Tuesday, February 26, 2013

What Makes a Good Teacher

I attended a 2-day very intense soldering class this past weekend.  I signed up for the class last fall and I have literally been counting down the days - I was so excited! It was offered through a local bead store, and featured a supposedly well-known teacher. Well, I will not divulge his name, as that is not what my blog is all about.  I will share some things today.

I am basically self-taught.  I have lots of books.  I have taken several e-classes.  I even have more DVDs than I care to mention.  But I have only taken a handful of classes through artBLISS.  And after this weekend's class, I realize how blessed I am to have taken the classes at artBLISS (Jeannette and Cindy  - thank you!).  The teachers at artBLISS are well known - Kerry Bogert and Stacie Florer.  The teacher this weekend COULD NOT EVEN HOLD A CANDLE to these two exceptional teachers.
The first problem, in my opinion, was booking 11 students who sat around elongated 8' tables.  We were dealing with fire people....my opinion is that the class should have been limited to 6 students maximum.  The five of us on one side of the table felt utterly and completely neglected.  At one point, I soldered a charm to my piece.  He came over, asked "did you attach it properly", and then fiddled with it, and the charm fell off.  Instead of assisting me, or giving me any guidance whatsoever, he snatched it from me, and yelled "I have another repair to do".  He proceeded to place it at his station and then walked around for 29 minutes (yes...I timed him) while I sat with my arms crossed...waiting....
This went on for 2 solid days. I am not the only person that experienced this in his class. Not once did I hear ANY positive feedback.  I am not saying that I needed to hear "Oh Patti...you are wonderful!"  What I needed to hear was "Yes, Patti, you are doing that correctly". Or, "No Patti, that is wrong, let me SHOW YOU how to do it correctly".
I added up my total "idle time" from the two days (15 hours) - AT LEAST 4.5-5 hours.  There was actually one point on Sunday, around 1:30 PM, that I almost got up to throw my $50 kit fee on the table and just walk out.  But,  I kept repeating my word...my mantra - FEARLESS - in the back of my head, and I stuck it out.
I am also in no way, shape or form, a "prude".  However, I do not want to hear about a man's bathroom habits while I am attending class in hopes of learning a new jewelry design technique.  I would also like a little enthusiasm...just a little.  I am not even sure he actually he actually enjoys creating jewelry. 
Okay - my rant on this past weekend is over.  Phew!  I feel better.  Now, I do want to again thank Kerry Bogert and Stacie Florer for exhibiting the qualities that I believe make for being a good teacher:
  • Enthusiasm-they actually enjoy what they do!
  • Congeniality-two of the nicest women you will every meet!
  • Knowledge of the craft - oh to spend just one day in their studios would be a dream come true!
  • Preparedness-not just for the task at hand, but also what to do if something goes wrong
  • Patience - if these women were flustered by the students, man, I could not tell!
  • Ability to involve the students in the task at hand-both Stacie and Kerry had students exchanging ideas - it was awesome!
I know that I am leaving things out of the list above, but those are the most important, to me.
In the end, I am STILL glad that I went to the soldering class.  I really did learn a ton of information, even though it was truly an agonizing weekend!  Here is my completed pendant:
I try so hard not to be negative on this blog - but I actually feel better after venting! 
Thank you for stopping by and indulging me in my rant! :)  Enjoy the rest of your week!