Yesterday I spent several hours working with a couple of new knitters. One of them needed to learn how to do the duplicate stitch so she could add the diagonal lines to her argyle sweater. The other one was just there to pick up some more yarn and begin the shaping on the sweater she's making for her granddaughter. To me, doing the duplicate stitch is obvious and logical. Just find your place and go. Unfortunately that is not the case for all people. After several tries we got the stitch going but not the concept. I hope she comes back today so I can see if she's grasped it yet. The other lady, who is a fine needlepointer, is also going to be a good knitter. She knew something was wrong with her pattern as soon as she began the second row. It turns out she had neglected one row of decreases. These two ladies are close friends to each other. But they're totally different in their ability to grasp new things.
I've been learning web design and am beginning to feel a little more confident in what I am doing. However, I am an absolute beginner. Every new thing I learn and try out is thrilling to me, but very old hat to many other people. But for me it's new and something I didn't know before. And the more I learn of the basics the more the advanced stuff becomes easier to grasp. It's like learning to knit.
My job is to help people get started or to move to a more advanced understanding of knitting. It doesn't help if they're made to feel "less than" someone else. I try to avoid comparing one student to another (even though I did above, but only for illustration purposes). And I try to steer students away from comparing their own progress to someone else's except when they're telling me what they aspire to. I'm fortunate in that I get to see many of my students fairly frequently. So we get to look at where they are now to where they were say six or eight months ago.
The devil gets all the good lines and can be very witty but is still the devil. In my former life I was known for being caustic and sarcastic. I thought I was doing great until I learned that it kept people from coming to me for help. It's still hard to resist the cheap shot and sometimes the remarks just pop out. But I'm learning, albeit the curve is very slow and long.