Monday, February 24, 2014

To NECCA I go: Teaching training workshop, part 5 (Final)

Obviously I'm a few days late on this last blog post. One reason being that as soon as the workshop was over and I'd said my goodbyes, I got in my car and drove home--this time it only took me the 2 hours it should to drive from Brattleboro to Somerville. The other reason is that, as I mentioned in my last post, I've run out of new and/or interesting things to say about the workshop.

I'll try to summarize a few thoughts I have regardless.

1. It was a lot of information. I think my learning curve was much higher than most of the people at the workshop, having never taught aerials before. I had to learn about spotting (where to put my hands, how to move around and with the student, when to spot, etc). Thankfully I didn't have to learn any new moves (there might have been 1 or 2 on the trapeze I'd never done before, but they were easy-peasy), although I still had to figure out how to break them down and explain how to perform them. Plus, there were additional info sessions after lunch about injury prevention, learning styles, and rigging, and I was trying to make notes of the different warm-up routines.

By Thursday, my brain was pretty saturated. I don't know how people stuck around for the foundations training workshops in both fabric and trapeze.

2. There was a lot of trapeze. Although the time spent on each apparatus was equal (or close to), I think it's fairly obvious that this session started out as a "How to teach trapeze" workshop. The spotting explanations were the most specific for trapeze, and there were few times where we were told to "take a few minutes and just figure this out for yourselves." The latter statement was more common for the fabrics portion of the day, and then we often didn't have to try to explain to a partner how to perform the move. I'm not saying that it's bad that there was a heavier focus on trapeze, I'm just pointing it out, because that's the way it seemed to me (possibly because I'm a verticals person).

3. Spotting, spotting, spotting. In my opinion, I'd say too much spotting was encouraged. Maybe that's just me, maybe that's my Canadianism coming through (i.e. Canadian's don't automatically jump to threats of lawsuits if something goes wrong--more likely a student would apologize for having a fall), or maybe that's because when I started I was in a class with several other fairly athletic adults (and so heavy spotting wasn't necessary). I'm also weary of the idea of doing too much for a student rather than letting them fail. Sure, it's not fun to not be able to do a move, but I feel it's better than being over confident in the belief that I can do something, only to discover that when I don't have a spot I either hurt myself, or I can't lift my feet off the ground.

4. I managed to keep my Darcy-pants off. I was extremely nervous about having to be social without Andrew or another friend around for 5 straight days. I tend to be socially awkward at best, or come off as a Darcy-pants at worst, but I think I managed the workshop not too badly. I did bounce a little between groups, partially because I was trying to work with different people, but also because I didn't want to appear like a lost little kid, desperately following around attendees like a shadow. I was extremely grateful to those who let me join their groups, and helped walk me through how to do things. I was amazed how many people gave me pointers in a friendly, non-threatening fashion, when they could have easily put me down and made me feel bad. Circus people are awesome.

That's all I've got for now. I'm hoping to take more of the fabric instruction workshops, (possibly expanding to the rope workshop after I've taken the foundations session) in the future--and of course, I'll blog about it.



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