Monday, September 8, 2014

Teaching.......I think I like it

by Staci Louise Smith

So, I taught my first "real" class at Beadfest this year.  I was beyond nervous.  Now, I wasn't nervous cause I didn't know what I doing, and I wasn't nervous cause I thought I wouldn't be able to convey it in words (if you know me, you know I have no problem talking for hours on end)......I was nervous, because we were making these in 4 hours.

Painted Polymer Fossil Talisman
 The class was designed so my students would learn to organically form the polymer, learn to paint it, using my crackle technique (I have a tutorial on the painting alone you can purchase here).....and then, they learned to make the whole thing in to a necklace.  

I really hoped they would walk away with some new polymer skills they could play with and incorporate into whatever art they do, and that they would get to have some fun using wire and mixing art beads to create an asymmetrical necklace.  

All in 4 hours.

My panic came from knowing I am not naturally organized.  And what I found from my practice class I held, was that this was going to have to be timed.......with a schedule, and I would have to stick to it in order to finish.

My friend Jenny Davis-Reazor was also teaching for the first time this year, and she came out to stay with me, and help out, and be moral support on Wednesday night.  I was so thankful for that!!!!  We also found out that another friend, Linda Landig came in early for the show, and she volunteered to help me with my class!  

Here we are having dinner and drinks

 meet the teacher

 this is where they could pick their kits....they got to pick colors and beads to truely make it unique
just waiting for the students to arrive

I don't think we would have finished the project if I had not had Linda's help in the classroom.  Jenny helped out in the morning, but then she had to run to pick up a friend at the airport (have I mentioned what a whirlwind Beadfest is???)  

Anyhow, the class rolled in one at a time, which allowed me to introduce myself and get them all started picking out their colors for their kits...........and then we were off.

I was thankful that Linda is not only a teacher herself, but she works with new teachers (student teachers) so she was wonderful at giving me prompts and tips so I took time to explain things here and there that needed more.  I learned a lot!  

(she also took picture of the class for me, since I was busy.....i never realized I look so much like an opera singer when I

and I make funny faces.....I think Linda caught them all too!

Class rolled along and I stuck to my schedule, which had time frames, and what had to be done within them, all mapped out.  It worked wonderfully!

I think my students enjoyed their time and learned a lot as well.  They seemed happy, and everyone got to go home with a piece of jewelry they made.  I think that is important in a class.  Not just to learn a technique, but to go home and be able to wear something you made!  

Student work

  I was very proud of my students, because we had to really hustle to get it all done, and they dug right in and did it!  I think many of them were pushed out of their comfort zone and they just went with it!  We had mistakes, which were great opportunities to show that you can work them with mistakes, and sometimes fix them, and sometimes go with them.  

For me, I enjoyed seeing them each put their own spin on their pieces.  The variety of sizes, and textures and shapes was great.  Although they are all similar necklaces, when you look close, no two are alike.  

So overall I loved it.  I thoroughly enjoyed teaching.  (did you know I actually majored in secondary education for a time in college??)  I plan to teach more in the future, and may even do this same class again in the spring at Beadfest, as well as adding another.  So if you didn't get to come, you may have another chance to do so!

Thanks for the ladies who came out and created with me, and thanks to the women who supported and helped me with my class!


Divya N said...

wow Staci, to make people create such beautiful designs in 4 hours is incredible. I am amazed by how you managed to do clay work, wire work, beading all in that time span. Kudos to you

From an Open Heart said...

I was nervous for you just reading this blog. I have been a student in those classes and they demanding on both student and teacher. Awesome job!!!

Anonymous said...

We had so much fun, didn't we? I was very impressed with the schedule you had set up. It really kept us on track, so your students had a rocking cool necklace to wear at the end of class. Keep teaching. You were awesome!

TesoriTrovati said...

I think that great teachers have to have a passion for their subject matter, a willingness to let go of their creative direction to focus on the learning that is happening for the students, and a giving heart. You have all of that and more. I am hoping to start doing some teaching (I was a secondary education/English major!) and your tip about planning it all out with a time frame is a great idea. Would love to take a class from lovely you one day! Enjoy the day. Erin

Andrea said...

AMAZING!!! I wish you could do something like this in the Seattle area. :D I would take your class. :D

Kari Asbury said...

Looks like you all had a great time and wonderful student pieces created! I so hope I get to take a class from you one day soon! :)

Shelley Graham Turner said...

I so enjoy watching you on your journey. If anyone deserves success, it's you!
~ Shelley

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