Kids Combo Q&A: Mel James

MelJames TeachingKids

Teacher Mel became a Clubbercise instructor back in 2015 and did the Kids Combo course in 2017 which means she can teach Family, U13 and U18 Clubbercise.

What kids/teens classes do you teach?

I’m often in schools for PE sessions, mostly primary/middle as that’s where the funding is. I work with school PTA groups running fundraising sessions for them, usually at least one a month. I also get invited into schools to do sessions to celebrate various accomplishments.

Once a term, I join up with all the local secondary schools for a mass U18 Clubbercise event. The aim is to have fun, meet others and get moving.

As soon as the lights go off, you can hear the screams and feel the excitement. Our young clubbers plan their outfits for weeks. They practice their face paint styles. They genuinely get excited for the exercise.  

It is an amazing, proud moment, seeing the students 'let go'; forget about others in the room, live the moment for themselves and feel accepted.

Unfortunately, some young people, particularly girls never feel this in other PE lessons. I know this because the adults who attend my evening classes, tell me. I don't want my current students to grow up not knowing what exercise can do for them. Some youngsters get it, sports that feature on the National Curriculum give them that enjoyment but some need Clubbercise.

My biggest compliment was from a year 9 pupil who I teach PE twice a week. She's not a natural sports person but tries her best. PE is not her favourite subject but when she said after a U18 Clubbercise session "even I enjoyed that Miss, Thank you" my job was done. That moment you make one difference, that's the glow!

I also have well attended monthly Family Clubbercise sessions (between 40-80 people depending on the month).

I asked my clubber Heather what Family Clubbercise means to her and she said "My daughter is 13 and is only off her phone to eat and shower. My son is 7, he can be shy and worries what other people think of him. Initially, it was just me and my boy; he loved it, he came into his own on the dance floor and couldn't wait to tell his sister, who then came to the following session."

In addition to that, I run sessions for groups of Brownies and Guides and do regular birthday parties.

What's it like teaching young people?

Teaching Clubbercise to kids and teens has a different vibe to adults. You need to be adaptable and feed off their energy, for example go straight into a game if you sense them flagging or overheating, but it’s just as crazy and fun!

In U13 and U18 I mainly use pop songs.

In Family Clubbercise I use tunes that suit all ages and lots of interaction between the parents and kids.

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