Skip to main content

How to Teach a Craft Class

Lesson 20 of 29

The Importance of a Strong Class


How to Teach a Craft Class

Lesson 20 of 29

The Importance of a Strong Class


Lesson Info

The Importance of a Strong Class

We're going to talk now about the class introduction because it's all I mean this is all really the same thing but but so after your students introduced themselves then it's your turn right so it's really important in my opinion to make this part very strong it's kind of like that start strong and strong right? We talked yesterday about making sure you wrap up which we'll talk about a little bit later but it's also really important to start strong okay because it sets the tone for your class okay so when you are introducing yourself in the class there's a few things that I think it's really important to include okay um it's going to set the tone you're going it's going to make for much much more successful class so make sure you include a little bit about yourself and why you are the one to be teaching this class so this is this is your chance tino show off a little bit about why you are teaching and if you are a new teacher right there was a question yesterday about should I say this ...

is my first time teaching and I was thinking a lot about that actually last night and I definitely think it's a good idea to offer that information but you also want to make sure that despite it being your first time teaching they know why you are still super qualified to teach this class right so you're not like saying this is my first time teaching and it's also my first time painting so let's go ahead and do a painting class so which you know might be kind of a fun class too but remind reminding ourselves that they're giving us money to do this right? So you know, you want to make sure that they're getting the best experience that they can um show them samples of what they can accomplish okay, now this is the the intimidation factor is a little big here too because I know in quilting it takes a lot of practice and sewing as well and no christine mentioned this yesterday it takes a lot of practice to be good at something and so you're showing them samples of what they can accomplish they might not accomplish that in that class because it might be their first time trying it but they will be able to accomplish that with more practice ok and it's fun to see what you can accomplish if you put your you know if you dedicate the hours okay? And I always like to think of the word powerful humility right? Because you want to be humble but you kind of want to show off a little but you don't want to be like super boastful ok don't downplay how good you are and how awesome your stuff is don't downplay it or don't don't offer a disclaimer okay we used to say at my old school no disclaimers right? You'd be surprised how your students will say you'll go over and say oh this is so beautiful what your work and be like well I don't know so the automatically start with a disclaimer okay so I always like to say no disclaimers so don't do that yourself either you know don't say well this one uh no you are the teacher you are awesome don't downplay it okay and then this is super super duper super duper super duper important no matter what age group you're teaching you need to set some basic rules and expectations ok the first one that I like to talk about is how to ask questions so there can be a sense I don't know and I'm sure those of you who have taught classes and in our audience and online I know that there are a lot of questions that get asked during a drafting class okay and you want as a teacher you wanna and answer all of them to the best of your ability but sometimes you can't answer them all during the demo or all during your introduction, right? So you want to make sure it's clear if I can't answer your question right now I'm going to come back to you when when we're having work time or even if it's work time and this person has had a lot of questions you say in your introduction and if I for some reason I can't answer that question during work time I will make sure to answer you attend of class and make sure you come and you stick around ok set clear expectations that you want to answer all of their questions you just might not get to do it right in the moment that they have the question ok? And then you want us to explain what the lesson objective is, ok, which is something I mentioned yesterday around having it up on the wall if you can or least making it explicit in your introduction, right? So today we're going to experience these different pathways of such a co embroidery and we're going teo, you know, experience the different textures created by these pathways and these different colors and, you know, whatever your objective wass ok, make sure you explain it if not have it up ok and it's going to help you to and then it's kind of like this subliminal thing where the the class can see it during the classic oh yeah, we're kind of doing what we're supposed to be doing this is great, okay it's a little thing, but it makes it it makes a difference in creating this whole class sort of unit kind and then rules for demos we're going to talk about demos slightly later but the number one rule for demo what do you think that the number one rule for a demo is? Don't talk during the demo, please don't talk during a demo and what what does anybody want to like? Hazard a guess are maybe they've done this? What do you say? Like what's? A nice way of saying that, holly, you might explain how you're going to in the demo. I'm goingto show this demo I'm going to show it. I'm gonna do it one more time and then you can have a question. I'll repeat this. I'll repeat this that's great. I don't know. Yeah. Oh, kathy alive. There's been times when, like, a lot of women come together and they'll get a little chatty while you're oh, yeah, like maybe they know what I'm going to show, right? And I have I've called them out in a fun way. Just the thing, ladies, is there something you want to share with the class? You know? And they get the point. Yeah, that it's distracting from everyone. Else's? Yeah. That's a playful that's, a playful way. It works also with with teenagers, which is also funny if you think about it works ladies and with, you know, anybody who gets a little chatty you know you'd be like is there is there something you want to let us in on your secret which can kind of sound can you can borderline and sounding a little sarcastic and snarky so you can also if you want to cut that out if you don't want to like potentially kind of offend somebody there's a way of there's there's kind of a nice way of phrasing it where you gonna say something you could say something like I don't want you to miss out on anything or your neighbor to miss out on anything so please don't talk to yes that's what that's that's inviting them to