Where flexible working works - Jobs for mums

Career Focus - The World of Teaching

Singing Class Teacher - Ruth Tod

Ruth is based in Cornwall and has been running her singing classes for pre-schoolers Todlins for over 6 years. See more about Todlins at www.todlins.co.uk


The Interview

Name Ruth Tod

Location South West Cornwall

Job title - Singing Class Teacher

How did you become a Singing Class Teacher? What is your background?

I've always loved singing and dancing and the idea for setting up Todlins happened when I moved to Cornwall from Buckinghamshire. Although it has changed down here a lot recently, when I moved here there wasn't anything in the way of classes or activities I could take my son to other than mother and toddler groups. I wanted to be able to take him somewhere where we could have fun together and move around and enjoy ourselves...rather than me sitting in a chair drinking tea whilst he played. I couldn't find anything like that so decided to set it up myself!

How did you choose your subject?

I've always loved singing and dancing and have been involved in it from being a little girl - ballet classes, drama etc.

How did you set up Todlins?

I started my first class when a new church hall opened in Carbis Bay - it was the perfect venue and I thought I would give the classes a try! They have been a huge success and now we have classes all over South West Cornwall from Hayle to Penzance. I have recently taken on my first employee who now runs classes in Newquay.

Your classes are for babies - up to 4 years old - what happens in a class?

The emphasis in my classes is enjoyment for both children and their carer. We begin with the children putting toys in the 'toy sack' and then sing our hellos and go on to have loads of fun singing and dancing with lots of props and instruments. At the end of each sessions I provide juice and tea and biscuits - giving Mums the chance to socialise together. This is a really important part of the session as it makes the classes into more than just something for the children.

How does the job fit round your family life?

It is fantastic - I work during the day when my son is at school plus I only work term time.

How do you think Singing Classes benefit children?

In Todlins the emphasis is on fun - I don't want it to be seen as a purely an 'educational' experience..but this is a very good sideline of the classes! Singing and Dancing is lovely as it brings out the natural energy of the children, gets Mums up and moving with their children and gets a smile on everyone's faces!

Is the job rewarding?

Hugely - I love it.

What is the most challenging aspect of the job?

Because I have made my classes drop-in rather than making Mums sign up for a term it can be challenging managing the cash-flow of the business. Some weeks we are absolutely jam-packed and other weeks if the sun is shining everyone will go to the beach!

Do you think it is a job that fits in well with being a Mum?

It is great for me.

Any advice for a Mum or Dad wanting to start training or looking to work as a singing teacher?

Firstly deicde if you are going to have the enery levels to remain up-beat even if you are having a bad day...then can you sing in tune and enjoy dancing around in front of an audience - if the answer is yes..then have a look into venues for classes, build some class plans and get going! You could also look at some of the music class franchises as another option with support and an 'off-the-shelf' business plan.

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