Tag Archives: TRS Teachers

Magic Moments!

by

We recently held our All Hands Meeting, a chance for the TRS Teachers to get together, talk about the company and the direction it’s taking. As part of the meeting, the TRS Teachers shared the best things that have happened to them this year. We’ve been gradually sharing them on Facebook for the past month, but thought you might like to read them in one go.

 

I had a magic moment today at Gillingham Age UK. It was only brief and fleeting, but magic all the same.
I don’t know if this lady is there other days, but on one of the middle tables near the window there is usually sat a lady who sits and doesn’t appear to join the exercises as much. Well, on this particular day, during a Doris Day song… I caught her eye, and actually caught her singing along to the song!!! She didn’t join in with any other songs, nor did she dance, but to see just a little twinkle in her eye and joining in just a tiny bit was fantastic. Sadly she did then return to her word search when the next song started. But I am definitely going to use “Whatever Will be Will Be” again.
Clare

 

One of the children I teach at Wrotham Road Primary has been struggling to skip for some time, but the other week he finally learnt how to! I was so proud! We started with hopping and turned it into skipping.
Alice

 

At Warren wood where I teach street dance, the girls in the class come in saying ‘’I’ve practiced the dance!’’ It’s so sweet to hear!
Katie

 

In Active Armchairs I have recently been using a tambourine. I tap a rhythm and the participants clap it back to me. They then all get a turn! It works really well, and they really like it!
Alix

 

At Lulworth House there is a lady who always joins in active armchairs and is usually really enthusiastic. One week, however, she wasn’t feeling herself sadly. So I wondered what I could do to get her more engaged. As the lady is from Spain, I decided to put some Ricky Martin on and she loved it!
Clare

 

At World Book Week this year I was at St Mary’s Primary School. With one class my theme was ‘space’. I asked the children to become planets and create their own solar system with movements. For example I used words like orbit for turns. It was fantastic. They were so involved and imaginative. It was really lovely to see all of the boys and girls working together!
Becca T

 

At Hoo Primary School recently I had a really good day there! I was so impressed to see as I walked into the school the girls were there ready and practising their dance. It was lovely to see how excited they were!
Steph

 

Active Armchairs amazes me everytime. Even when it’s a harder session, you just see them move the slightest bit and it’s just beautiful to see them come alive with the music and movments.
Steph

 

At Byron Primary School, I have been doing a carnival theme. I use feather props and everyone takes turns in being the leader. However, usually there is one girl who is a bit too shy to be a leader, but she still joins in and follows. Well, last week I couldn’t believe it, she was so excited and enthusiastic to be the leader of the group! It was so lovely to see, and her mother was asking how she had been, and she was surprised to see her confidence grow too!
Becca G

 

I went along to watch Steph’s active armchairs class at Mayflower Care Home. There was a lady there, and all of I sudden I noticed her standing up. She was dancing and boogieing all the way over to the window. Then she danced with all the other participants on her way back to her seat!
Hayley

 

The other week I was covering a class for Steph at Abbotsleigh Care Home. Then the care worker asked me if we could do the ‘Cha Cha Slide’. I was a bit surprised to be asked this! And in honesty I never would have thought to do that song in Active Armchairs, but I gave it a go, and it was fantastic. The residents really loved the beat and all of the care workers came in and did the dance for them. It was lovely to see everyone smiling and having fun altogether!
Georgie

 

I go to Valley View on a regular basis and so I have made some lovely relationships with the residents there. One lady, sadly has quite a bad memory but this never stops her joining in. And what I love most, is that she remembers every single song I play and sings along to them all! Most of which bring back lots of lovely memories for her!
Georgie

Related Images:

A Week in the Life

by

Georgie is our current TRS Teacher of the Year. The TRS Teachers voted for her in 2016 and her year since has seen her continue the fantastic work that made her win. As the year draws to a close and the TRS Teachers have voted for the 2017 winner, I thought it would be nice to hear about what Georgie gets up to on a weekly basis.