be empathetic not only to you but their neighbors so for the sake of everybody and I don't wantto you know all of repeat this demo ahs many times as we need it individually but for this broader demo I want to make sure it goes as quickly as possible so that we can all get toe work so please if you could hold your talking and hold your questions until I'm finished with this demo I would really appreciate it and I know your neighbors would appreciate it too, okay inviting that empathy right um ok and so these air some phrases that I would say to try to include you know this is just phrasing I like to kind of model some phrasing. So this is what we were just saying for the sake of time, please no talking while I'm giving a demo, I'll take questions at the end for example, okay? And this is another good one if you have a longer question right, a longer question if you can wait until work time, I'll come to you pay and you can also say something along the lines of if it's a question that's more specific teo, you hold that for work time and I'll come to you if it's a question that you think applies to everybody um, you go ahead and ask it at the end of the demo um also, when you're working with younger, younger students, they don't actually necessarily may not understand what that means relevant to everybody. So careful with that one when you're working with kids, especially ok, but that's a whole nother home other ball game on dh, then this is a good one to make sure you you point out in your intro, be sure to call me over if you're stuck, make sure they know the minute their stock I mean, you should be able to kind of gauge this right, but make sure they know to call you over make yourself is available as possible, okay, and then this is along the timing and pacing line which will get teo but be sure listen for time warnings because it's going to be your job to keep your students sort of on track in terms of time so you want to make sure that they're listening for your time mornings how we do it we have any any comments or questions dad let's see there a few comments dessum ah ha moments oh great, I'd love to hear them tammy in fort worth, texas said I really enjoyed yesterday's class and that she loves the idea of setting the students in a surf well, she never thought about that before awesome um and todd says, I love the idea of no disclaimers on your work don't point out the flaws or caused out yes don't apologize don't apologize and I'm going to get to that too when we talk about different students but it's pretty it's pretty broad it's pretty rampant in craft classes amount of disclaimers you'll hear so you really wantto kind of be the cheerleader or, you know however you want to you know, however you want to see yourself, but you really want to make sure that you're of what you're you know you're not letting your students use that kind of negative language about themselves instill confidence, fire them to be confident their work exactly exactly awesome thank you, thanks everybody for those comments I think I saw your hand, an introduction, one of the things that I dio also after an adult or the introductions of the students, I said, just to a lay of the land where the exits are, where the bathrooms are, where the coffee is, there's a lot of free share stuff that they can dig through, so point out areas that think that they can use really good. And also, I think, I think I just missed missed out on that on my slide materials, you want to make sure that the material set up is clear to them, right? So if there's a, if there's, you know, a certain box of markers that they can use, or if there's a certain I mean, you probably are going to have that laid out for them. But you want to make sure that it's all clear in the intro, ok, any other questions for you? Move on? Kind of a question or suggested, what do you think of the idea as you're building your authority in the introduction that you clued them into some of the lingo that you're going to be using or included a story about the meaning of a title, like such a cool like, where does that come from? That's a wonderfully yeah that's going to be that's a really good idea take you make sure you take time to kind of personalize the class not only for you but to kind of give them more insight into why this is going to be really interesting and exciting for them to learn yeah that's a really good point okay, so more on demos and I would love to hear comments from people who have who have done their own demos or who have questions about demos ok, so in general you're going to gather your students around around you in a designated space for a demo and I know I mentioned yesterday that some people actually have ah projector like a like for example my my mom when she teaches sewing quilting she has her life literally has a camera in front of her and it's being projected on the screen behind her she's very high tech okay and that's a really cool way in a big class we have over twenty students to show your demo without having your students get up and gather okay, you just want to make sure that the students in the back and hear you ok that's an important thing it's important that your students can hear you, but in general you'll have them come in and gather around you where they can see or wherever you feel like they're getting a good perspective on what your demo ing ok and then we'll assume that our demo etiquette was set in our intro but if you did in that's okay, you can do it in your first demo make sure you you set that etiquette which the number one rule wass was it no talking okay, um would there be any other etiquette for demos? Maybe safety factor video? I don't know what you have your neighbor with your exact all night yeah, be careful about things or I try to avoid everyone having a large tippi you know the cup that's going to tip over yeah, so you see there closed lids yeah, just talk about your space and yeah, and you know what? You don't even necessarily that you can tell them not to bring any of their materials with them when they come up further, you know? So they you know don't bring anything with you there they wantto generally you want them to just be why misunderstood? I thought you meant explaining what's expected that you mean during the during the demo? Yeah, sorry, no that's okay, nobody made me think of that point right? They don't actually need to bring their materials with them all the while their demo ing because that you want to make sure they're watching okay, but in that scenario where you said like when your mom has the projector and snuff, you might say like don't work on your projects right now are something you t yeah try something specific in that moment and that's a dead giveaway to write because you can hear you be able to hear somebody so I mean, you know for that when you're like oh, I can hear you yes, but you'd be surprised people