My experience of teaching PET on-line left me feeling revitalised and even more in-love with the program. Below I have highlighted some of the ways it made teaching easier for me and some of the challenges I experienced. The positives far outweigh the challenges and I cannot see myself teaching any other way now.
Some advantages for me as the Instructor I have noticed:
- zero travel time (time and money saving)
- no venue hire (also time and money saving)
- much easier to fill a class (staying at home seems much more attractive and easier for busy parents)
- less class set up time and energy. (I did put a lot of effort into getting the PowerPoint visuals in place for my first class but I taught just as if I was in a face to face class)
- no catering needed (time, money and effort savings)
- no Covid restrictions or risks associated. (This really is of huge bonus)
- less exhausting – I often feel drained teaching face to face and it takes me a day to recover. A couple of reasons. Firstly getting the food and equipment transported and set up in a venue. Setting up room and then packing and getting home after class at 10.30 -11pm often. Secondly holding the space for the group is easier on Zoom for me.
- I love seeing a glimpse of each person’s environment on Zoom – seems to add a level of connection and makes them real.
- I get some alone time during the break to re-energise and focus myself – really important. Tricky in a face to face setting. The participants also seemed refreshed from their breaks and the learning wasn’t dissipated through chatting over a cuppa.
- I can easily do mini 1:1 coaching with participants between class if they need extra support. Yesterday I did an hour with the participant who has a toddler on using the skills with young children. It was so easy to make this happen.
- Could be recorded and re-listen for future, although I wouldn’t probably do this.
- Each individual controls their own environment to suit their needs: heating/cooling/lighting etc.
- I needed to post out the materials (time, money and energy costs).
- We had some feedback noise in session 3 which turned out to be a participants computer issue that was solved using headphones.
- You need to have professional Zoom subscription and also be confident using Zoom. (I already had this for my other work)
- You also need a dedicated space that you will not be interrupted. This is the same for participants. (I already had this for my other work)
- I thought the breakout rooms would be challenging (not being able to see the whole group at once) however they have actually been great – it has given the participants an opportunity to have a practise in private and when you drop in to help they are appreciative and ready for coaching. They can still contact me at any time whilst they are in breakout rooms.
- Accessibility: None of the 5 participants would have been able to access a PET under normal circumstances. That’s a huge win for them. Over the years I have had to turn away so many parents. We are very few instructors for such a huge country, so I am very excited by the possibility of helping more parents.
My observations about the participants:
- because they are in their home environments I observed how relaxed and confident they were and they seem to bring their ‘adult self’ to class.
- using zoom added huge convenience for them; no babysitting – less cost and effort for them. Zero travel time – often up to an hour each way in my city
- punctuality improved (because of city traffic it is not uncommon for participants to arrive late after work often in a hassled state and without having had dinner or having seen their families all day.) This is very disruptive in a classroom.
- on zoom they all clocked on at the appointed time. They seem very fresh and ready to learn when they arrive.
- they seemed more open to sharing personal info (they seem less inhibited – a couple of participants have reported they feel safer sharing themselves online than in person).
- rapport building seemed faster, they appeared to get very friendly and intimate with each other quite quickly – the breakout rooms is where this really melds. I noticed the connections have been profound and friendships have formed. Another noticeable feature is the way they are keeping in touch post program. (via zoom or Facebook or groups)
- on-line training is very much the norm these days in Australia and seems somehow less confronting for participants. I think one reason is because they are operating from the safe space of their homes and maybe some of that in-person awkwardness we all have isn’t there.
- the other observation and advantage being at their homes means that they seem to be able to focus on and recall the issues they are wanting to work on because they are so immediate to them.
- break seems to refresh them (and myself) as they get to spend a little time alone for self-reflection and integrating learning and looking after themselves. I find that in-person, much of the learning energy and transformational shifts that occur within the participant can be scattered and lost with the social chit chat of the break. Definitely suits the MBTI introvert personality type (myself).
- working from home is now the new norm so 4 out of the 5 participants were able to reschedule their workday around their attendance. This meant I could get a group together for a daytime training. The other participant works part-time so the class is on her day off.
- they all seem to say that the 3 hours just whizz by – I always think that is great feedback.
- Over my 20 years of teaching PET I have only ever run 5 daytime courses because people are generally unavailable. Most parents if they are not working have small children and experience difficulty with attendance. I am excited by the possibility that getting daytime classes together could be an available option – I am over teaching at night getting home at 11pm – exhausting…
Overall because of all of the above advantages I could now envisage myself teaching concurrent courses instead of one or maybe two at any given time. Hope this info is useful and encouraging for you. Please contact me if I can be of any further help.