A week in the life of a TRS Teacher!
By Georgie Tedora, Level Two TRS Teacher and Level Two Active Armchairs Facilitator

It was going to start off as a day in the life, then two days. But I have had so many great events this week I thought I’d share them all with you!

Monday:
So, recently I have been asked to join the office team as Company Assistant. Which I was thrilled about. It’s really nice to get to see the ‘behind the scenes’ of The Right Step. I am learning so much each week which is fantastic and Rebecca has now given me more things to do with social media so that’s my next challenge to tackle and I am really enjoying it so far! Whoever said office work is boring, clearly didn’t have a team like ours!

Tuesday:
Today was another busy day for me! I had two Active Armchair classes and one youth group class. The first was at Gillingham Age UK. I really enjoy these classes as they all really get involved and love to have a good sing along! The next was Ashley Gardens, and this month was the one to one sessions. These sessions are particularly rewarding I find not only for the participant but for me as well. You get to really connect with the participant and it’s just lovely to see them smile and move to the music. Lastly, I was teaching Cheerleading in Bexley. This was a one-off class but they were fantastic. They all got so involved and were a really good group! They even said they would love to have another class!

Wednesday:
Another two Active Armchair classes today. I went to Byron Lodge firstly, to cover Steph. I like going along to these classes as there aren’t always that many participants, they always recognise me and are happy to see me which is a great feeling. One lady and I are both huge animal lovers, and she is always telling me new places to go and see some local wildlife which is lovely! The next was a class at a local lunch club, All Saints. They have a class every few months or so. I find this class is normally slow starting, but once one person gets going they are all up and dancing and singing along! This time I did the hand jive in one of my dances and a lady showed me another version which I had never seen before! It was really good, and she done it so quickly I was mesmerised by it! I’m hoping to make a video of the hand jive so keep an eye out on YouTube.

Thursday:
I was very excited about today as I had a new class to go to and do a taster for! It was at Hazelwood Care Home. I am always a bit nervous when going to somewhere new, as I never know what to expect, but straight away this home was so welcoming and the particapnts were so excited before I had even arrived! They gave me such a warm welcome that I felt so comfortable and couldn’t wait to get started! The session went really well! In particular, there was a married couple seated next to one another, and they kept dancing to the music together. It was beautiful. I then went onto my social dance class at Montgomery. I have built up such a good relationship with this group, that it really does not feel like work at all! More like seeing my friends! They are always such a pleasure and now they feel relaxed enough to ask me certain things in particular that they want to work on, such as their legs which is so nice that they feel this way. Lastly, I was covering Georgia at her class at Burham Primary. This was with the younger students at the school. I was so impressed at how good they were. Both behaviour and their dancing! With a little bit of team work they had remembered the dance Georgia had taught them, and were so excited to show me. I then gave them a creative task in pairs and they came up with some fantastic ideas!

Friday:
Today was my quietest day for The Right Step this week. I had one active armchairs class. This is another on of my regulars at Valley View. I admit, I tend to get to this home quite early as I love to sit and have a little chat with the residents before class. They are always telling me about their shopping trips that week, and who won bingo! Again, it’s that lovely feeling of being so welcome and having a nice relationship built with the residents. The class itself can sometimes start off a little slow, but they are all really good at encouraging one another, so before you know it they are all dancing and singing along!

Saturday:
You think it’s all over… not yet! Today was the Santa Fun Run! Rebecca had asked me a few weeks ago if I would like to be the TRS Teacher that warms up the santa’s before the run this year and I was very happy to be asked! I must admit, just before I was getting a little nervous as I didn’t realise quite how many Santa’s there would be! It was a brilliant turn out! Despite having some horrible rainy weather, that didn’t stop anyone! All of those nerves went away as soon as the music came on. It felt amazing to see everyone dancing and singing along, and even more so as they were all dressed as Santa’s. I could see Rebecca and Clare from TRS dancing in the crowd. And it was so nice that our youngest member of TRS (Gaia) came along to support too! I had the best time warming up the Santa’s and I can’t wait to go along again next year!

