I just wanted to contact you, firstly to say hello check how you’re coping with lockdown!
I hope you, your family and everyone you know is safe and well. I’m always on hand if you need anything and happy to get out and help or have a chat on the phone or text.
I also wanted to sincerely thank those of you (amazingly almost everyone!) still paying online for your classes. Whether it’s a monthly standing order or a single class payment or the same money you would have paid buying tickets, thank you. You have been literally keeping the school open! I do however think it’s time for those of you on standing orders to review the situation and consider whether it may be time to amend or stop the payments.
Every time I see someone has paid I say a quiet thank you to them for their generosity but I’m acutely aware that we are not able to give you the amount of classes that perhaps you are paying for. We are filming and uploading new videos for you to follow at home every day, if you haven’t seen them yet go to our website and you will find them, or just type in ‘Tai Chi Guy’ on YouTube and you’ll find them there. If you have a stable enough income that you can afford to support our classes and you are getting enough from the YouTube videos (I think we will hit the 100 video mark very soon!) then I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your generosity. If you are struggling and feeling awkward about stopping payments please don’t hesitate. Go on line and suspend them or change the amount to one that reflects a fair amount at once!
Regarding the reopening of the classes, at the moment it’s difficult to see what may happen and how it may change. We can all see the changes in social distancing will mean being next to someone in a class may well be one of the last things we are able to safely do although there is some indication we may be able to hold a class by the middle of July.We may be able to meet soon in small groups outside and I may be able to hire a space (such as a tennis court at Canoe Lake) for a specific number of students to get together, if we can I will certainly do it. If that happens and spaces are limited then of course priority must first go to those who have already paid for classes in these difficult times.
Several people have suggested live Zoom type classes but many other teachers are now finding it quite problematic. Having a scheduled class online and dealing with streaming it over the internet only available at a specific time simply does not suit very many people, especially those with crowded households, those with kids at home or those who may be, shall we say, more technically challenged? Many people are reluctant to use the technology or simply may not be able to join at the time you are broadcasting. many of you have families or kids around at home meaning it would be inappropriate or impossible to be in front of a camera yourselves. Filming and broadcasting a class live brings its own problems, my home has very small rooms meaning you can only stand in front of the camera and show things from the knees up without moving anywhere. The place I use for filming the YouTube videos does not have an internet connection (in fact none of our regular venues have Wi-Fi we can log in to!)
Putting the videos out on YouTube as we are doing gives a bank of material you can access any time that will be there for yourselves and all future students forever. I’m not so sure if that will happen if we put the videos on the Zoom server.So I will continue to send out the videos we make on YouTube for the moment, I’m not ruling Zoom out, it’s just not the right thing to do at the moment. Of course if everybody gets back to me and says ‘we’ve been waiting to log in live, we’ll be there on Zoom every time you put a class on’ I’ll do it next week.
As for the future of the school, of course I’ve thought long and hard about what we can do in the future and on a more personal level how I can survive. Running the school as a sole means of income usually means I can offer classes all week long and offer a curriculum that will develop everyone’s health, skills and ability from the first class into an advanced student that can still gain something new even if they stay with us for decades. It is a vastly different commitment to delivering casual classes after working all day. The fact is, even when things are ‘normal’ and all our classes are on, the school only generates a very modest income. At the moment that income is vastly reduced but so are our costs.
As things stand today, I think we can survive and I’ve decided that rather than go back to a ‘career’ lifestyle I’m willing to stick with the school for as long as I can and ride out the storm. Nobody can say what the next few weeks will bring, I do think we’ll be easing up soon and realistically may even be ‘back to normal’ in a few more weeks.
If you would like to help, simply give us some feedback now and again when we put a video out.
I know from bumping into many of you on a stroll that many of you are enjoying our videos but I only find out when I see you! Just a little feedback online will really help keep me going as well, otherwise it’s like working in a vacuum!
Stay well, stay safe, be good to everyone and line up straight!
Hope to see you very soon,
Classes in Southsea near Fratton Station
The Priory Community Sports Centre Fawcett Road PO4 0DL
Located at the top of Fawcett Road next to Priory School near Fratton Station.
Classes on Albert Road Southsea
Trinity Church Albert Road Southsea PO4 0LX on the corner of Francis Avenue
Classes in Milton
St James' Church Hall Milton Park Avenue Milton PO4 8PG
Milton Village Hall
182 Milton Road
Classes at Canoe Lake
Canoe lake Leisure Pavilion (next to the Rose Garden) St Helens Parade PO4 9RG
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