“You zoom if you want to, but I’m all zoomed out and need to find a way to hold my classes in person”. That was how I was feeling in early Summer 2020. Impatient, frustrated, fed up and difficult to live with (or so my partner said).
So, during the Summer break of 2020, I had anew outside glass canopy installed at the back of my house. My ever-patient partner then set about adding heating and lighting to transform the space into a useable outdoor classroom. This meant that from September and in time for the start of the new teaching year, I was able to hold my language classes outside and in person. Although my small group classes were even tinier now, the boost that being able to hold face to face classes gave, should not be underestimated.
When it came to it, my new outdoor space was surprisingly cosy, thanks to the infrared heat provided by my newly installed system. And anyway, class members would arrive complete with blankets, hot water bottles, woolly hats and gloves. Undaunted, classes continued unabated regardless of the ravages of an English winter.
Outdoor classes have continued to be a theme for many of my groups. One student even commented that it was my USP. All I can say is, that by being outside, I have wanted people to feel comfortable, warm but also reassured and safe.
I am proud that, whilst most language class providers have continued to rely on Zoom and suchlike, I have been in a position to offer a viable alternative.