Here’s a link to my blog post about The Santa Fun Run… http://www.therightstepdc.co.uk/2017/12/04/santa-fun-run-2017

Sunday:
Annnnnnnnnd RELAX…

 

 

Related Images:

Santa Fun Run 2017

by

By Georgie

Each year a member of The Right Step Dance Company warms up the Santa’s for their Fun Run and this year it was my turn!

I was extremely excited (and nervous) to do the warm up this year! I had seen various blogs, photos and videos from previous years and I loved seeing all the whole community come together for such a great event and cause.

When I arrived all, I could see where Santa’s of all shapes and sizes, some even included 4 legged Santa’s too! I then met Rebecca, Lawrence, Gaia (the youngest member of The Right Step, who came fully prepared in her uniform and Santa hat!) and our friend and photographer Nikki came along to support too.

Despite having some horrible rainy weather everyone was in such a happy mood. The DJ was playing some lively music and people were already up and dancing along. It was quite surreal seeing so many Santa’s in one place! The nerves had definitely started to kick in!

Then the DJ announced it was time for me to go on stage and warm up the lovely Santa’s! So up I went. The music started playing, and all the nerves disappeared! I began with ‘Moves like Jagger’ by Maroon 5 and I got them to sing ‘Moves like SANTA’ instead! Which went extremely well! Then as I looked out into to the crowd I saw a familiar face and I saw TRS Teacher, Clare, dancing along which was lovely to see her come along and support to!

20171118_134733We then went onto ‘Living on a Prayer’ by Bon Jovi. This was fantastic, seeing them throw their arms in the air for the chorus and I must say I was very impressed with their air guitars and drums!

Finally I finished off with a classic party dance… the Cha Cha Slide! Everyone got so involved and we had some lovely cha cha’s going on.

So afterwards they were ready and eager to go! Lead by the marching band they all set off through the town ready to start the race. We followed along and cheered the Santa’s as they all went past! Rebecca stayed and got some great photo’s and videos of the finish of the race!

I had an amazing time at the Santa Fun Run 2017, so thank you for having me and huge congratulations to the Rotary Club of Medway and to all the Santa’s for putting on such a fantastic event and raising money for a great cause!

 

Here’s the video!

Related Images:

BBC Filming

by

One of the care homes we visit, Hale Place, was filmed for a documentary by the BBC as an example of an outstanding care home. The staff and residents were asked to chose their favourite outside entertainment providers to come and be filmed on the day… they chose Active Armchairs (our seated dance sessions) and Nightingale Dogs. I went along with TRS Teacher and Active Armchairs Facilitator, Steph, on the day of filming!

20171025_095829When we arrived interviews were taking place in the garden. BBC presenter, Fiona Phillips talked to the manager and some of the residents’ relatives whilst we were there. Steph introduced me to staff and residents then we began class. Although it was an unusual class with various strange things happening for filming, it was mostly has normal and everyone had a lot of fun. Everyone kept telling me how much they enjoy Steph’s classes, it was a pleasure to hear. They call Steph ‘Dancing Queen’.

Steph’s great. The first time she came for a taster, I said you have to get her in every week. One lady didn’t join in with anything, but seated dancing she does. She loves it. It’s great for them all. They don’t all join in with everything, but they all do some. They love the choice and the music.
Mandy, Carer at Hale Place, October 2017

20171025_103207Steph used lots of props and they built up on the ‘silver puddle’ as the class continued. Egg shakers, pom poms, long elastics and scarves all had a place. There was lots of rock ‘n’ roll music because that’s the residents’ favourite type as well as some spontaneous singing from one of the residents and Steph. The most notable began ‘good morning, good morning, we’ve talked the whole night through, good morning, good morning to you’ and continued because everyone joined in. What a start to class!

I left with a huge sense of pride and enthusiasm for more Active Armchairs. What a way to go back to work… it was my first class since maternity leave! Here’s a video about our time there.

