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Sunday, 15 September 2013

You Tell Me. (& a giveaway)

Hello!  I'm going to multitask here.  I need to do a giveaway for one of my sponsors, and I'm also needing your input on something.  So here goes... 

I've been teaching classes nearly a dozen times a year since the end of 2009.  I'm getting more and more requests for bigger classes, and from farther & farther away.  That makes me terribly excited, but also nervous!  I don't have a lot of experience being a student because prior to this I was home with little ones and unable to get out to take any workshops.  I have a few instances of one-to-one mentoring as the learner, but that's about it.  Now that I'm teaching more, I want to be a good teacher.  I've read a lot of advice in posts by other instructors.  Heather Lair gave me tons of awesome advice as well.  She was so full of fantastic ideas.

bird's eye view, post-class at my friend's loft studio.

Now I want to hear from those of you who have experience as the learner.  Can you tell me what you think makes a class a 'good one' for you?  What is the most frustrating memory you have of a class (no names please... just scenerios).  If you thing back to your 'favorite class' - what made it so wonderful?  What about supplies - do you like to get your own or do you prefer the class to have it all set up in the kit fee?  Do you like freebies & gifts?  Demos?  Handouts?  Show & tell?  Food?  Shopping?  Lots of student-teacher interaction?  Tell me what you love and wish you could have offered in every class you take from here on in.  Be as specific as you wish.



I think back to a huge class I ran in Winnipeg.  I mentioned how nervous I was and one of the women looked up and said, "Really!?  Don't even worry about it.  We are the ones who are nervous!"  That sure relaxed my perspective.  I had never even considered that.  So there, I learned that it's important to make everyone feel welcomed and comfortable regardless of skill level.  What are some ways to achieve that?

I can't wait to see the responses!  

So here is the random draw prize - a $20 online coupon from Ribbonsmyth! (You can find the link to her shop on my right sidebar.)  Silk ribbon galore!  All colors, all widths...  and the best part is that silk ribbon is light and thin so it costs a single postage stamp or two to mail (even to Canada).  If you have a lot of things to say, then go ahead and enter as many times as you like!!  What the heck, right?  I think your input will be very valuable for me.  I want to make my future workshops the best I can make them.


Thank you!  And thank you very much to Victoria @ Ribbonsmyth!  I'll pick a winner for first thing Wednesday morning.  : )

36 comments:

Marie Cron said...

Hi Monika,
So many questions, not much space!
supplies.. prefer that the teacher prepares a kit for classes (except perhaps for the common threads readily available) but for the specialty threads (for Needle work) there are so few suppliers for us that it is almost impossible for a kit list to be readily available at the few shops here in Canada. Mail order, without the see and touch factor is not always successful.
Demonstrations and hand outs (written instructions where appropriate) are essential to some and helpful for many. Depending on the class and available time, show and tell (teacher's) is nice.. so that other works / techniques can be viewed. Student / teacher interaction is important.. feedback is always good.. and questions from the students to the teacher a must. Shopping.. if at a larger event, like EAC Seminar is Bonus.. food.. not in the classroom... there have been some instances when folks have had to modify their pieces because someone spilled a drop of coffee on someone else's work... or spilled a cup almost full across a table... and only quick reflexes on the part of others sharing the table averted a disaster. A class is 'good' when the teacher has a passion for what she is doing.. and clearly enjoys the interaction with folks who have different skill levels and also with those who are still not sure about the technique. Hopefully you will get sufficient feedback to get the information you are looking for. Best Wishes, Marie Cron

Terri said...

Remember Speech class? - learning to speak in front of a group...
Be at ease yourself and your listeners will be more at ease... picture them in their underwear (I was taught) and I would be more at ease. But I think that it's easier when you realize they are all your friends (potentially) and speaking in front of friends is easy.
Hugs

shawkl said...

The less I have to haul to a class the better...so a kit and handouts are a must for me. General supplies are okay to bring, but I just hate running all over town looking for some unique fiber or such. My little town has little to offer, so a lot of things must be obtained online...which means extra shipping. A kit is easier and cheaper. I like having drinks in class...only in closed containers (like coffee cups with lids) if they can be placed away from the actual stitching area.
Kathy

Terri said...