tryto push that boundary you know, because you kind of as a student you kind of get so excited you're like I just want to try it right away you like please wait until the demo is done okay on denies mention this already make sure everyone can see it here you if you're gathered around, make sure that everybody's able to see, you know, sometimes if you have like I've done that a huge demo with like, you know, twenty people and it's like it's a little challenging, okay, I would prefer to have more technology like my mom but it's possible it's possible and then this is a big one too, that I know a lot of my fellow teachers d'oh, which is a repeat demo for smaller groups afterwards. Okay, so you could be like over here, I'm going to show, you know how to sew on the border? I'm like mixing my medium I'm going to show how to, you know, do this calligraphy thing over here if anybody wants a repeat demo and you might get a lot of people so you might say ok, well I'll do another one for you for that this half of the room in five minutes oh so you might actually spend the first time the first you know, ten minutes of the work time doing two more demos which I feel like that's fine and then later on decide whether they needed a repeat because your initial demo wasn't clear enough right? So you could you know, when you're doing your your teacher download later that day be like was that clear? Was my demo clear enough? Why did so many people need a repeat demo? Maybe they just wanted to see it again. Okay, but maybe my first demo wasn't clear enough. Okay? And then this is the one I like to do it's especially especially for younger students. This is this is another teacher trick right schoolteacher trick check for understanding by having somebody repeat back the the step for step ok, especially for younger students and they're kind of used to that adults might not be as used to that but go ahead and do it with adults to be like. So holly what was that last step that we did just so we can all be on the same page and then you see what I mean and it's a really, really effective way of checking that if so, if one student can't repeat it back to you the chances are you know everybody might need another explanation okay, so it's really it's really effective and you know you could be you could be kind of you could you could be you know you could do your like jab when you know the student it wasn't paying attention column this is what we used to do in middle school you know you'd call on your with student, you know wasn't paying attention and they of course would mean like, well, why is it that you can't tell me I was talking okay, so maybe not do that with adult but it's useful for the kid who's not listen who's not paying attention. Any questions about devils or comments? Anything that ad from people's experiences about demos we have anything if you people online who have comments and questions, it is so you says don't forget to remind people to turn their phones off oh my gosh, really good point and alison so says have him wait until you're done with your demo before they start trying their own yeah, huge yeah, that phone comment thank you so much that could be in your intro, you know, especially with adults it's a little bit tricky if you're in an evening class for example like people have responsibilities and obligations that they might need to tend to but you want to make sure that they're at least um you know aware that let's try not to look at our phones or like let's put our phones away like I understand if you need to keep it on for family reason or you know whatever but let's try to be as discreet as possible or less tryingto you know leave our phones aside as much as possible the good expectation does that especially nowadays and that there there is some cases where you actually have the students follow along in demo I know and drawing classes that's the case so that's that's a really good point I'm not as familiar with those types of classes so that's great so it's like happening in real time so just the thought that I might have to consider how to set up a room around yeah how would how would like what would you say the setup would would be for well the sitting in the round or you know around a table that usually doesn't work you do have that traditional set up and where everybody trying tio yeah and are you is the teacher doing like a big demo usually working big and sometimes you're passing around the samples so I guess you know equal case by case yeah that's a really good point and that that class set up sounds really, really really exciting and dynamic too and you're your rules would still apply when they in terms of like talking oh yeah and definitely and weighty maybe you could give cues for went out when you take questions if you're teaching that class and say I'm going to take questions after this step for example so they're not and maybe you're not able to even see their hands because you're kind of mid demo and so you could say, look, I won't be able to see your hand, so if you could just hold your question till I'm you know, at a break point I'd really appreciate it and I think some, you know, in a case like that people are so concentrated they usually don't ask questions yeah, but you get into this other space really do would you find that people this would be chatty amongst themselves and oh no usually think it doesn't promote chatty nous when you're facing yeah and that's that's a really good point, you know, the teacher right, which is which is why in the traditional class set up you do get less talking amongst your students. I found that as a teacher as well thank you for sharing that that that class structure because that's I'm sure there's people out there are people out there who were who would like to use that structure that's really great testa I've been in a similar way where but it's also it's like the long table that you're talking about, the students are still seeing them for a calligraphy class, but the teachers in front of a bored so they are doing one letter and then you're doing a letter, but then there's still the kind of openess yeah, so you're the students are like to kind of turning and facing and depending writer angle, yeah, yeah, yeah, that's I can see that being really and that's kind of what what I was talking about with, like it's, like a work along almost yeah, yeah, yeah, that's a really cool structure to use and again, make sure your expectations about when task questions are clear and what to do if you're stuck, you know, because you don't want somebody to be mid step for calligraphy, stroke and be like, totally lost and you're you're back is to them and they're totally stuck and you said to wait to a certain point to ask questions. You want to make sure that there's like like, ah, like, actually, if you really need something, make sure you you shout out that's what I would, too.

