What an opportunity, what a lot of hard work, what an achievement.
On one hand, you will be bringing in new ringers who will create their own team, traditions and culture with your guidance. Everyone is new together! On the other hand, with a lack of experienced ringers around them, it can be hard to provide a steady band around someone who is learning something for the first time.
Four years on, my original four learners are all still ringing. We currently have a team of 8 ringers, plus 3 new learners. We don’t have as many helpers as we’d like, and it can take a long time for learners to master something new without having experienced ringers around them. I think the team has bonded more strongly than usual though, from facing these challenges together, and ringers often get cheers or applause from the team when they accomplish something for the first time.
Last night, a band was born. Last night was the best evening’s ringing that I can remember.
As a member of the congregation and a lapsed ringer, I was volunteered to find recruits to ring our new bells. The whole project was advertised locally in magazines and by word of mouth, and one by one, I had various people approach me, either who were already ringers, or who liked the idea of learning to ring. We thought it would be best to start with an all day event on a Saturday at the beginning of December. Twenty five turned up at that first training day, most of whom are still with us.
Debbie Johnson and Judith Frye
At the end of January, just one of the “Slapton Belles” had completed her Learning the Ropes Level 1, and the team as a whole were just beginning to ring in rounds.
Three months on, and the team is really beginning to come together. Now seven have completed their LtR Level 1 and an eighth might have done if only a suitable date could have been found for completing the final actions and carrying out the formal assessment. These eight are now ringing pretty consistent rounds and beginning to progress into call changes. We also have a couple more at an earlier stage for whom we need to organise some one-on-one practices.
Don’t be shy about asking, other teachers will take it as a compliment and will want to be part of such an ambitious venture.
Find ways of working with other towers to give your new ringers opportunities to ring with other experienced ringers.
This can be an enormous help as individual practice at rounds, call changes, foundation skills, hunting and eventually methods can take place with the guidance of a teacher, offering the ringer the chance to ring with a ‘perfect’ band whilst developing their listening skills.
You’ll be taking longer to pass each milestone because you have so many people learning and less helpers. There are lots of different ways of teaching foundation skills which will add fun and variety to your practice.
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