On the subject of supplies... I've only been to two craft classes. They both supplied some items for making the project... enough so you got a feel for the making - hand outs for reminders of the steps, even sources for supplies at the soldering class. (Some things are really hard to find.) At the rubber stamp class we learned a way of coloring with stamp pad and swirling the color onto the paper. She had some stamps we could use, but we had to bring our own basic supplies (but we didn't really use any of them) she had communal supplies set out to use. (I hope some of this helps you.) Basically if I spend $30 for a class, I expect to get something, (over and above a lecture) even if it's just a piece of paper and some ink.
Hugs

Colleen said...

I have mostly taken quilting classes, so I'm happy to bring my own supplies. But, I would think that your classes would be a brand new technique for many, so kits would be helpful.
The one class I did not enjoy was one with no value added. We made a quilt from a pattern in a book, and the teacher just basically said "Go to it". I realized that I could have just bought the book and made it at home - I learned nothing.
The best teachers I have had are full of tips and tricks, even if the don't relate to the exact topic they are teaching.
I'm a quiet student - I'm and introvert and I catch on quickly, so I don't usually ask questions or do a lot of chatting. Usually, teachers come by and say "You OK?" and I say "yes" and they move on. It would be nice if the teacher stayed to talk to me anyway. Just a bit.

Judy Cooper Textile Images said...

Hi, Monika
I teach as well as take classes when possible. As a teacher I try to provide as much as possible so that students aren't stressed looking for the things they need. I also make sure that the local quilt shop has the required threads, stabilizers etc that I use in my workshops. A phone call to the shop well in advance usually guarantees that they have the supplies. I like to shop locally where possible.

As a student I like a well lit room with ample room to work, handouts if possible, teacher samples, demonstrations,feedback, prepared kit if necessary.

I like a nutrition break during the day.
I'm sure there is lots more but the brain has stopped working. Just enjoy the day and everyone else will too!

Shan K. said...

Hi,
I like kits (if possible), demos are good but also provide time for the student to work. A large workspace is helpful and I do like a nutrition or coffee break but away from the work space to avoid accidents. Also, allowing time for interaction between the students is good because there's always some useful tips that I haven't thought of before. Handouts are always good because even if I think I'll remember that "special tip" it's gone by the time I get home!
Hope this helps.
Shan

Margaret said...

Goodness! Well let me see...As a student, I like a room with space in which to work -- say 2-3 people at a table (allowing room for sewing machines if applicable) and good lighting, air circulation, and appropriate wiring for irons and sewing apparatus etc. I like teacher samples, teaching punctuated by demonstrations, clear hand-outs. I like a supply list sent in plenty of time in case I have to mail-order something; I also like my own supplies to be augmented by a kit with the price given in advance -- or clearly stated as included in the cost of the day. I like to know if I need to bring lunch, and snacks. I like breaks well-spaced, and freedom to walk around, stretch, and see what others are doing. I also like time to work on my own between sessions. I like positive feedback from the teacher and encouraging critique and/or suggestions. I like to be treated with respect, regardless of how little I might know about what's being taught. While not eating in the classroom, I like to be able to drink -- water, coffee, tea, juice -- in a covered container/cup/mug. I no longer take many 'in person' classes but if I see one that has something I want to learn, I still get excited about it. Oh yeah; if the class means I have to spend a few days away from home, I like to get information about accommodation and if a special rate has been arranged for the group, even better.

Now about that gift certificate...If I won, I think the first thing I'd do is swoon! :-)

Brenda said...

Hi Monika: When I take classes, I want the freedom to move at my own pace, as well as some direction throughout the class from the teacher. I'm not a kit and pattern type of person, so I take classes to learn a technique. Give me some freedom and feedback. I took a class from Heather Lair (postcards and suit coat purses) and she was very affirming and very relaxed.

Anonymous said...

I definitely thinks kits are best..especially if it is a beginner class, but even if it isn't. It makes the class more fun if the student doesn't have to go buy a bunch of stuff and can just come as-is. Having some take-home supplies is fun too..it gives the student a chance to try out some different products and figure out what they like before they go buy something that might be relatively pricey.

Handouts are valuable..I really like that you provide a resource list. Sometimes online businesses(like ribbonsmyth) can be sort of hard to track down but really valuable to know about.

