A New Facilitator

Recently we had to say goodbye to Grainne, a wonderful and highly valued member of our team of Movers and Shakers facilitators. Although we were very sad to see her go, we were also incredibly happy that she has found her vocation, partly as a result of her work with us – she has gone to train as a primary school teacher, and I know she will be utterly amazing. As soon as I find out which school she’s going to teach at I’ll let you all know so you can arrange to move house somewhere near and enrol your children!

Anyway, as a result of this I’ve been busy training up a new facilitator, Abi. And it’s made me think about things afresh, and what exactly I look for and how to best convey this to someone new.

Abi is a great facilitator. She is friendly, enthusiastic, warm-hearted, hard-working and has a really gorgeous singing voice. She has trained so hard, arranging extra sessions with other facilitators, watching numerous classes, practising at home with friends – and now she has been released into the wilds of Highgate.

All through her training, Abi has been determined to get the script right, the lyrics accurate and everything in the right order. And obviously this is important, but one of the main things that I’ve tried to impart is that actually this isn’t what matters most. When I was watching her train, I didn’t care too much if she made a mistake and had to start a song again or if I had to remind her that the rhythm song usually comes after the Music Maker song rather than before! What matters to me, and I think to the parents and carers and children who come to the classes… is the ENERGY that a facilitator gives off. Everyone is there to have fun, sing, laugh, learn some new songs/rhymes/signs and… relax a bit. No-one wants to feel judged, no-one wants their child to be judged, no-one wants to feel sorry for a stressed out facilitator.

Another thing: I know it’s really difficult to say goodbye to someone you have formed a relationship with, and who your child has formed a relationship with. It’s difficult to start again with someone new. Every member of our team has their own way of doing things and their own style. I encourage all my wonderful Movers and Shakers facilitators to express their personality throughout the class. This is one of the reasons that I’ve decided not to have a ‘uniform’. It might take time to get used to someone new, but I can guarantee that every member of my team has been really carefully chosen, and meticulously trained to deliver a class that is not only slick and professional, but a pleasure to attend.

We all get things wrong from time to time (anyone who came to my class yesterday at Project Me can tell you about me messing up the Hello Song when my iPod decided to leap from the shelf!) but it’s these things that make us human, and it’s how we react to these little hiccups that is important. Do we get stressed, or do we laugh at ourselves and start again?

Again, I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you love about Movers and Shakers, and whether you think that what I’ve described above is genuinely embodied in our classes. I’d love to hear about what is important to you when deciding which group to attend and (of course!) where we can make improvements.

Gabi x

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