Monday, September 03, 2012

Reflections on teaching

I taught a class last weekend (really, the weekend before last since it is already Monday) at an event in Salem. In the SCA different areas have different things in place for organizing structured classes. In An Tir we have two, Ithra and Academia. Salem got Ithra going again, which is the first time in a decade in Oregon-ish (or so I have been told). It has been a learning experience because it is different from most events where I have taught classes before.

-People have to pre-register for classes and pay up front (nice because if the student doesn't show, the teacher still gets the class fee), but harder for people to make last minute decisions if they want to go to the event.

-Teachers get reimbursed for their class fees, so have to provide receipts. I'm okay with that now, but I was told about it 3 days ahead of time and had to scramble to get something together. Directions for this also need to be on the Ithra site to help new teachers!

But the class was fun. I signed up to teach medieval stockings (using the pre-literate stocking pattern by Dame Christian). I had 5 students, and half of them were already knitters. I had a wonderful co-teacher, Angharad Bach, and this worked out well, I took those students who already new some basics, and she took those who needed refreshers and some more basic instruction. We did a swatch stocking (32 stitches and basically a baby stocking).

We did half teaching/half lecture. The lecture ended up being on the history of knitting with a large portion on stockings.

In the end I got great feedback from the students, and the biggest thing was that my class was too short. Which I agree with. The class was 2 hours, and I think it needs to be 3 or 4 hours long. I forget people don't knit as fast as me, and the more advanced students got through the heel, and picking up stitches, but not any farther than that. My goal was to get everybody through the baby sock and onto the stockings, so next time I will plan better. I think I will also just do a small amount of yarn for the next class, enough for the baby stocking, but not for the full pair. That will decrease the cost of the class, and people can then go choose their own yarn. I chose to get yarn for everybody and have a high class fee so that they would have yarn to go and make their own stockings.

I leave you with some medieval knitting I have done. Also, the most amazing pair of pumpkin pants ever.


Chris Laning said...

Collegium Caidis, where I've taught a couple of times, also reimburses teachers who turn in receipts. Since I make up most of my kits from yarn I have had lying around for awhile, I had to go get current prices and produce my own documentation (I am not in the habit of saving most reciepts) so I sympathize with it being a hassle! (I teach some of the same classes repeatedly, and I hate making kits, so I tend to put it off and then make thirty kits at once which last me several years ;)

Chris Laning said...

Also: the baby socks are a good idea. My rule of thumb is that less experienced knitters take 4 to 6 times as long as I do to knit the same amount, so plan accordingly. Something I've tried is to have them knit only about an inch of "leg" before they turn the heel: many of them don't get that far, so I'll borrow your idea if I may. Half the number of stitches plus only an inch of leg and they might actually get somewhere in 2 hours!

Another tip: I always give out kits as soon as people come in, then get them started knitting, and only THEN start talking about knitting history. Any other sequence pretty much guarantees they won't get very far on the knitting.

handstitch said...

That's some coolest pants ever. Now you get my interest on the history part. Who wore these? It looks like "cup" in the middle. Very cool. Glad you enjoyed teaching the class.

Sarah said...
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