I don't care much about food..drinks are nice if the class is long enough to warrant a break. I do like to have some time before or after to chit-chat with the instructor, but I'm really there to learn, so I care more about spending the in class time with instruction and practice and feedback.

Small class size is very important! I think if you get anything over 8, none of the students really get the personal attention that they want. If you teach a new technique, check in with each person..like Colleen mentioned, not just a "doing OK?" but maybe a quick observation on what they are working on, maybe a little bit of critique or encouragement.

Demos are valuable, but they have to be balanced with enough time for the students to just work on their own, as long as you check on them(don't just leave them to their own devices, they can do that at home). Most people don't really learn unless they do it themselves.

I'm completely agreeing with whoever said that what makes a bad class is when you realize you could have learned it from reading a book. "Insider tips" are what really make the difference between reading straight technique from a book, vs. going to a good class. What are the most important lessons YOU have learned along the way? What really helped you advance you skills in leaps and bounds? What are the most crucial skills, the most important tools? Share those things with your students. And at the end of it, maybe leave some time for people to ask you questions, so everyone can hear the answers. I do think you do a good workshop, so don't stress out too much! You had some valuable tips that I hadn't ever heard before.
-Katie Deneiko

Giddings Art said...

As a student and a teacher, I agree with everyone...handouts are wonderful because its hard to remember everything that was covered when you get home and try it on your own. My students always liked a tip sheet as well. I also agree...kits are great. I always had a student or two that wasn't able to find all of the supplies or picked up the wrong item. But the price of the kit should be included in the class fee or be clearly noted in advance. Freebies or gifts are always appreciated and make you feel your getting more for your money. And having been in both positions, I can tell you, I have been just as nervous as the student as I was as the teacher. You have so much to share, you will be great!

elle said...

Best class I took was a two day design class from a husband and wife from BC. She was the quilter, he was the math guy. They alternated their fields of expertise but had much to add to the dialogue. They introduced a concept and we did mock ups with photocopied black and white paper. She had examples of quilts and then we discussed 'problems' students brought.
I think I liked it because there were no finished projects just lots of concepts, notes, and practical experience.

elle said...

Having taught and taken classes the biggest problem is the student who takes 'all' the teacher's time because she is talkative (knows a better way), is unprepared or her machine is inadequate. I'm not sure there is an easy answer to that one but it is all too common.

craftykaren said...

There are a number of things I really like about some great teachers I've had the pleasure of working with. I love lots of samples of their work (even work not directly related to the class) to see their style and workmanship up close. Details are so often hard to see in online photos and getting to look at work up close is inspiring. I also like a number of class samples to view - different colors, sizes, which shows the versatility of the project and also serves to help all the students feel comfortable with their varied taste in fabric and supplies. I like a very clear supply list but prefer to select my own materials so they are sure to be in a color family that I will want to have around as the finished project. It is interesting to read how many folks want kits. That would be more likely for me if supplies were specialty items hard to find, or the teacher wanted to make sure we had exactly the right supplies because of how they'd relate to the final project (exactly the right type of fusible, or specialty threads, etc. as mentioned in other comments. One instructor brought a yarn store's worth of yarn in the right weight and hundreds of choices to make sure that we all had the right type and weight and she offered it for sale for fair prices. She also had threads I have not been able to find anywhere else, likewise for sale at appropriate prices.
I like it when instructors offer the right amount of time to finish the staged tasks, then move along to the next stage (while leaving room for some students to go at their own pace, either faster or slower than the rest of the group). In longer workshops or retreats, creative exercises or warm ups are a nice bonus - it can be an insight into the creative process an individual artist might use. Time for various tips and tricks of the trade are a nice bonus too.
You may not be in control of this part, but adequate worktable space, design boards, plentiful outlets and ironing boards and irons make things so much more comfortable. Being jammed in is no fun. Good lighting so fabric colors are true also helps.
Passion for the work and passion for teaching carries a lot of teachers a long way until they are "old pros" at the teaching part. Sometimes, less words, more doing while students watch (sometimes a few times) can be as or more effective than long instruction sheets or lots of talking. So, room for the group to gather around you while sewing, or cutting, or whatever you are doing, makes it easy to learn by watching. However, I've been saved many times by having a take home instruction sheet to refer to when picking up the project weeks or months later to finish.
Make it clear to students if there is likely to be adequate time to finish the project in class or if you expect to show the steps and let them get started but finish at home. Is it a process class or a project class? By that I mean - can I bring any old fabric (use my uglies) to practice something, or will I want to carefully select fabrics since I might have something done or nearly done and worth keeping?
If supplies might be hard to find please include sources in the supply list and send it out far enough in advance to allow time for supplies to arrive (or enough to shop at the local quilt store).
Your work is so wonderful - makes me wish I was much closer and could take a class with you. I'd love to learn how you pack so much interest into such a small piece!

