Knit Picky: Teaching Trials

"properly practiced, knitting soothes the troubled spirit...
 and it doesn't hurt the untroubled spirit either."
~elizabeth zimmerman

Friday, August 12, 2005

Teaching Trials

I've now finished the fronts and back of the Baby Sweater That Will Not Die. I've started a sleeve. Do you think he REALLY needs two? C'mon, kid, life's full of disappointments. You might as well start learning now!

I taught my first group of kid knitters a couple weeks back. Aged 6-12. I feel that it was disastrous, but nobody else has agreed so far. Perhaps they're a bit less critical than I am of me. Hmmmmm. I *thought* that the thumb method of casting on would be easy for kids to grasp. Boy was I wrong. I am totally teaching the cable or knitting on method next time. It took them ages and I still don't really think they got it. That was Mistake #1.

Mistake #2 I mixed up the long-tailed cast on with the thumb method, and had them cast on using the tail. With the result that when the 12 stitches were cast on, the working yarn was at the wrong side of the needle. Nice. So we had to cast on AGAIN.

Mistake #3, I let a grandmother sit in with her granddaughter. She immediately jumped in and started teaching her how to knit. At a totally different pace than the rest of the class. With a different cast on and technique. Oh that was fun. When I asked her why she was paying me to teach if she could have done it herself (although I think I was a bit more gracious than that), she told me that she didn't know if she'd have the patience, but if she'd known how easy it was...Was that meant as a dig at me, or as a comment on her granddaughter's abilities, I wonder?

So, all in all I felt like a moron. Although all the kids were sweet as could be and knitting by the end of the two hours, I still felt like a screwup. I asked another lady who was there to witness the debacle and she thought I did fine. She said that considering it was my first time teaching kids, and it was a good sized group (6), she thought I was good. And one of the shop owners did ask me to teach another group of kids in two weeks. Girl Scouts, this time. Ages 9-17.

Do any of you have teaching horror stories that you're willing to share so that I don't feel so lame?

Also, I have a question about web etiquette. The Boy took a bunch of pictures of me working with the kids and teaching them, and I want to post some of them 'cause the kids were so cute and intent, but I don't know--am I allowed to show their faces? I don't have a release or anything, so is that verboten?

posted by Stephanie at 2:10 PM


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