Thursday, 8 March 2012

Thoughts and Questions on teaching

I posted (and posed)  this to the Quiltart list

"Here's a question for you..  What is the point of teaching (for adults)
I understand why children have to learn (they find it easier, and they need
the information) (this also has Nothing to do with why they go to school)
But why would one teach adults?
Opinions, please"

This thought arose from a conversation with a workshop organiser (and my friend who came with me) about a workshop I studied in last year that was honestly appalling.. the teacher was ill-prepared, incompetent, unhappy, and conveyed no love for her subject (which she was not an expert or enthusiast for).. She could not physically "speak to the room" and mumbled to the nearest person with her hands over her face.. Sad, really, but in spite of her my friend and I had a nice morning.. We were both studiously ignored by the teacher almost all the way through.

The current spate of entertaining stories about good and bad teachers on the Quiltart list has made very entertaining reading..

I know why I teach, but I'm not sure why others would..

For me the primary reason is that I'm good at it, and see no reason why I should not exercise the talent I have.  I spent 14 years teaching martial arts and that taught me to teach the other stuff I do.
I get a lot of repeat bookings.
Then I enjoy it, and my students seem to enjoy what I teach.  My subjects are derived very much from my own work, so I have a deep understanding of the methods and design, and of the places the work comes from.
It's also an important part of my income.
I do have to ration the amount I do, or I get too tired and the other work suffers.. I try not to teach more than about 1-1/2 days a week on average.

It can be very hard work.. When faced with students determined to "beat themselves up" I feel my heart sink.  The ones who genuinely can't do it tend to try; some just want a pat and a biscuit..

So, over to you...

Learning?  That's easy, it's fun, needed, and makes sense in all ways..

Image is one of my students pinning her Blue Tiger Quilt at 8-3/4 months pregnant, determined to finish it!

1 comment:

  1. Helen, I have been following the posts on Quilt Art, on Why Teach Adults. I like your insights. They are a close parallel to my own. I like to encourage and watching people overcome fears, and overcoming that 'beating themselves up'. It is especially obvious in an on going class I run. One student will come for months and it is like watching a butterfly coming out of a cocoon. Then she will stop coming for months and we start the process all over. Teaching is facinating and fulfilling.


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