Heather J said...

I like handouts which are well written and easy to follow. A good mix of demos and student practice/doing with access to the teacher is a must for me. I like the option of having a kit available but also knowing what is required for the class. Sourcing supplies and referencing other teachers/sources of inspiration is also helpful. Knowing what the outcomes from the number of hours in class is also helpful to manage expectations.

Jennifer Scantlebury Vienneau said...

I want to see LOTS of samples for every technique- if you are talking about a technique, show me it; don’t refer to it and move on, waving your hands and saying you didn’t have time to make one.

If you plan on having your students work designs out on paper, provide them with paper with the size marked out - ie, if you are having students design a postcard on paper first, mark out that shape on paper and provide it. You would be amazed how something this simple can stall people.

As much as I am interested in your family life, please don’t spend a lot of your teaching time talking about them. I also have a family life and I am taking precious time away from them to take your class.

Do not share inside jokes with other students. Many people who take classes are hard of hearing and inside jokes or aside comments are confusing and irritating. And besides, it is rude.

Pass out a questionnaire at the end of class with specific questions and get immediate feedback from your students regarding their experience and your performance, and if their expectations of your class were met.

In my experience, you can never prepare enough. My teaching friends and I were just discussing this the other evening and we agreed that it takes approximately 600 hours to completely build and prepare one class. From that you can figure out how many classes you need to teach to turn a profit. You have to love it to teach it!

Good luck and have fun! Passion shows in your work and your words. Take a few minutes to thank your students for investing in you.

Lynn Ross said...

hi monika,

I have taken a few quilting classes. the things I like:
kits/all supplies necessary for class provided or available to purchase
small class size
time for a break for drink/food
teacher/student discussions
time for students to discuss lessons
teacher samples

the two classes I've taken with you have been awesome!! you are very knowledgeable, you explain things very clearly, give lots of options, have lots of examples, etc. I am so excited about tomorrow's class!!!

see you tomorrow.

Lynn

Jodi - usairdoll said...

Congratulations! I know you'll do great teaching! Some of the things I've enjoyed from classes are having enough room to work, handouts, samples and one teacher always has a bowl of chocolate candies she passes around several times during class, hehe. Depending on what the class is for kits are nice. Even though I may bring my own supplies, maybe the teacher has different threads, rulers etc that she can share. Time to do what you are there to learn. Had a teacher once who was very knowledgeable but in the end, I didn't get the hands on work and practice that I wanted. A class that isn't too big so everybody gets a chance and turn with the teacher.Enough outlets for machines and irons and tested so circuits are not blown. (Has happened to me in a class)

Thanks for your giveaway and a chance to win.

usairdoll(at)gmail(dot)com

Prairie lily said...

Hi Monika,
One of the most frustrating class experiences I have had was when I was asked to buy quite a lot of expensive supplies that I never even touched in the class. I love having kits in the class because sometimes it is hard to know which colours of supplies to buy. If the teacher has a variety it makes things easier. I also love it when the teacher has several samples to show the students, and when there is enough time in class to actually try things and have teacher input. Thanks for the give away opportunity, and the information on another ribbon supplier!

kimgodwin@shaw.ca

HollyM said...

I don't thinki can add much to all the comments above.
Teacher interaction and teacher passion is a key. Lots of teacher samples are fun to see as well.
I once went to a class where the teacher was efficient but cool and didn't seem open to students input or ideas. I think creative interaction is fun.
Handouts are also most important. I also just attended a workshop where there were no handouts and now I find myself searching for info on the net.
Kits are great but extra odd bits are nice for those who might want to be a bit more creative depending on what your teaching. It's nice to pick up extra stuff too to take home as, for example, here we have to order everything.
Nutrition breaks are important for those who need it.