Class Description

Teaching opens you up to a whole new revenue stream and lets you connect with people who are passionate about what you do. Learn how you can use your existing skills at the front of a creative classroom in How to Teach a Craft Class with Ashley Nickels.

Ashley is a life-long quilter and multi-discipline creative educator. In this class, she’ll show you how to prepare to teach a craft class and offer plenty of insights on making it fun for everyone involved. You’ll learn:

  • A variety of teaching styles for the full range of teacher personality types
  • How to plan lessons, set objectives, and manage student expectations 
  • Classroom prep tips that help you feel fully prepared 
  • Techniques for dealing with tricky situations 

Ashley will share insights from her years as an educator and help you feel confident before your first (or next) class. She’ll reveal her favorite classroom management techniques and teach you how to deal with difficult personalities. You’ll learn ways to engage and inspire everyone – from advanced learners to beginning students.

Teaching is not easy, but it can be incredibly rewarding both personally and financially. How to Teach a Craft Class will demystify the magic behind a good craft class and help you make your dreams of educating and inspiring others a reality.


Claude Aimée Villeneuve

This was a very good class, well prepared and packed with such useful information! I've been teaching various arts and craft classes for over 10 years now and did it sort of instinctively. Ashley gave me the tools I needed to refine my classes and prepare really good classes outlines and how to find venues to teach and pitch my classes. That was awesome and I plan to watch it again and again because there is so much in it! This was a first class presentation! Thank you Ashley! Claude Aimée Villeneuve, Visual artist and teacher

a Creativelive Student

I'm not even half way thru the online videos and want to recommend this class to anyone who just needs that extra boost to start their own classes! I like the fact that Ashley suggests that we think from a student perspective to help us to better plan. This class covers many things I have heard before BUT in greater detail. When I hear the 'WHY' of doing things, I'm more likely to follow thru. These videos explain many 'WHYs' (There are many informative sites/classes for this topic but not many people give you 'this is WHY' it should be done this way) Ashley gives the "WHY' and the 'HOW to'. If you want to teach and are mostly ready to teach, take this class and all the gaps will be filled in and you will be ready to go forth and teach your craft!

Barbara Schiffman

Great class -- watched live (most of it) and purchased for ongoing review. I've taught many things, including some crafts (decorating gourds, collage, making your own tarot-collages) but I gained new insights, ideas and confidence from Ashley's advice, the students questions and input, and the panel! I recommend this for anyone who wants to teach a class -- craft oriented, personal development, or anything else!