up to speed and looking forward to my next course in Herts in November. One thing I'd like to try is presenting more of the theoretical material to the attendees via Zoom in advance of the day, both so that it has a chance to sink in, and to make the most of the time we have in the tower practising teaching. We'll see how that goes!