The Student Becomes the Teacher and a New Reason to Love Knitting
An Update in My Creativity Challenge, and a New Experience in Teaching
Hello Fellow Readers and Creatives,
It’s been a while since the last creative update, but there’s been much going on in the pursuit of creativity behind the scenes that I’d like to share with you today. One particularly rewarding project I’ve been working on is knitting a blanket out of thick, plush blanket yarn that once more has got me busily working away on the progress I started last year with the hopes of getting it done for at least one Winter, if not this one. It’s also a wonderful indoor activity to curl-up with by the fireplace and one I have loved sharing with others simply because once you learn how to knit its’ benefits become clear, one of which is it’s great for working through stress or anxiety. In fact, it is for this reason I have found the inspiration to start teaching knitting, and pass along how enjoyably meditative it can become… once you understand how to do it of course.
Becoming a Good Teacher:
To start off, I’ll say that teaching is a new experience for me, and therefore I’ve been learning along the way too. Only instead of learning about how to hold the needles, create a stitch or cast- skills I already know how to do- it’s learning how to teach knitting to someone whose never knit before. So, the process begins at the very beginning and practicing our way through step-by-step repetitiously, just as you eventually do with each knit stitch and finding the right words to explain the purpose of each movement. This sounds easy enough to do, but what most who have never taught before might not realize is that just as learning a skill takes practice and patience, so does teaching it. It is something I’ve realized the two experiences have in common, if only it had occurred to me sooner during the first lesson. As they say hindsight is 2020, and at the time I was just a little impatient for us to be knitting together and watching our favourite show while doing so.
- Eventually during our first day of learning together, we were able to figure out a way to cast on knitting that worked for him. Something I didn’t learn until later on, and which I am proud of him for figuring out earlier.*
If at first you don’t succeed in step 2… try again (patiently this time):
Every first experience is a learning curve and when it comes to my first experiences I also make it my mission to learn from these experiences, improve on them and better myself in whatever I am doing. This process is part of a lifetime of learning that’s helped me adapt to different situations or better fulfill a role, which in this case is teaching. So, to prepare for the second experience of teaching this is exactly what I did and begin reflecting on the experience, journaling about it, desperately trying to figure out what I can do better the next time. At which point, only one thing rang true and that’s the best approach to teaching isn’t changing the method, which can make learning a new skill even more intimidating and overwhelming, but sticking with one method and using patience and persistence to help your student learn. So, to prepare for the second day of learning I used this as my approach, going in with the understanding it will take some good practice and patience for us to get it and drew upon the inspiration from my Grandma. A natural born teacher, all around patient person, she always found a way to be patient and encouraging when it came to learning, even with her own experiences. She also never gave up, and I can remember fondly her words of encouragement when I was first learning, “Don’t get discouraged. Even if you do, don’t give up. You’ll eventually get it.” Those words have stuck with me since, and as I attempted teaching this time I could almost sense her presence there reminding me to be patient, guiding us along as I taught with patience and he just as patiently learned the knit stitch. This fresh perspective is what I believe allowed us to work through the process of creating that stitch together, and in doing so were were able to master the lesson with much thanks to the inspiration Grandma has continued to bestow on me.
So future teachers- of any sort- Stay patient, curious and creative, but most importantly Stay You-nique!
P.S. If you would like to learn more about my first experience knitting, you can check out these blogposts from Creativity at Play blog: My Mulligan Scarf- Creativity at Play A look into what I’ve been up to!