Tuesday, July 17, 2012

So you want to take a class.

I love taking classes. It really gets my creative juices flowing and I get tons of ideas. I have had great teachers for 95% of the time but the first glass bead making class I did was awful. 
The teacher was not prepared, did not know his subject matter, and the safety was poorly lacking. 
So what makes a good class and a good teacher?
 There are so many venues to take classes now. Bead and Button and Bead Fest are the big ones, but many times their are local classes near by that are full of information and lots of ideas.

As a teacher myself I like it when the instructor gives me a list of project or steps that we will be covering in class. It kind of gives me a mental check list. I also take notes and that project list gives me mental reminders of what we covered in class. 

Organize, organize and also organize. I don't like to enter into a messy space. It jumbles my head. If I see the tools for the projects laid out along with the supplies I am a happy camper. It can get messy later (and with me as a student it will!) just start me out with a clean slate.

Also I like to know if my teacher has a lot of experience and knowledge with the medium we are working with. Remember how I talked about my first bead class? The students ended up reading out of a book to find out how to do things because the teacher didn't know how. Not cool. Make sure before you take a class to read the teachers bio.

If you didn't enjoy your experience you should let the organizers, or teacher know. Handing out a class evaluation helps to let them know how you feel without having to hurt the teachers feelings. 
As a teacher I love constructive advice. It only helps me as a teacher to grow and learn.

What are some of the things you look for in a class? Do you know of other venues that have great classes you want to tell us about? 

Next week I will be leaving for the annual International Society of Glass Beadmakers convention in Bellevue WA, so I will be posting about my experience with lots of pictures. Stay tuned!


Roberta said...

I agree that it is very important to have a teacher who knows his or her stuff. I always try to take classes at a good school. Whether it is the local jewelry school, art school etc. I also make sure to not only read the persons bio, but to try and talk to others who have taken their classes. Now with the internet and facebook, we can find out how good or not good a teacher is from others. These classes are not cheap so it is important to do our due diligence.

mairedodd said...

very much looking forward to hearing about the meeting - that will surely leave you inspired!
i agree, i feel like with all of the books and tutorials out there, it is easy for someone to feel like they could teach a class on a project... you cannot know and understand the things that go 'wrong' until you have done something for a while... and then you can help with teaching strategies, etc...
i love your posts, libby - thank you...

Stacie said...

Great perspective from the student taking the classes..I am teaching at my first big art retreat in Sept. and have started an online class hub to begin getting info out to my students now, so they can become familiar with the techniques and tools we will be using in class. I am also training my husband on proper soldering and torch techniques, and I will have him manning the torch area at all times so that someone is there to help with that while I am wandering around the classroom helping students. I am trying to cover as many bases as possible, and may be going overboard with info, but I figure more is better until I hit my stride. Great insight!!! Thank you so much!

Libby Leuchtman said...

Roberta you are so right. Classes are expensive and having information helps in making sure we get our moneys worth.
Marie I agree.I have taught so many beadmaking classes their is not much I haven't seen or don't know how to correct. Nothing takes the place of experience.
Stacie you will do great. Please tell us how everything goes.

Artisan Beads Plus said...

I would love to take a class on "metal smithing", but do not even have a clue where to begin. We have only one bead shop left in the area and they don't always have what I am looking for in terms of classes. Any advice? Does anyone know of anything that can be done online?

stacilouise said...

I have never taken a jewelry making class. But I think I'd like it to be laid out orderly, I love handouts so I can jot my notes right on them.

Can't wait to hear more on how things go.

Libby Leuchtman said...

MaryAnn have you tried your local Community College. We have a great program at ours.
I do think their are some online. I thought I remember Kerry Bogart mentioning something about one.

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