Teaching is really hard work. I should know — I’ve been doing it for twelve years as a college history professor. Although teaching a knitting class is not nearly the same commitment in terms of time and mental energy, it still requires a great deal of thought and preparation to teach a good class. There may be a class project sample to knit and techniques to learn (or re-learn).
But you also have to think through the whole class through the eyes of different kinds of students. Where is the beginner knitter going to get tripped up? What did I struggle with when I learned how to do this? How can I keep the more advanced knitter engaged? How long will all this really take to teach? Do I want to hurry them along or let them learn at a leisurely pace?
With this in mind, I am gradually developing a set of teaching modules for knitting teachers. These modules are guides that walk a teacher through the whole process of preparing for and teaching a knitting class. I tell the teacher what to prepare, give a detailed lesson plan, provide a pattern that students can knit as a class project, and a handout that students can take home to help them remember what they learned.
Today, I am launching a new project that I am really excited about: I’m designing a series of teaching modules for knitting teachers. Each module gives detailed instructions about how to prepare for and teach a knitting class on a specific technique.
My first release is a module on how to teach stranded knitting. The module is a PDF that includes six pages of detailed instructions about how to prepare for the class, what materials the teacher and students need to bring, a step-by-step schedule of what to do in class, and how to explain and demonstrate different techniques. Also included are a one-page handout to give to students and a two-page pattern for the fingerless mitts pictured above.
I am really excited about this. I have spent a lot of time thinking about what I can contribute to the knitting world, and it suddenly dawned on me not too long ago that — hey — I have a lot of teaching experience. Perhaps I could do something with this besides simply teaching classes myself — which I also love doing.
A few months ago a history department at another small college paid me handsomely as a consultant to develop a Science in World History teaching module. At the time, I was so shocked that anyone would pay that much for my syllabus and teaching notes. (Audra, I know you’re shaking your head right now at my naivete. I’m learning. I’m learning.) But then I realized — well — why not? It took a hell of a lot of work to develop those materials and I do teach an innovative class, if I do say so myself. Maybe that’s a niche for me.
So I thought I’d try it with knitting. And guess what? In the time it has taken me to write this post, I’ve sold two copies of the module. Woot! Chalk one up for the freelancer!