When the teacher becomes the student

This past week, I attended the Kansas City Regional Quilt Festival. It was AWESOME! Part of the awesomeness was no doubt due to the fact this was the first big, in-person quilting event I’ve been able to attend since summer 2019 (due to COVID-19 and hubby’s cancer surgery/recovery).

I chose to take hands-on classes for ruler work and mastering machine stitches. I also attended a number of seminars and product demos. It was fun, inspirational, and I learned a great deal.

Takeaways for my own teaching practice:

  1. Visuals matter. Students need a physical object or a detailed image/diagram of the completed project and each major step along the way.
  2. Don’t be so determined to get through your lesson plan that you leave your students floundering.
  3. If a student is frustrated, offer help, but let the student work through the frustration at their own pace. Walk away. Realize they’re done for the moment and heavy pushing from you is only going to further exacerbate the problem.
  4. Passing out materials as needed for some classes might be better than distributing all project materials in one big kit at the beginning of class.
  5. Keep it simple. Provide the essentials to get students started. Don’t overwhelm them with every little detail.
  6. If a component of your advertised class will be omitted for some reason (materials arriving late or unavailable), let your students know.
  7. Carefully review any discounts you plan to offer. A 15% discount for class attendees on same day/future purchases seemed the norm. End of show discounts for equipment used during the show is typically 35-50% (not the 10% offered by one instructor).