 

Related Images:

On The Wall!

by

It’s always great to hear the good things said about our classes, but it’s even better to find out that a care home is so pleased with them they’re sharing photos of the sessions with residents, family and friends. This is what happened at Mayflower Care Home where Steph, Rebecca and Georgie have been delivering Active Armchairs, Circle Dance and Active Armchairs One to One. The photos below were found on the wall, but there are also some in the home’s brochure!

Active Armchairs in the main room. Steph is dancing with a resident as other watch. This is a great chance for the facilitator to get to know individuals!

IMG-20170221-WA0004

Active Armchairs One to One means that everyone has the chance to dance and interact with our facilitators. Here Steph has been invited to a resident’s room and works with an individual in one of the living areas as well. Such a rewarding time.

IMG-20170221-WA0006

Some more photos of One to One Active Armchairs sessions with Steph. This time there are some family members and friends present. Everyone is welcome to join in if they want to. There’s also a photo of some local school children doing cheerleading with residents. It’s great to see them dancing even when we aren’t there!

IMG-20170221-WA0005

And here are some of the things that have been said about our time there…

“That class was fantastic, all the residents enjoyed themselves, we cannot wait until next week.” Amy, Activities Co-ordinator, April 2016

“I found that, during the Circle Dance class, there was a story and I grew a bond with every resident. The circle and interaction are great for that and it gives the session a real feel good factor. One resident didn’t really fancy dancing at first, but after a particularly jolly piece of music that seemed to appeal to her she said “That was lovely. Thank you for coming. I like to dance and I can Cha Cha, you know!”. She grabbed my hands and was off. Another resident chose to stand to dance without her frame. The circle and supportive care staff allowed her to do this. I could tell how happy this made her. At the end of class she had to check with me that I would come back again soon. Introducing the Liquid Gold prop for cool down allowed staff and family members to dance with the residents. This always leads to beautiful moments. A son thanked his Mum for their dance. It was lovely to see.”
Rebecca Ashton, TRS Teacher after the first Circle Dance session, November 2016

It’s really nice to have so many things happening each week. We can build excellent relationships with the residents, staff and family members (some of whom regularly attend) and can tailor the sessions really well. We’re all looking forward to the sessions continuing for a long time.

Related Images:

Pound Shop Christmas Props

by

Why we love the pound shop!
by Clare Wilders, Level Two TRS Teacher and Level Two Active Armchairs Facilitator.

As dance teachers we are always looking for innovative ways to spice up our dance classes. From using YouTube videos to show a piece of choreography, pictures so children can visualise the theme of our class, to props to give the actual dance element of the class more impact. In fact in our Active Armchairs classes, a prop is a compulsory element to the class, bringing an added element of interaction and assisting older people in maintaining their dexterity.

In an ideal world we would have an unlimited budget to use for our props, however as self employed teachers, we have books to balance, so a little creativity goes a long way.

Many an hour can be whiled away shuffling through bargains in the toy department, or as I was this morning, wandering up and down the Christmas aisle of the pound shop looking for potential Christmas props for my Active Armchairs classes next week.

I found some items with potential. I nearly bought a whole bundle of Christmassy cat teasers… with feathers, santas and little bells on each, only to find that they tangled up really easily just hanging up. Imagine the delay to my class trying to drag them out of my dance bag after they had turned into the inevitable spaghetti of strings and santas!

Finally I settled on a few random items showing potential:

In previous classes I have borrowed the TRS “Jingle sticks” with great success, and these are inspired by those, but a little different. Using a pool noodle, we could have a softer “stick” element so they could easily be patted against a hand or leg.

So far so good:

img_0070

I also found some wreath hangers that bore great gold bells… so of course the Cat got little curious:

img_0071

Things were looking jingly. A touch of gift ribbon, and the results are below. I can’t wait to try them out to “Jingle Bells” next week.

img_0076

 

Related Images:

Phonics at All Hands

by

On Monday we had our All Hands Meeting. We have one every six months and it’s a chance for the team to get together, find out what’s been happening in the company and to plan for its future. Each time we try to have something a bit extra and this time we learnt a bit about phonics!

