Preparing to Teach

If you teach classes, you already know how much work it is to prepare for a class. But for those of you who haven’t tried your hand at teaching, I thought you might be interested in the preparations that go on before a single student is taught a thing. My friend Paula and I are going to teach a couple of classes at our local community college, FVCC in early June. Today we spent all day preparing. That doesn’t count the time we have already spent planning on what to teach, filling out forms for the college and making a Power Point presentation.

Power Point Presentation

I worked up the Power Point presentation over a month ago and it would have been fairly straight forward if I remembered how to use the program. But I hadn’t used Power Point in a number of years so it slowed me down a bit. I spent at least three hours putting it together and then I had to have someone else upgrade it to Power Point 2010. The equipment at the college seems to be a bit ahead of my Power Point 2003. I never see the point in upgrading software if it still works.

Readying Class SuppliesWe headed down to Camas Creek Yarn as Paula works there and has an in for getting our supplies for the classes. The supplies are included in the cost of the class as that’s the way the college wanted it. In my prior classes, supplies were purchased in advance and just a supply list was given. So we spent several hours getting all the supplies together to put in bags so each student will have a “supply kit”.

Paula Measuring Pre-YarnHere’s Paula measuring out different colors of pre-yarn for the kits.

Confusing Ourselves

We were picking different colors to go with a variety of colors of roving. We needed 4 yards per pack but somehow got confused and started doubling the amount of pre-yarn we needed. Who knew counting was so difficult?

Picking Out Silk Roving

Next we added in some silk roving and silk hankies. So downstairs we went to figure out what colors would go with our color combinations we already had.

Silk HankiesHere are the colors of silk hankies that we chose. Paula dyed these.

Assembly LineThen we set up an assembly line to make our packs. Each pack contains Imperial wool roving, silk hankies, hemp fiber, silk noil, pelsul locks, silk roving, merino roving, pre-felt and pre-yarn. We are going to be doing three projects in the class and there are probably enough embellishments to do 20 projects. But we thought the students would appreciate extra embellishments for later use at home.

Ready to be BaggedThese are all the supplies in one kit.

All Bagged Up

Here’s our pile of bagged kits. I am making a supply list that will be stapled to the bag. But I need to make up some business cards to go in them as well. I’m not sure why I don’t have any of those yet?? (I guess I don’t listen to my own advice after writing all those Marketplace Monday posts.)

Felt Trivet Sample

Then Paula and I spent the rest of the day making samples for the class. We’re starting with a flat piece of felt with embellishments. This one is mine with a silk hankie, hemp, pre-yarn and pelsul locks.

Felt Trivet Sample

This one is Paula’s. She always adds more embellishments than I do. She used pre-felt, silk roving, silk hankie, pre-yarn, flax, silk noil and pelsul locks I think.

Finished SoapsThen we made felted soap. Mine’s orange and Paula’s is green.

Felted RocksAnd the last samples are felted rocks. Paula’s is on the left and mine is the hairy one on the right. All in all, we’ve spent around 12 hours preparing for a 6 hour class. This doesn’t include the time we’ll spend gathering up all the equipment needs, packing up the car and the preparations of setting up the day of the class. I like to be prepared, so I’m not complaining, just letting you know that the time a teacher spends is not just in the classroom. Hopefully, we’ll get enough students signed up for the class to run. Right now, we still have openings so if you’re in northwest Montana, we’d love to have you join us. Just click on the link in the first paragraph to sign up. 

Are you teaching classes? What are your thoughts about class preparation? Any tips for other teachers? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you take classes? Do you have suggestions for how teachers could be better prepared or suggestions for better teaching methods? We’d love to hear those too.

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21 Responses to Preparing to Teach

  1. Lyn says:

    You’re very organised – yes, prep takes forever and pupils probably don’t appreciate how much time and effort goes into it.

    If you can teach the same class (i.e. subject) again, then most of the preps such as powerpoint presentation, examples you’ve made and printed hand-outs, can be re-used – saving heaps of time.

    Judging by the preparation, your class should be a good one.

    • ruthlane says:

      Yes, the second and third time is always faster. I hope the students enjoy it.

    • Dorothy Beasley says:

      I am interested in taking a workshop on wet felting and nuno felting. If you could steer me in the right direction it would be helpful. I live in Southern Nevada.

    • ruthlane says:

      Dorothy – I’m sorry but I don’t know about classes in Southern Nevada. I would suggest looking at your local yarn stores or check to see if there is a Spinners and Weavers Guild. Many guilds have felting classes or at least the people involved might know some felt makers.

    • Dorothy Beasley says:

      I am not sure where you are located but what if any workshops do you offer. Would be interested in your classes if you are not toooo far from me.

    • ruthlane says:

      I’m in Montana – quite a ways from you.

    • Dorothy Beasley says:

      I have looked around and there are not many people who even work with felting as it is quite warm so the scarves are not a big hit here. What I want to do is purses, book covers, pillows, table runners and other items. Can you send me info regarding your classes and when they are held. Don’t mind having a reason to go to Montana. I can stop and see several friends that live between here and there.

  2. Looks like you are well prepared. I didn’t see any instructions in your prep. Do you not give instructions? I give students instructions at the end of class( so they do not read ahead and try to go faster). These are not detailed stand alone directions but to help them do it again. They wouldn’t work well if you hadn’t done the class. It does take less time after the first one. I’ve seen courses all inclusive and with an extra materials fee. I like to bring the supplies because then they are right.

    • ruthlane says:

      I haven’t done written instructions. I usually give written information on how to figure out shrinkage though. It is good if everyone starts with the same supplies.

  3. Interesting, what you call “pre-yarn” is better known here as “pencil roving”! I guess I’ve been around long enough to see traditional terminology disappear like the Dodo birds! Just sayin..

    • ruthlane says:

      We have pencil roving as well as pre-yarn. Pencil roving is thicker – about the size of a pencil. The pre-yarn is very thin and fragile.

  4. The best classes I have ever taken is when the teacher has come organized and prepared. I know that, and I don’t want to teach a class unless I have plenty of time to get it all planned out. Looks like you have done all these things and even provided the materials. Great.

  5. Karen says:

    Your both so well organised Ruth i wish i could just sign up and join in lol

  6. zedster66 says:

    I’ve not done classes, but I’ve put together a few embellishment/inspiration packs and it literally takes hours.
    Your questions are good ones. Do you have some ‘guide’ for how much/many embellishments to a certain size project? I think a lot of people don’t realise just how far a small amount of fibres can go.
    Is the green the Imperial wool roving? It looks very texturey, like Icelandic.
    I hope you get lots in the class to continue doing it 🙂

    • ruthlane says:

      It did take us a while to figure out what we wanted to use for embellishments. I don’t have a guide. We were going by cost more than anything since we were trying to keep the pack cost under $15 retail. They will have lots of extra embellishments to take home.

      The green is the Imperial. It is very textured and has a heathered appearance.

  7. koffipot says:

    As with everything, the more prep, the easier the project and you’ve certainly done lots of the former, so your class should go well.

    It’s much better to provide all the materials, especially if you’re teaching a class of complete novices, otherwiise many are bound to arrive ill-equipped.

    Good luck, I’m sure your class will be fully subscribed very soon and you may have to make a waiting list for the future! 🙂

    • ruthlane says:

      Definitely true – being prepared is important. Yes, novices just generally don’t know enough to even get the right supplies. I’m not sure about the waiting list but I hope we get at least one full class.

  8. kwinter12 says:

    Lucky students, having such dedicated and prepared teachers!

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