Gearing Up for Teaching

It is a bit satisfying, a bit unnerving, and a bit of second guessing getting ready to teach multiple classes at a singular event. This last month I have been prepping for 4 classes that I am teaching at the Crochet Guild of America annual Chainlink conference and it is almost time to put all that planning to the test.

I have been updating notes, writing handouts, doing current research and putting together samples and such. So this month I have been making yarn with a drop spindle and dyeing all kinds of yarn in a variety of ways.  I have been studying patterns and playing with beads. I have been mentally teaching my classes for hours, working on finer points and ensuring that I have everything in place.

In addition I have been putting together kits for materials for my class. Personally I do not enjoy taking classes that have lengthy material list, especially when it is not completely familiar with the things on the list. So as a teacher I have a small material fee, but I put together kits of the items needed. This might take up some room while traveling yet it is so worth it to have my students be successful with new techniques.

Now as I box everything up and start putting things together for my 10 hour drive I go over and over all possible items I might be forgetting. Life never fails I am sure I will remember something I need several hours from home, so I will be finding a replacement or improvising in class. That is what keeps it entertaining after all.

I really enjoy teaching, and how much I learn while giving instructions to others (I continue to take classes, check out why here). I am looking forward to the adventure that this week has in store…I will share my progress….

Testing Myself- Teaching Crochet

I am getting ready for my latest test…oh, I mean teaching opportunity! I am teaching this July in Portland, Oregon, at the Crochet Guild of America’s annual crochet conference (also known as Chainlink).

I say I am getting ready for my latest test, because ready that is how I feel, and the way I treat it. I put a lot of work in behind the scenes for my classes, to ensure that I cover the topic in the most approachable way, and then have a couple of back up approaches in case the explanation doesn’t resonate with the audience.

So, I am brushing up on a couple of different topics for Portland, like Drop Spindle. I will be teaching a 6 hour class on creating your own yarn using a drop spindle. I am doing extra research on various drop spindles, various fibers, the history, and different approaches to spinning, to make sure I am not missing any information.

I am acquiring all of the materials a student needs to learn with and then some. I have a material fee for the class, because I want to make sure that my students get the best materials to learn with. I personally hate taking a course and attempt to get the items needed, get to the class and find that I found products that were not necessarily best for understanding the concept. Fortunately, when I procure materials for my class I can often get a discount for bulk purchase and pass that saving on to my students.

I am also testing and investigate more ways to dye yarn for my course Home Dyeing –Safe & Simple. There are always so many ideas that come when diving down a rabbit hole of content, and this class offers that as well. I find myself adding more approaches and techniques every time I teach this course, as so many new ideas have been generated and various artists are cultivating new techniques. Often times questions that student generate in class can add to the material of future classes, giving me new areas to research.

Beads are another skill that can be ever evolving, my course Beading Three Ways, really should be renamed at this point, as I have added a few other ways over the years. From student questions, to new books on the market, to revisiting older techniques, this class probably covers at least 5 ways to work with beads now.

Probably my historically best attended class is What the Pattern Does Not Say. This class also is constantly revisited by me to add more content and update the terms. I find that the most daunting things for crocheters in understanding patterns, and I offer a fresh approach to understanding how to read a pattern, while pointing out tips and tricks that maybe causing you to fail, even before you start.

So even though this is only 4 classes, I will spend countless hours, days and weeks preparing.  Then during the event of teaching the real test begins, ensuring that my students feel comfortable, that they feel inspired, and that they feel accomplished when they walk out of the door. Then it starts all over for my next teaching engagement.

Consider joining me, you can find the class listings at crochet.org.