Leanne said...

I would so love to take one of your classes, maybe one day I can arrange to get to where you are teaching. I take classes to get that teacher's insights and get to know them a little. I can read a book or learn from the internet at home. I like to hear about your journey and tips, ideas, inspirations, and challenges or set backs. I really don't see how one goes to a class without coffee or tea and food breaks are a good idea if people are concentrating. I also don't go to a class to finish a project, I go to learn your technique and ideas to play with it, and I often learn a lot from the students nearby too.

Good luck, you are a natural teacher, I know that from reading your blog for so long.

Sheila said...

I have taken quite a few classes over the years , some very good others just so , the difference I think is partly the confidence of the teacher , those who knew their subject well were by far the best teachers . Also a small number is best so the teacher has time to spend with each student , realize some students will never ask for help even if they need it so stroll around and ask rather then wait to be asked . Lots of demos , step by step is extremely helpful for those who are learning a new technique and where possible print outs for reference for the students when they work at home . Show and tell of your work is so appreciated by students , at least by me , I learn so much by seeing other people's work and not just in pictures . A little ten minute break is great so you have a chance to chat with the other students and stretch . I took a class one time for fractured landscape , a new and rather terrifying technique to me but the instructor was absolutely wonderful and helped each student accomplish their project by demonstrating along the way and helping each student to get past any rough spots , although challenging it was a wonderful workshop. I hope someday to be in Saskatoon when you are doing a workshop as I would love to see you teach and to learn from your wonderful work . I hope this is of some help , oh along with small numbers I think enough space for each student to work comfortably is extremely important .

Bonnie58 said...

Hi Monika
having taken some of your classes, i can definitely say you are on the right track from my experiences. Depending on the class, kits can be great, but a detailed supply list is mandatory and include what you will be supplying in the kit for clarification. Contact name and number is imperative if I have questions before the class starts or after the class is done. Relaxed atmosphere works best for me, but also knowing how many stages and how much time will be applied to each stage of the class, so i can micro-manage my time best. Tips, tricks and tidbits are the best - they are the main reason i take a class, otherwise i can read a book or go on-line. This is what I pay my money for - the interaction between the instructor and the rest of the class. This is what makes the lightbulb go off for me... (along with the camaraderie - this is ME time). Demo's are great, especially detailing the different stages you are teaching (ideally the critical ones) and show and tell is always nice for ideas for future. Hope this helps.

Suse said...

I would prefer a kit. As someone else mentioned, I'd rather not have to bring a lot of stuff to the class, especially if the items are difficult to find. However, if you choose not to kit, please don't ask us to bring things we won't be using in class.I've taken a class where the instructor asked us to bring certain things, but we never used them & she didn't talk about them either.

I have taken a class from you. I thought you did an excellent job of explaining things & showing us how to do thread paint. Knowledge is power. If you know what you're talking about & you're enthusiastic about your topic, that enthusiasm will spill over to your students.

And most importantly - have fun!

Hooked on a Feeling said...

Having kits available as an option is fantastic. Though paying for it, it makes taking the course a little bit more like Christmas! Great instruction but especially hints and tips are appreciated. I too am quiet and a good learner and self-starter, but appreciate the attention of the teacher now and then. Constructive criticism is great and seen for what it is when delivered nicely. Having great light and fresh air is ideal. The opportunity to spread out a bit and not feel hemmed in. It's very nice to be able to take a break, stretch and walk around interacting with other students. Show and tell of the teacher's work is fabulous, especially if she is willing to show some of her earlier pieces and discuss what she learned from it, what she'd do differently now, etc. In other words, it's nice to find out that the teacher is human and has made mistakes too. Overall, a happy, approachable teacher is needed, which I'm sure you are. In fact, since you're asking for input I know you care and that makes a good teacher great!!

JennyPennyPoppy said...

Can't add much to all the great suggestions and thoughts that have been shared. Good lighting from windows is a big plus for me in taking a class. I also prefer the material supplied and handouts. Helps too if the class isn't too large. All the best in your teaching endeavors. You'll do a great jog I'm sure.

thesewinggeek said...

