Yesterday, not feeling that weaving would be in my best interests, I started working on the level four master weaver class. One of the things I have is a whole bunch of samples. Many of these were woven for my own information, for published articles, for class examples.
Developing a class is time consuming. Even when working to a curriculum developed by others, it is still necessary to make sure I have appropriate samples to show that students can learn from. Because not all of us process information in the same way. I know that recently this concept has become somewhat controversial, but I have seen it myself - I talk about a concept and some people understand. I draw diagrams and a few more get it. I demonstrate and light bulbs go off. Likewise having an actual sample of the fabric brings understanding.
It was one of the most valuable things I learned as a new weaving teacher - don't just keep saying the same thing over and over again. As one student put it, 'saying the same thing only louder doesn't help me understand any faster'. I paraphrase.
Whether or not I am personally developing a topic, and I have developed quite a few between workshops and written publications, it still takes hours of preparation to go through the documentation to determine what I need to have available for teaching aids and a lesson plan to convey the course content.
Level four is all about colour and design. As I began digging through my bins of samples, I realized that I have done a lot of weaving that could be used as examples for this class. While my inventory of textiles for sale is dwindling, there are quite a few gamps, which is what the students will be partially working on for their homework.
These samples are not meant to be copied by the students, but act as tools to understanding.
I will also (if there are sufficient students) be teaching level two. For those samples I need go no further than my samples for the Guild of Canadian Weavers, because I had to weave samples of twill, overshot and double weave for those tests.
But I also need to sit down with the manuals and develop a lesson plan for both classes. I'm focusing on level four first because I have not taught it before. I have taught level two and have a pretty good idea of what needs to happen when and an hour or so of review will likely be sufficient. But level four is going to take a lot longer.
Like most teachers, I only get paid for the hours I am teaching in the classroom, not for the many hours that will be needed prior to ever stepping into the classroom. I'm not complaining, just saying.
People who have never taught really do not know how much work goes into what happens when they arrive.
I am feeling 'better' enough today that I am going to weave a towel. And use that shuttle throwing time to think about the level four class and how I might best shape the experience for the students. And then start gathering the art supplies and samples, check my yarn supply for the group warps (because there will be two for level four) and then hopefully mail early enough for everything to arrive before I do.
To fly out to Cape Breton I have been taking the red eye from Vancouver to Toronto, then to Sydney where a local meets me at the airport. We then go shopping for food (because the college is isolated and I will not have transportation) and then I fall into bed and Sunday spend the day getting the classroom and studio ready.
And then the fire hose of information will begin bright and early on Monday morning - and keep flowing until Friday.
Last I heard, we should have enough people for level four to run, level two, we won't know until one month prior to that class starting. But I still have to be prepared and ready to send the materials so that they will also arrive in time for class. Time that may or may not be required, depending on if the class goes ahead or not.
Just one of the realities of offering instruction for weaving (or any craft) - you do your best to offer valuable information, then wait and see if enough people are interested enough to invest in the time and effort to take it.