Monday, February 9, 2015

Class notes

When I sign on for a fiber-related course, I don't expect a miraculous encounter. Over the years, I've poked around in lots of corners of the fiber world and have built up a pretty broad foundation of skills. I don't expect everything to be shiny and new in any given three-hour class.

I do expect to be inspired, learn a new way of thinking or acquire a new skill. Any one thing that will an generate an 'Aha!' moment is enough to satisfy my yearning to learn.
There was a materials fee for this

Which brings me to the image at right.

I've kept this piece of paper and string for several years now and every now and again, I uncover it amidst my 'stuff.' Really, it's trash and has no other value than as a stark reminder of the fine line between trust and disgust.

This colored piece of paper and cotton string still make me angry. I paid a $5 materials fee for this person's five-line course outline and a piece of cotton string. I thought it was outrageous at the time, and for most of the class thought there must be something more. After all, string and yarn were on the materials list to bring to the Rhinebeck class.

Alas, that was all there was. I didn't want to create a scene, so I fumed silently. The coursework was fine, but I will never recommend or sign up for another class with this person--and all because of a few dollars charged for nothing.

Instructors are people and they are unique, but the good teachers stand out. (Anyone who worries about how effective he or she is probably has nothing to worry about.) The fiber community shares its experiences, both good and bad, and for the most part, it is a forgiving lot. But when an instructor's reputation gets tagged with non-professional behavior--think repeated last-minute cancellations, little-to-poor preparation, larger-than-life-ego, disorganized, or rudeness, the tarnish is hard to remove.

The classroom is not a place for those who withhold their knowledge, ideas and techniques. For those who do not want to share, please don't teach. Students know.

For me, teaching is an honor. I love to share my skills and my passion with like-minded people who are interested. And in return, I almost always get more back than I give.

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