Saturday, September 3, 2016

Romantic Notions

People who have not taught, especially when long distance travel is involved, have such a romantic notion about what goes on before the class ever happens.

First the teacher has to come up with a focus for the workshop - the general topic.  Then the various drafts/projects have to be designed.  The photo above is a sampling of what happens at this stage.  Lots of yarn samples, some preliminary designs to include.  Samples to prove the concept.

Then all of the handouts have to be designed and generated.

All the appropriate marketing information needs to be assembled and posted to a website (preferably) or sent to the event for their consideration.  It used to be that an instructor didn't have to do this bit until they were hired, but now event organizers want all of that up front.  A whole lot more work before you even have the job.

Once booked, a traveling teacher usually tries to find other bookings to maximize their income and keep the cost of travel down.

After the go/no-go date has come and the event confirmed, travel needs to be booked - and paid for - up front.  Class materials are mailed out for participants (this job usually takes me about 8 hours) so they can bring their dressed looms, ready to weave on.   (Of course the first hour is frequently spent 'fixing' issues - like mis-threadings, mis-sleyings, etc., etc.)

One of the longest most challenging trips I did began by arriving on the eastern side of the continent a few days early.  A participant invited me to stay with her to help me adjust to the four hour time zone difference.  She drove me to the event (5 hours away) and then acted as my 'assistant'.  (She had taken several classes with me previously and become a good friend.)  There, I taught a 5 day class, then my friend helped me dress all of the looms for the two day workshop over the weekend.

From there I went to Point C where I taught a one day class.  I was driven to a convenient meeting point where my hostess for the next leg brought me to her house (Point D).  The next day we drove to Point E where I taught another weekend workshop.  Travelling on fresh ice slick highways.   On Monday we returned to Point D where I taught for that guild.  From there we set off to Point F, this time with three people in the vehicle, two looms, and all of our luggage.

At Point F I taught a two day workshop and then a one day workshop.  From Point F I returned home.

Six locations.  Seven different workshops.  Six topics.  All with class samples that had to fit into one suitcase.  Frequently I also do guild programs while I am in an area.

This trip was very different because I was driven between the locations, not flying from point to point as usually happens.  I actually got to see some of the countryside, not just go from airport to hostess to venue and back again.

I was away from home for an entire month.  When I got home, Life Had Been Happening, plus I had a month's worth of business to catch up on.  And the time zone change, again.

Two years ago I had to cancel all my teaching because I was waiting for by-pass surgery.  I had no idea when the surgery would take place, or how soon (if at all) I would feel like dealing with the logistics of such trips and the stress of time zone changes, different beds, my funky diet, especially while traveling.

Recently I have been getting inquiries about teaching.  So far I have accepted the dates but my teaching fee is three years out of date.  With the recent discussion on the internet about what represents a 'fair' wage, I either need to stop teaching (other than for Olds College) or increase my rates - significantly.


Sandra Rude said...

Increase your rates. In a "normal" job, one would hope to get at least a small annual raise. So give yourself one!

Teresa Ruch said...

agree with Sandra. You were low before.