HOW I DESIGN A CLASS
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Teaching is my bread and butter, and I really, really enjoy doing it. I think it shows! One of the things I hear the most is that I seem really organized, calm, and easygoing when I am teaching a class, and that makes me easy to learn from.
The way I achieve that laid-back feeling is with a lot of prep beforehand! Honestly, the number one thing I can advise anyone looking to teach or demonstrate, in person or via video, is to put in an hour or so beforehand to just get yourself organized and a little scripted.
To teach is to share your expertise, so make sure that you take the time to communicate that expertise clearly and you’ll do great! Here’s how I set up a class or demonstration that I’ve never taught before, from germ of an idea to final presentation. I hope this is helpful to all my future fibery teachers out there!
HERE’S HOW I MAP OUT CREATING A CLASS
- Find your idea to talk about – as straightforward as “Introduction to Spinning” or as specific as “How to Work With Silk Hankies.”
- It needs to be a clear topic to eliminate mental wandering and getting sidetracked.
- More expansive topics can become multi-day or multi-chapter courses,
- Start thinking about what needs to be covered in the class.
- What’s the common questions people ask me?
- What do I wish that I’d known when I first tried whatever I’m now teaching?
- What special tips might I have that I haven’t seen anywhere else?
- What history or details can I present to the class?
- Is there something like different types of fibers or tools that I can explain or demonstrate?
- I try to visualize beforehand how the class will go, how I will order what I am saying and presenting before I get in front of students.
- I write out a general script or outline that I use as a rough guideline, to keep me organized and on track while I am teaching. [I do this for all my video presentations as well.] Writing it all out ahead of time is great for getting my mindset in order, and serves as a mental dry run.
- If I am unsure if my class is fully “gelled” I’ll get a few friends to let me do a test class for them and get their feedback and insight.
- Make a list of all props and tools needed for this class. Make sure to pack them or lay them out in a convenient place for using during the class.
- Take my outline and convert it to class notes to handout to students. Make sure to add any helpful website links and/or a reading list for further study.
- Have business cards, tools and materials for sale after class [if allowed and appropriate] together.
- As I teach some classes over and over, I find that my class notes handout will change and get refined. I keep all my versions of class handouts to refer back to and track my own progress as a teacher.
- Keeping these notes in Google Drive or another easily accessed online app means that if a student needs another copy of the notes, I can easily email them a link.
- Consider making a Facebook group or page where you can invite students to join or follow you for encouraging their progress. It’s a great place to keep connected and find students for future/advanced classes, as well.
- Take photos during your class, if possible! These are invaluable for promoting future classes.
- If you are interested in improving reoccurring classes, it is always a great idea to ask your students near the end of the class how they are feeling about their experience and if there’s anything they have questions about or that they wish you’d covered. Student input is so helpful for refining our teaching!
Preparation is everything. Take your time to research, plan your class out, and be open to student input, and you will have success! Remember to speak slowly and clearly and keep in mind that something always goes wrong during a class and that’s okay. Don’t panic, laugh it off and keep going, and your students will be on your side. That connection with your humanity is why they’re taking a class from you, and not just looking it up on YouTube, right? You’ve got this!
I want to hear all about the classes you are teaching now that you’re inspired to tackle teaching one. Please comment below and tell me all about it!