POSTED ON: Monday 13th June 2022

How to survive a pandemic – and stay calm.

How to survive a pandemic – and stay calm.
For several years before Pandemic struck the UK, the incredible advances in technology meant that more people had access to high speed internet download speeds with portable laptops and smart TV’s at their disposal, and I had been wanting to set up online tai chi classes throughout that period. Then COVID-19 hit and everything stopped….

On the 23rd March 2020 the Government ordered the first UK lockdown, ordering people to stay at home. This left me with a lot of time on my hands, and so the opportunity to create new classes online appeared.

With time on my hands, I got busy. It was a real baptism of fire, learning all about online video platforms, and the different skills required to deliver classes online.
A decent Webcam, microphone, bridge camera for filming and stills photography were sourced, the downstairs front room prepared as a home studio, and I learnt how to edit videos and record myself teaching tai chi – not an easy task for someone who is naturally camera shy! Learning how build a simple website to host the online classes was another skill that I had to develop, although ultimately my latest site – was developed by a professional website designer and builder Mike Bourne at Devon Creative.

Laptop, monitor and lighting.

Stay calm.
The first few months of broadcasting were a steep learning curve, and when the technology didn’t work as I had intended, with randomly poor internet connections and unstable video hosting platforms, I was really grateful for the patience and understanding of my existing students who had all followed me online to keep up their training. I felt really bad that I had let them down on the odd occasion, but when you rely on technology solely for your business, I had to come to terms with the odd mishap, and to not worry too much – relax, stay calm, and breathe deeply, it is tai chi after all.

Second screen, opposite the camera.

Zoom in the room.
One of the nicest outcomes from the online teaching experience I believe is that I have become a better teacher all round. For the first 2 -3 months of teaching online, I used a hosting platform that didn’t allow me to see the students at all, so I was effectively teaching to my chimney breast with a random picture of a typical tai chi student to focus on!! This however, made me more creative in using simple language with clear positional and structural guidance for teaching tai chi postures and qigong exercises. Once I changed to Zoom, things got much better, and the lovely thing with Zoom is the sharing of ideas, the ease of interaction and the mutual support between students. This is the closest thing to running an in-person class as you can get.

The future.
The future structure of my tai chi teaching looks very different now than it was at pre-pandemic levels, with a combination of in person classes and live streaming classes via Zoom. I really enjoy meeting new students from different part of the country and helping them on their tai chi journey, my online classes are here to stay.

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