By Veronika Sophia Robinson
When I trained to be a celebrant more than 28 years ago, it was on a one-to-one basis. To this day I can’t imagine what it must be like to be part of a group of 12 to 15 people all training to be celebrants and trying to gather information, digest wisdom and experience, and come away feeling like I’ve had my ‘fill’. It doesn’t matter how experienced the trainers are, they can’t meet everyone’s needs. How can they? If, like me, you have a long attention span, it can be frustrating when learning has to be accessible to a wider audience (aka dumbed down) and that you are denied the full experience.
More than once I’ve posted blogs about how one-to-one training really suits people who may be shy, reserved, highly sensitive or introverted or simply prefer the in-depth connection that comes with this sort of training. One of our recent graduates pointed out to me the value of our training for people who are extroverts, too. Before coming for training, she was sure that group training was the best option for her. How could it not be? She’s a true-blue extrovert and people lover! Group training was an obvious choice. Or was it? After all, why on earth choose to miss out on all that fun and connection?
Now that she’s on the other side of her one-to-one training with us and is a certified professional celebrant (with a distinction for her Diploma in Advanced Celebrancy and Ritual), and has had time to reflect, she can see there was a real advantage to one-to-one tuition.
If you have a tendency to dominate in groups (because you’re a natural leader, for example) or get frustrated because other people are holding forth and you don’t get a chance to ask your questions or give input, choosing private one-to-one training means you don’t have to hold back. You have the option of fully expressing yourself. You can have all the discussion you want. Everything is tailored to your learning rather one a one-size-fits-all approach. The focus is on you and your optimal learning needs. This is non-negotiable. It’s your course.
If you’re a deeply curious person and have question after question or you like to engage in discussion and explore things further, the truth is that this is just not going to happen as freely and fully in a group situation. As a celebrant trainer, although I know the curriculum inside out and what needs to be covered, every time we have a student the learning days are different. And it comes down to this: it’s what the person brings to the training. That is, their lived experiences, their questions, their insights, their desire to learn more. I know that many of those questions, and certainly the depth and breadth of those conversations, would not have happened―could not have happened―in a group of 12 to 15 people. There just isn’t the time for it. This training situation also doesn’t have room for unravelling biases; something which must happen for inclusive celebrancy.
One-to-one training with us also means that each student has the option to shadow me on a client visit or at a ceremony. This personalised approach which is a combination of me ‘passing on the baton of decades of celebrant experience’ and, in Paul’s case, decades working professionally in voice and presentation, is unique in the world of celebrant training.
I’ll be the first to admit that learning in groups can be a fun and pleasurable experience. I’ve also really enjoyed teaching groups too. However, it only takes one person to change the energy of a group and to make or break the dynamic. This is something you don’t have to worry about when you train on your own. The focus remains solely on you, your needs, your learning, and your potential celebrant path. It also means that we, as your celebrant trainers, are deeply invested in your celebrancy: from learning to career. We get to know you in a way that’s not possible when fifteen people are being tracked through a course.
You’re not just a number to us. You’re a person. And whether you’re an introvert, extrovert or ambivert, you’ll be welcomed with open arms. (We always check first if you are a hugger! 😊 )
Veronika Robinson has been officiating beautiful, bespoke ceremonies since 1995. She is a certified Infant Loss Professional; founder of Penrith’s first Death Café; is a celebrant for the charity Gift of a Wedding; and mentors celebrants around the world. Along with her husband, Paul, a voice and presentation coach for celebrants, she’s a tutor at Heart-led Ceremonies Celebrant Training.
Veronika is the author of many books including the popular Celebrant Collection:
Write That Eulogy;
The Successful Celebrant;
Funeral Celebrant Ceremony Planner;
Wedding Celebrant Ceremony Planner;
Three more titles will be added in January 2024:
The Gentle Celebrant’s Guide: Funerals For Children;
The Discrimination-free Celebrant;
The Celebrant’s Guide to the Five Elements.