I would love to be able to take a class from you... but a trip to Saskatchewan is not in the budget right now... lol
I agree with a lot of the comments in the previous posts.
The teacher being organized is key. This is with material lists, suggested resources, process notes and kits if the materials are not readily available. It is great when a teacher sticks to a basic outline such as if it is a day long class. "This is what we will learn in the morning and this is what we will do in the afternoon." I think the hardest thing to do when teaching is keeping to your program. It always seems that there is one student who comes totally unprepared ie doesn't come with the supplies or can't run her machine. This person tends to dominate and stop the teacher from teaching. One class I took teaching a landscape class the teacher was up front that if you where having machine problems she would help you if she could after she got everyone else going. She would stop to demonstrate a technique and then give some time to try it. Then go on to the next technique. Sometimes I think it is better to learn from a technique class. As it gives you a basis on how to do things. It may not result in a finished product but is more like a sampler - a reminder how to do things.
Other classes are more project based. I remember going to one class where the teacher spent all her time with one student who did not really know how to sew or use a rotary cutter both skills needed for the class. It made it hard for the other 9 students to move ahead on the project. I did most of that project on my own at home... to me a waste of my time and money.
It is hard to teach a class well. I did a workshop for my guild members and thought I was well organized. But it ended up my plan did not work out as well as I hoped. I tried to cover to much in the allotted time. I had expected that the I could float between groups - I had set up 4 learning stations for people to rotate through. Provided kits, written instructions and explanations and briefly ran through the techniques. I over estimated the ability of people to feel comfortable to try the techniques on their own. To big of a group and too wide of a topic. We had a fun evening but it was not very relaxing for me.
Hope this helps some.
Jo

KathyM said...

Hi Monika

I'm another who prefers a kit, especially if it's a beginner class - until I've learned something about a technique I don't feel good about choosing supplies myself.

A handout is very helpful (my memory just isn't that great!).

It's important to have a plan for the class and set out what you expect to cover and what the students might expect to accomplish within the class time.

I love demos and show and tell - inspiration is such a huge part of what I take away from a good class. (I get lots of inspiration from your blog btw!)

Kathy

thesewinggeek said...

Dena Crain from Kenya who is a international art quilt teacher wrote a blog post about this topic. She did an informal survey and posted her results. It makes interesting reading and is totally about this topic. And she said it more coherently than I did. lol Here is the link to her blog. Hope you enjoy it.
http://www.denacrain.com/blog/
Jo

Laura McGrath said...

I've only take 2-3 classes on quilting, but learned really quickly that some teachers are way better than others. One brought all kinds of expensive materials that she said we needed to buy, even though it wasn't noted in the instructions we were given prior to class. I didn't have any money, so I didn't buy, but some people spent hundreds of dollars.
The classes I liked were those that showed, step-by-step, what we were to do, then let us do it. Some people got it easily, others didn't, but we had something to work on while the teachers helped them out a bit more.
I don't like classes much, as working in a group setting makes me nervous, so I don't take many.

journeywitholiven said...

Hi Monika,
I'm a patchwork and quilting teacher and as often as I can student as well of all kinds of textile related craft!!As a student I like good light, enough space and when it comes to supplies, I like to bring my own - so good list to be ready and not to miss anything is essential. Or I like to know what I will be able to get on a day form the tutor if I will not have the right color etc. And people are always tempted! So I like to bring lots of my own stuff but know what I don't need to bring, because I can get it on a day.
From teachers point of view I like attention and accessibility of a teacher if I need. So when I teach, I always flow through the class and make a small conversation with the student - praise, make sure she knows what to do, give her opportunity to ask a question, but not stay too long, to give everybody the attention they need. I rather go several times around than once. And I keep my eyes open, you can see when somebody struggles, so I go and help, before they find a courage to ask for help. And lots of praise and lots of encouragement. Make them feel good about the mistakes, help them find the lesson in mistake and make it normal thing.
I like to demonstrate and than let people work until the next step and the next demo I sometimes to twice, for the slower ones and for the fast ones. It all depends on the projects. Sometimes I like a class, where you learn technique on the little piece in the first hour or two and for the rest of the day you can work on your own project, using the learned technique.
I'm following your blog for quite a while now and from your reading , I'm sure you will be very good teacher, because you seems to be very nice and caring person. And that's all you need, you need to care about your students, make sure each of them is leaving happy and I'm sure you'll have no problems with that!! Good luck with it, and once you're teaching in UK, please let me know, I'll make sure to come!!
Thank you for your lovely blog!
Vendulka

monika@mysweetprairie.ca said...

