Welcome to Day 13 of How to Earn $ From Sewing and Quilting! We are looking at Teaching Others How to Sew and Quilt this week, and today we will be talking about the skills you need to teach sewing and quilting classes.
We briefly went over some skills you need to teach others to sew and quilt in the post “Can YOU Teach Others?“. If you are sewing and quilting already you have general skills to teach others. There are other skills that you may or may not have, but you can learn and develop them.
What Skills do You Need to Teach Sewing and Quilting Classes?
There are a few different areas of skills I’d like to talk about today.
1. Practical Sewing and Quilting Skills
Some of the practical sewing and quilting skills you need to know to teach others are:
- How to choose fabric
- To wash or not to wash fabric (this is a matter of preference for most people, but you can teach yours and why you choose to wash or not to wash)
- How to read a pattern
- How to cut fabric
- for quilters, how to use a ruler, rotary cutter and cutting board, etc
- for dressmaking, which scissors to use, how to lay a pattern and cut it out, etc
- How to piece accurately
- Correct seam allowances
- for quilting, 1/4″ seams
- for dressmaking, check the pattern
- A good working knowledge of different sewing machines. (Your students will bring their own sewing machines and may not be familiar with them. You will need to be able to help answer basic questions. Make sure they bring their manuals to class!)
- Be able to explain the different types of batting used for quilting
- How to add borders to quilts
- How to add binding to quilts
There are more skills you can have that are specific to what you are teaching, but the ones above are the general ones you will need in order to teach others how to sew and quilt.
2. “Teaching” Sewing and Quilting Skills
Very few of us that teach others how to sew and quilt have a degree in teaching! So most of us will be learning from trial and error. You can also learn from others – going to classes and observing the teachers. When I was at Teaching College we did a lot of observation so that we could learn from more experienced teachers. Do this with any classes you attend yourself 🙂
Some of the general skills you will need are:
Make sure you have planned your class. Work out how many classes you will need to teach the technique you have chosen. Plan each step in a logical order. Your students will get confused if you forget steps and teach things in the wrong order! Write it all down. Try teaching it to a friend or invisible audience first. Practicing out loud helps!
Very similar to planning… you need to be organized! If you have handouts, make sure you have made enough copies (and some extras) for each student. Make sure your handouts are clear and concise. Have a list with all the things you need to bring to class and have them ready to bring along.
Sometimes you will forget things, but the more you write things down the more organized you will be.
Make yourself a special binder for your quilting classes where you can keep everything related to each class you teach. Or a folder on your computer where your notes for each class can be easily found and used again.
Patience and a Friendly Attitude
The best classes I have been to have been with teachers who were pleasant, friendly and patient. I believe these are the most important skills to have. Are they skills? Yes! You may not be naturally patient, but you can learn to be. I learned patience by homeschooling my children!!! Believe me, it can be learned!!
I have been to classes where the teachers have been unfriendly, and only interested in getting the class over and done with. I don’t know why they were teaching. They certainly didn’t seem to enjoy it… perhaps they were just doing it for the money? One of the teachers didn’t even talk to me for the whole class.
Please, if you teach classes, talk to each of your students! Show interest in them. Find out what their sewing and quilting story is. Interact and be friendly! Our students are paying to learn, but they are also paying to have a good time with us.
The best teachers interact with all of their students. This is why I recommend small class sizes – between 4 and 6. Yes, you can earn more money if you have more students, but you can’t give them as much attention. For me, my students come first, not the money I am earning.
If you are friendly and patient, and you get something wrong… guess what? Your students will be much more forgiving and I guarantee they will be back for more classes!
3. Classroom Management Skills
This is a fun one! Every teacher, no matter what their subject, needs to be able to manage their classroom! You may think this only applies to children, not adults… let me tell you that adults can be just as rowdy! And you can usually spot the “troublemakers” immediately!
Not all the “troublemakers” mean to cause trouble 🙂 Some students are just high maintenance and want or expect more of your time than others. Others are simply highly spirited and love to have fun…. loudly! (Hmm… I seem to recall that I was in the naughty corner in one of Nora’s last classes…!)
There are so many different personalities you will get in your class, and none of them are bad, just different. Your role as a teacher is to welcome them all, and get to know them. Be patient with the slow ones, encourage the beginners, and laugh with the jokers.
There will be times when students will not like the way you handled a situation, because after all, you are not perfect…. but will you learn from your mistakes. Don’t be discouraged, but keep teaching and developing your own teaching style. Be yourself, but most of all, be friendly and get to know your students.
There is so much more I could say about this topic… but that will have to wait till I write a book 🙂 So that will be it for today… tomorrow I’ll be back with Teaching Others How to Sew and Quilt – What Supplies do You Need?
PS Please remember I am answering your comments in the comment section below and not via email like I usually do. Sorry for the hassle, but I am hoping this month we can share ideas!
PPS The main page of this series is here along with links to each post for this series.
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