Becoming a Crochet Teacher

Monday, January 13, 2014

Teaching crochet seems like a natural fit for many as a way to share their love of crochet. Some even find a way to make it a career option.  There are many different settings, styles, avenues and ways to teach crochet; one on one, informal, or structured; at some ones home, local guild, library, local yarn store, box stores, or trade show/conference; project based or technique based; and hybrids of each of these, as well as many more. 

So what does it take to teach? Basic understanding of the skill is a basic necessity, as well as being able to explain the same concept a couple of different ways. Having the ability to communicate well and interact with people can be a definite asset, as well as being flexible. Understanding how different people learn is an added plus. One of the traits that the most successful teachers share is excitement about what they are teaching. Teaching something that you enjoy is contagious and increases your students desire to learn.
The more structured a teaching setting becomes the more a teacher has to prepare for a class.  For one-on-one explanation it is more student driven and the teacher modifies the lessons to the desires and abilities of the student, the student usually shares what they want to learn next and what areas they wish to focus on. While teaching informal setting you may just be giving group instructions on one simple technique, you may not have a lot of props, examples, or any hand outs, but as it becomes more structured this changes. 

Many hours are spent before even entering the classroom, making up a lesson plan, having material available for students that may excel quickly in the class to keep them engaged, as well as ensuring that the material can be covered in the length of time given for instruction. Hand outs are created, questions are anticipated, samples are made, and rehearsals of the class presentation are done. The time spent actually teaching a student is only part of the job.

Compensation as a teacher also varies greatly, by geographic area, by material, by subject, and by setting. Some are paid by the number of students, some by the hour, others a flat rate, and still some a combination of these. Check around to see what is reasonable in your area, if the compensation feels to low for you; you may not want to proceed. If you feel taken advantage of it will reflect in your teaching and thus may hurt future opportunities. If you are setting your own pricing, remember that you have value and what you are teaching has value. Offering a class for free, sometimes tells people it has no value, but charge a few dollars and they think it is a great deal.

Do not forget to advertise yourself. Even if you are teaching at a venue, you will be expected to advertise the event and your class. There are many ways to accomplish this and it also varies by the location and venue. You might have to get a little creative, or use the standard tools in social media, but it is part of being a teacher; you need to engage with students even before they enter your classroom.

There are varying degrees to which these teaching opportunities occur, and every teacher is different, as well as peoples teaching style. If you would like to investigate teaching crochet further, the Craft Yarn Council offers a teaching certification course, and the CrochetGuild of America offers mentoring for those that are Associate Professionals.


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