Becky Nunn Johnson Still haven't figured out how to comment on blogs via my iPad, and I also have not been able to take very many classes, but when I do, I prefer long classes where I really get to practice and do something while the instructor is there. I also want to learn a new technique that I've never tried before. Hand outs are great. If the class is already expensive, sometimes the need to buy additional supplies prohibits me from signing up. If it is something I've never tried before, I'd like to try it out before investing in supplies, in case I decide it's not for me. Congrats on spreading your wings! I'm really excited for you!! (posted on my FB page...) Thanks Becky!

monika@mysweetprairie.ca said...

Camille emailed me:

"I like classes where I have a completed or nearly completed take home work, even though it may be small and simple.

Enjoy following your blog, and your work is amazing. I've been following you for probably 1 1//2 yrs at least, and it has been great watching how your work is evolving."

Thank you Camille! : )

Tara B. said...

When I took your class I liked having the kit that provided different threads and extra muslin. I'm slowing finding new ways to use each thread up but I do need more muslin. ;)

I also enjoyed having the big pile of scrap fabric and thread to sort through. After trying out some basic stitches I was feeling quite brave and enjoyed having such amazing stuff to let my imagination run away with.

I would definately put some thought towards class size. With something so hands-on you want to be able to spend enough time with each student but also leave them alone enough to let them try things on their own and start to learn from each other. It's a balancing act, to be sure. I'm sure with all the teaching you've been doing lately you're getting a feel for how many people is too many.

By the way - for my next embroidery project I want to do a picture of my house. That's not over-ambitious, is it? :D

Enjoy your teaching. I felt you had a real knack for inspiring your class to experiment and be creative.

Bernie said...

Monika,
a) the teacher needs to be organized and informative. Doing a show and tell of her finished or in progress projects gives an idea of where to go with the technique.
b) there should be a detailed class list of supplies -- if there is a kit fine. As someone else said though don't ask us to bring something we never use.
c) there should be a detailed handout so that six months from now when I can make the time to do the technique again I can figure it out from the handout and my notes.
d) there should be enough class time to get the project almost completed. I prefer to go home with something that can become a finished project instead of just a sample.
e) windows and lighting I think is key. I have struggled in a couple of locations because they had no windows as I am very solar powered and lights don't always cut it for me especially if I am there for quite a while.
f) a break in the middle of the class and then a class "round up" at the end so that everyone can see other projects.
g) a teacher that is enthusiastic, vocal and informative, down to earth. One who spreads herself around to all the students but keeps the class on track.
Hope this helps and I hope I win the thread seems I want to do a few landscapes this winter and am lucky enough to be taking two classes with you in MY ATTIC!!!!
Bernie

Noreen said...

Comments made already pretty much cover it all .. kits/supplies provided, manageable projects -> sense of accomplishment, feebies or draw(s)
As well, I much prefer:
- classes that focus on the process rather than the product ... giving me practise with techniques I can then go home and apply on a larger project.
... teachers who are teaming, genuine, and well-organized,
... Handouts are good -- I add comments and/or photos to these, and file for future reference.
- Monika, as long as you love what you're doing, continue to learn from the classes and students you teach, and then to adapt accordingly, you'll always be a great teacher!! e.g. Noting when more or less time was needed, when participants needed a break, etc.
... Teach students vs. contact. i.e. Adapt content to students' needs vs having the content and it's rigid preplanned sequence, time frame, finished product etc. run the class.
... Often nice when supplies are for sale. But the biggest turn-off for me has been when teachers have used class time to advertise and try to sell their own art pieces to students, or when pushing some sponsor's notion takes precedence over the intended class project.
`Hope you can follow this. `Daughter getting married this wknd so I have other priorities now. Having been part of many good classes, and some bad ones too, I did want to share my thought - as per your request.

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