TRS Teacher Alice used to work as a teaching assistant and in her role at school she learnt a lot about phonics. She was kind enough to share a little of this knowledge so that we could get some insight into what the children learn in class. The Educating Dance teachers (the TRS Teachers training in the TRS cross-curricular approach) also gained some ideas for their classes.

Phonics is an approach used by primary school teachers to teach reading and spelling. Pupils learn sounds of letters and groups of letters and are able to break words down so that they can work out how to write/read the words themselves. They learn quickly and gain independence. When I saw Alice using phonics in her dance cllettersoundsass I thought it would be an excellent thing to share with the TRS Teachers. A chance for them to enhance pupils learning and make their classes flow well with what the dancers are already doing in school.

Alice shared the phonics sounds with us first (some are listed on the left). There are lots to learn. Not just the letters of the alphabet, but also the sounds as letters join together to create phonemes. It surprised the TRS Teachers that children learn so much in the process of learning to write and read. It works though!

20160229_133933Next we thought of some ideas for using phonics in class. Things like warm ups that involve phonemes that sound almost the same such as i, ie, igh etc. Perhaps the teacher could give a word containing one of these and the dancers could move to the space that represents the correct one. When we introduce keywords in cross-curricular dance we can now spell them out in a way that dancers will most relate to. Choreography often comes up in class and confuses everyone! This might make things easier. We also talked about the benefits of using phonics in our English cross-curricular classes such as Extended Sentences or during Book Week (the photo shows a BFG workshop during Book Week 2016).

We were left with many ideas and some new knowledge to put into practice! Thank you Alice for sharing. I look forward to the results.

Related Images:

Magic Moments

by

On Monday the TRS team met for November’s All Hands Meeting. We have two a year and use them as an opportunity for the team to get together and discuss the company and ideas for its future. We always go around the table to introduce ourselves because there’s often a new teacher or two and not everyone knows each other well. This time we each shared a Magic Moment from or thought about TRS classes. Here are just a few (the ones I could write down quick enough!)…

Steph
When at Fort Horsted I was talking to Edith about my honeymoon and she asked me to smuggle her in my suitcase and take her with me. When I went back again after honeymoon she had a giggle fit. She thought it was so funny that she had asked to be smuggled in a suitcase!

Alix
Going to Victory House on a Friday afternoons makes my week complete. I have such a good time. One lady comes in to visit her brother at the time I’m there every week and joins in too.

Bex
When I first started at TRS I visited Byron Lodge with Rebecca and Steph. I met Rose. Every time I went in she remembered me and said ‘Oh, you’re back’ and made me feel welcome. More recently, at Mersham Primary, where I’ve been teaching cross-curricular Samba and carnival dance classes, one of the dancers said ‘I don’t want you to go, I want you to stay forever!’

Georgia
At Warren Wood Academy we played a name game about what we did at the weekend and I told them about shopping for my sister’s wedding dress. After our break, the children had collected some leaves and threw them over me like confetti. I didn’t have the heart to explain it wasn’t my wedding, they were so sweet!

Abi
Last week I went to Winchester House with Steph. It was the first Active Armchairs session I’d seen and I’ve never been in a care home in my life. I was nervous and stood next to a nice lady most of the time. When Steph put on the song ‘Time of your life’, a resident, Mark, put his things aside and danced. He was so happy and it made my day.

Clare
Once I went to Montgomery Court and only Doff and Mary came to class. It was disappointing at first, they are such big characters that we giggled throughout the whole class. ‘Wonderful World’ is our signature song for cool down. I can’t get away without doing it. Doff now has a toy frog that sings the song. She brought it and it sung as we danced!

Georgie
I went for a taster session at The Vale. The first session was amazing so I looked forward to the second. Gwen always sits up straight and proper, but when she dances she really shows her character and enjoys herself. There are always residents walking in and out of the room there. By the end there were a lot of people in the room, but instead of sitting down, they stood in the middle and danced! It was like a big party in the end.

