West Sussex science teacher goes Lockdown:Rockdown live online

Partridge Green-based computer science teacher Daniel Chandler is pulling in the crowds on his weekly Lockdown: Rockdown series of streamed singing shows on his YouTube channel.

Friday, 5th February 2021, 8:00 am
Daniel Chandler

It is all part of Daniel’s commitment to raising money for the NHS – and he is getting plenty of support from his students.

Daniel, who grew up in Littlehampton where his grandmother for many years ran the fondly-remembered Chandler Variety Company for 42 years until 2010, started off with a 12-hour Singathon on December 19, singing for 12 hours on YouTube as an NHS fund-raiser, bringing in £1,685 to date: “I was inspired by people like Sir Tom and also like Joe Wicks who did a 24-hour work-out for Children in Need. So I was thinking ‘What can I do?’ A lot of people were doing runs and walks and exercise, but I sing and my students were always saying to me to sing in class which of course I don’t do! I teach computer science!

“But I have always wanted to do live-streaming”, says Daniel who works at The Royal School, Haslemere. “I got my webcam out and set it up. I have got an external office at the back of the garden, and I turned it into a recording studio and did a couple of songs and set up my YouTube channel. I did some Facebook and Instagram, and so I did the 12-hour livestream.”

In all a couple of thousand people watched: “I did everything from Queen to Michael Jackson and The Police and Christmas songs because it was just before Christmas and I also did Disney songs and songs from the musicals.”

Now comes Lockdown: Rockdown: “A lot of students were asking me to do more livestreaming for the New Year which I wasn’t keen on, but then we went back into lockdown again and I thought this could be an opportunity. I thought I would do a weekly two or three hours and see how it went. It has been really popular. I have invested quite a lot of my own money in new cameras, lighting, creating animations and green-screen technology.”

The first one was on a 70s disco theme with Daniel dressed accordingly; the second one was to have seen Daniel perform dressed as giant inflatable Pikachu… which didn’t quite work out, much to everyone’s amusement: “And I am going to continue to do it throughout lockdown. I will stop when we are all released. Or at least, I will stop this latest series and I might then do something different afterwards. I will certainly carry on streaming something.”

Daniel is relishing the chance to visit his old graphic design skills: “I used to be an animator before I became a teacher, so I get to do some editing and I have bought some new equipment. I have really enjoyed doing it and promoting it. And some of my students have even got together a fan page and do a lot of promoting for me.”

As for the teaching, it’s full on, Daniel says, but fortunately computer science is a subject which inevitably lends itself to being taught online: “I also do some maths which is a lot harder to do online.”

Through his family roots in Littlehampton, Daniel brings a wealth of performing experience to the task: “I have worked with HAODs in Horsham. I started with them in 2016, and I played the lead with them in The Pajama Game.” Daniel manages it all despite visual impairment through the condition Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON) which was diagnosed about ten years ago: “It is a genetic condition which has taken away my central sight.”

It meant an end to his career in graphic design – but also, inspired by his wife’s work in a primary school, meant a start to his career in teaching.