Becoming a quilt teacher—part 3
A requirements list is handed to the students a couple of weeks beforehand. If you are organising the course, you can post (online or by snail mail) or email it out to students. If a shop or guild is organising the course, give them the notes to distribute well in advance of the date. When teaching for a shop or guild, they may want a copy of all of your handouts so they know what you are going to teach and approve it. If you have supplementary handouts like “What to look for when buying a new machine”, hand that to them as well or post it on your social media page.
Use images of any tools or presser feet they may need to buy or haven’t heard of.
You may have to tweak your notes depending on where and who you are teaching. The room you’ll be teaching in may have poor lighting or tables that are too high for the chairs. In these cases, ask the students to bring a lamp or cushions if required. If students have any eye problems, make sure to include bringing their glasses to class and try using a contrasting thread to the fabric so they can see it. If you are teaching children, are there more child friendly scissors or tools you would recommend they use? If you are teaching a class to older pupils, you may recommend basting their quilt sandwich with spray basting rather than using safety pins if they have any issues with their hands such as arthritis.
The requirements list must include any tasks the students need to carry out before the class. These can be listed as a bullet point list or have a check box next to them for the students to tick off as they go. Tasks may include basting a quilt sandwich, cutting patches out or creating templates.
Check with the venue on whether they like all electrical items including machines to be checked by an electrician and tagged as proof. This may have to be done to comply with their insurance conditions or limit the chance of damage to their property. Include this in the requirements notes if necessary. The venue may also wish to limit the amount of irons in the room so it doesn’t overload the system or use a lot of electricity. They may even supply irons so check on that too.
Students may not know their machine inside and out so if possible, get them to bring their sewing machine manual. If they don’t have a copy, can they download a copy of it from the Internet?
Some modern machines don’t require the use of a foot pedal to operate the machine—instead they have a start/stop button. This isn’t too practical/safe for machine quilting as you have to take your eyes and hand off your work to press the stop button. I ask all students to bring their pedal with them even if they don’t use it. They can adapt the technique to not use the pedal when they’re back at home. If they can’t use a pedal due to injury or disability, that’s a different story.
Try to keep the requirements list short as it can be overwhelming to have a ton of instructions to carry out before students get started.
You’ll need to know if lunch is being served, students have to bring their own or there’s a café/deli nearby. You may even want to take some morning tea along. Let the students know what the situation is on the requirements list.
Finally I add my contact details to the list in case they have any questions.
I found it helpful to write a requirements list for myself so I didn’t forget anything. I update the list if I create a new sample or change how I teach the class. Take along some name tag stickers so everyone knows the names of their class mates. Check if the venue has a black/whiteboard for you to use. You may have to invest in a small easel and board. It can be tricky for some teachers to write upside down on a board whilst holding it. Take chalk or whiteboard markers if required. I also take spare notions and thread (as someone always brings a cheap thread).
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