Class has begun!
I’m so excited to say that I taught my first in-person group class last week, and think it went well. And I’ve decided to share here, what it’s like to be teaching, and things that come up during the course of class.
First things first. It’s not very PC to say, but generally when we think of/encounter non-academic sewing teachers in the US, they are retired white women. Now, I have learned much from these women, so I’m not knocking their information! I’m just saying that it gave me a special thrill to be so completely different, but equally authoritative. When you don’t see yourself represented somewhere, it is easy to write yourself off and out. My teaching a sewing class in a paid setting is my contribution to change, rebellion, and opportunity for others — all kinds of others.
My class maximum is six, and I had three students last week. That sounds low, but hey – at the beginning of this year, no one had even enrolled and I was worried my beloved class would be cancelled. So I was grateful to these three people for giving me the opportunity to share what I know, and hopefully benefit from the information. Interestingly, one of my students was not new to me, which maybe should not have been a surprise. After all, Boston is a fairly small large city and the sewing community anywhere is also pretty small.
If you ever meet me in person, you are bound to notice that I am…hm. What’s the nice way of saying a mess? Haha! Seriously, though. As organized and methodical as my brain is, my stuff is always a sh*tshow. Last week I was driven crazy by the smell of cheese, only to realize I’d shoved a bundle of cheese and crackers wrapped in a napkin, into my purse. Whyyyyyyy???? My tote bag was a mess of body spray, pens, highlighters, a laptop, a massive notebook, tangled measuring tapes, and more. I tried to play it off, but I was honestly quite embarrassed. So this week, I’m going to try to clean out my bags before class, and/or prep further ahead of time, so that I can be less sloppy in the classroom.
And speaking of prep – I was very well prepped. I had my lesson plan in a notepad file, complete with a timeline to ensure I covered everything in our two hours together. I had printouts that we used in class, as intended, and that were clear for the students. I told you, my mind is organized! Next time, though, I might enlarge printouts with text so that they are easier to share in a group setting.
Finally, there was a point when my students had questions that my explanations didn’t answer – until I drew a picture. My takeaway from that was to not just mention and verbally explain concepts, but also have some visual to make them clear for people who learn in non-verbal ways. It was also a question that I don’t really think I could have foreseen, which was really exciting. The most fun part of teaching, for me, is those unpredictable conversations and trains of thought that arise in in-person settings. Both for the opportunity they present, and for the fact that it shows the students feel comfortable and safe enough to speak up.
So that’s my first post on teaching! As for sewing, I still haven’t done anything. I was laid low by severe abdominal pain about a week after my last post. After some time in the hospital and some more time on bed rest, I’m slowly getting back to my full work schedule and a pain-free body. I will say that this health experience has been every bit as humbling as I thought teaching would be, so maybe I’m in a phase where I need to be more grateful and less proud?
At any rate, I eventually want to finish that super cool Dropje Vest I shared with you last post, so cross your fingers that I will be able to sew sooner rather than later.