Tonight's class was the first time I've ever combined two T'ai Chi Chih classes with different levels of experience and ability. About half of my students from the beginning session that just ended joined my continuing class for their final four weeks of class.
I can tell that I'll be confronted with some challenges since I've never--in 15+ years of teaching--tried to bring together two different classes. I know, I know, it will be good for me. At the moment, though, I'm simply trying to figure out what to do to meet the needs of both groups.
I asked the advanced students to form a small circle in the middle with the beginning students surrounding them in an outside circle. It was a nice change and seemed to work fairly well to support the beginners who lacked experience practicing the full form in a circular formation. There was a tendency to speed up the practice so next week I may try to vary my location in the circle(s).
As with anything new, it will take some adjustments, but I believe we'll figure it out. And, as several of my continuing students mentioned after class, it's always okay to start over at the beginning of the form because (as any long-term practitioner knows), there's always more to learn....