We enjoyed hearing the Magic Moments so much that we’ve decided to make a big thing of it. There will be lots of Magic Moments going out on our Facebook page and we hope to make them a permanent addition! Check them out here… https://www.facebook.com/therightstepdc/

Related Images:

We’re a Healthy Business!!

by

On Monday 23rd November 2015 the TRS Teachers sat down to an unusual All Hands Meeting (the six monthly get together, celebrate and plan the future meeting). It was the start of a year long journey to become a healthy business and complete the criteria in the Workplace Wellbeing Charter.

workplace-wellbeing-charterThe TRS staff were asked to fill in a questionnaire about their health and wellbeing. Answering questions such as approximately how much physical activity do you do in a week (a lot!) and do you feel stressed in your job role (yes!)? The Medway Council Healthy Business Team, who supported us throughout the process, put the information into their computer and we received a document that showed us where we could improve and what we were already doing well (notably celebrating our staff and their achievements).

I got straight onto it.

I gave the policies a huge overall and all of the TRS staff gave feedback and started to work with the new policy and procedure documents throughout their TRS classes. We had to implement Absence Management from scratch, we improved our Healthy Eating policy and we worked hard to put procedure in place for when TRS Teachers have to be away from work. I’m very proud of the policies now, they are much better than before and I feel they work for us and the people we work with.

Stress was identified as an issue for TRS Teachers. Although they all agreed they love their jobs and that the stress isn’t down to the job itself, they felt they could do with some support. Many staff members felt the stress was due to putting pressure on themselves, it wasn’t actually an outside pressure and often wasn’t something that should worry them at all. I started to gather ideas for reducing stress and wrote the ‘Stress Free Freelancer’ blog posts. Bex, our volunteer administrator created a Health and Wellbeing Folder that’s available for all TRS staff and is full of information. We also had a stress focused All Hands Meeting in May and Steph, our Schools Dance Co-ordinator, shared some practical strategies to deal with stress.

The Charter has three levels and we were aiming for the first, commitment, level as we are a very small business compared to some involved (entire councils and hospital trusts!). We were so pleased that by the end of the process we had gone much further than expected and have reached the second tier, achievement in almost all areas and even got to the third tier, excellence in two areas (smoking and physical activity). Perhaps we’ll be back to pick up an excellence award in a few year’s time!!

Aworkplace-wellbeing-charter-commitmentlmost a year on we had managed to get our evidence folder in order and it was presented to the Medway Healthy Business Team to check it through. Georgia, Steph and Bex were interviewed to check that we were actually doing as we said we were and we waited to see if we had reached our commitment goal! 20161117_213833_001

On Thursday 17th November 2016 (almost a year since we started the process), Georgia, Steph and I attended the Healthy Business Awards and had a fantastic evening. Businesses were from Kent as well as Medway and there was a lot of great work to celebrate. We heard of potato competitions, an office dog that staff can take for a walk around the block instead of going for a smoke and a group of staff from one firm who have turned their lives around and now run for charity. 20161117_213538

20161117_210349I would like to thank Michelle Saunders from Medway Council, who helped us throughout the process and all of the TRS staff members for their support and patience. It can’t be easy when you’re given new policy and procedure documents to follow (there was a lot to read!). I do hope they’ve felt a positive affect as a result of this process and I look forward to continuing to develop the company with our wonderful staff in mind.

 

 

For now though, let’s celebrate with our brand new trophy!!

Related Images:

In The Paper – World Book Day

by

Our World Book Day classes made it into the Medway Messenger twice and the articles are below! Thank you to all the schools involved in the World Book Day classes. The week was fantastic fun!

The blog post about World Book Day is here…http://www.therightstepdc.co.uk/2016/03/03/world-book-day-a-week-of-dance/

Press Control on your keyboard and scroll your mouse to make the picture bigger!

Monday 4th March 2016

Medway Messenger Mon 7th Mar 2016

Friday 7th March 2016

Medway Messenger Fri 7th Mar 2016

Related Images:

1 2 3 4 5