I also get to say hello to a fair number of friends who live in various places around the Midwest and travel in for the big shows or events. One of them–I'll call her Martha–decided to sign up for my class on the gorgeous traveling stitch patterns (the stitches travel, not the patterns) commonly known to English-speaking knitters as Bavarian Twisted Stitch. You may also know it as Austrian Twisted Stitch, or (if you speak German) you may know it as one of the many forms of Strickmüster, or knitting patterns.
You may not know it at all, in which case please allow me to recommend my class. (My calendar is always here–did you know I'm sailing to Alaska in July?)
Anyhow, Martha showed up a bit early to chitchat and catch up. We went to Meg Swansen's Knitting Camp together a couple times, but don't get to see each other much. She asked how the show was going. Dandy, I said. Good students, happy classes.
"I'm sure your classes are always happy," she said.
Well, I try. I try my damnedest. My classes take about a year of preparation to début; and ever after they are subject to constant fine-tuning. It's not enough to know how to do something in order to teach it. You have to–this is my opinion, anyhow–know it well enough to explain it at least five different ways. Not everyone learns in the same way, or at the same pace. You must be able to adjust your teaching to suit the students who walk through the door, and anybody can walk through the door.
Even so, you can't please everyone. Sometimes your feedback forms come back with disgruntled comments. I've had marks taken off for
- the font I used in a handout ("Sans serif faces are unprofessional"),
- wearing a bow tie ("so pretentious"),
- not keeping the room warm enough (we were in a barn at a fiber festival),
- talking too much (I was, you know–teaching),
- being too gay,
- being too unattractive, and
- not making it clear in advance that a class on lace charting would require the students to use lace charts.
I wish to share with you select excerpts from Martha's comments on my teaching.
Would you take another class with this teacher?
I don't know. Will there be wine?
Would you suggest this class to a friend?
Only if they want to learn something.
Additional comments and/or suggestions.
Although instructor wore hat, nevertheless appeared to be unable to bilocate. Only in one part of room at any given time.
Was unaware that knitting is prerequisite for this class.
Purl stitches do not travel? This seems discriminatory.
Cannot decide whether these German-style charts prevent Alzheimer's or promote it.
Instructor's bow tie did not light up.
EDITED TO ADD: I must not be coming across quite clearly to all. Martha is (as I wrote) a good friend. Her lampooned feedback form, as quoted above, made me laugh. The other comments, from other classes at other events, aren't posted as a cry of pain–I thought they were funny. What can person do in the face of such absurdity but roll his eyes? Outrage would be an overreaction.