I'm volunteering at my high school, teaching violin/viola to beginners so that they can join the school orchestra, and I've run into a bit of a stump: they all started out as complete beginners, but their skill levels are starting to vary for various reasons.
Some of them already have experience on other instruments, which gives them an edge, while others either simply can't practice at home because they're homestaying or because they're simply swamped with homework (it's an AP/IB school). Often times there's the fundamental problem that some people are better at some things than others.
Complicating things more is the fact that some of them are already in the orchestra and want help with orchestra repertoire, while some want to work on different repertoire.
My new strategy right now is to let them practice in whatever ad-hoc groups they want, while I jump around (with another capable student from the school who also helps out) to give advice and try to keep them going in the right direction. I haven't tried it out yet, but I think it should at least keep everyone afloat, considering they're all surprisingly self-motivated for an ungraded class.
The "class" runs for about an hour a week and has around 8-9 students, though people usually stick around for about an hour and half until they get bored or tired. It'll be a juggling act.
Is there anything more I can do to either getting everyone on the same page without alienating/boring some students, or to keep everyone happy working at their own pace?