Me teaching at Stitches Midwest in 2015. Photo courtesy of XRX, Inc.
When I first started teaching, it all felt a little overwhelming and scary. Over the last few years, I've been able to put some systems into place and, with more experience, teaching has become a breeze and one of my favorite things I get to do as a designer. I love getting out there and meeting all the knitters!
Here are some of my tips for teaching and workshops (in particular order):
- Make yourself class kits. I bought some clear bags online and labeled each of them with the class name. It has all of the swatches I need, as well as needles and yarn for doing demos. This has really cut down on my packing time for teaching engagements. I talk more about packing for a teaching trip in this post.
- Put your contact info on your handouts. So many of my teaching jobs I book have come off of someone in the class going home and telling their knitting guild about the class. Make sure they have a way to get a hold of you.
- Have a Plan B (& C). I think this one comes with time/experience. Developing a way to explain things more than one way is critical. Everyone learns in different ways, so being able to explain the same thing 3 different ways means all your students are happy.
- Set a schedule. At first, I only taught 0-2 times a year (see point number 2 about increasing teaching gigs). As I started to get more requests to teach, I sat down and decided what was going to work for me. I don't want to be traveling all the time. I like being at home writing knitting books. So I've decided that I will only accept 6-8 teaching jobs a year and I avoid teaching from mid-November to the end of January, when possible. I made an exception earlier this year to teach in Southern CA in January....hello, I'm from Chicago. :) Decide what's going to work for you.
- Most importantly, teach what you love to knit. I love shawls and lace, so most of my classes focus around those things. By teaching the subjects you're especially passionate about, you're sure to have lots of fun teaching about it!