Thursday, January 13, 2005

Is it a virtue?

Or just a good defense mechanism? Patience, that is. Probably the single most frequently uttered comment about my teaching. I hear it from students, talking to one another, or directly to me. And Ann Mary stresses it a lot when she tells people that she has a knitting teacher. It's enough to try my patience. Really!

Of course I'm patient. What good would it do if I weren't? That doesn't mean that I don't sometimes wish they'd just go away and leave me alone. So sometimes I mock it up and it looks like I'm being patient when really I'm just trying to cope.

We had a call mid-afternoon from the Wednesday night teacher that she couldn't make it back from San Diego in time for her class. Ann Mary asked if I could stay and I agreed. How hard could it be?

Pretty hard! I usually teach one-on-one. That's how it's set up. I had five brand new knitters all show up at once. My mind is in a panic and I'm telling myself to just calm down, we'll get through this. Then two more people showed up. They're regular students who know their way around a knitting needle but like to come in just for the social stuff. I'm glad they were there. (Oh, he's so patient!) Then, four more showed up. These we had to turn away as there was no room at the table.

So I had to shift from individual to group teaching, a thing I wasn't prepared for. I did sit with each of the new knitters and got them started. (I cast on for them and showed them how to do the knit stitch.) After everyone had fumbled through a few rows with me roaming around the table, I tried showing everyone at once how to bind off. Not entirely successful but it got them started thinking about it. So I hand held each one until they got it.

Then it was time to learn to cast on. That went a little better, except for the slip knot. Why is that so mystifying to so many? I still had to show each person, up close and personal, how to do the long-tail cast on, but by this time it was easier. They all had more self-confidence with the needles and weren't so afraid of making a mistake.

Anyway. It was exciting and exhausting. I much prefer sitting with each person so I can get a better sense of how they're doing. And helping them see the logic of the knit stitch. That's the newest comment I heard. "He's so logical!" Well, perhaps.

I hope the ones we had to turn away last night were not also turned off.

1 comment:

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