I do not enjoy spending time with children – horror upon horror, I’ve confessed to another of my character flaws. Seriously – I don’t do children very well. I’m not really an ogre, I just prefer to use my motherly instincts on cats and dogs and other animals. While I am in a mood to confess, I might as well also say I am not a very good teacher. I’m impatient and I have a hard time putting into words what is in my head. I get frustrated when I am explaining how to do something and the person doesn’t get it immediately. Some people find that a challenge to rise to, not me.
About six months ago, after several people had approached me about taking classes here at the studio, I mentioned to Charles I was actually playing with the idea of hosting some classes. He had a look of panic come over him – he has been the victim of my teaching and I don’t think he thought I would actually try such an undertaking, or that it was a very good idea.
So, isn’t it ironic that one of the most rewarding things I have accomplished this year, both personally and professionally was the teaching of some of my glass working knowledge to some young people.
I had the opportunity recently to spend an evening helping the children of our friends, Ned and Karen, learn how to make fused glass items for Christmas gifts. Karen is working hard to teach her step-children the reward of making gifts from the heart. I really respect her decision to teach these values. Throwing ideas around, about what she was going to come up with this year, before I even realized what I had said, I offered to have them come out to the studio and learn how to make some glass crafts. What was I thinking?
After talking with the kids, it was decided I would help them each make a couple of ornaments and a pair of earrings for their gifts. This would teach them how to cut glass with a hand-held glass cutter and a power-driven, water-cooled glass saw.
Teaching them how to use the power tools – rocks!
McKenzie cuts out an ornament.
The ornaments on the work table before firing in the kiln.
What a wonderful evening. It was special because these people mean so much to me and because I learned just as much that evening as they did. I learned how to behave myself and not speak with a forked tongue. I didn’t throw anything, including a fit. It also forced me to think through what I do automatically. Working with the glass has become second nature for me, but putting it into words and instruction that mean something to someone else is a discipline that I accomplished. As they say – it was a win, win situation and I was rewarded in so many ways. Charles said he was really impressed with how well I behaved.
Also, I’m back to revisiting the idea of hosting some classes out here. If I have enough interest, I think I’ll host some small sessions and teach some basic skills. However, I know my limits and this will be an adult only thing, for the time being. Perhaps if all goes well, at some point I’ll include younger people – if I can continue to behave myself!
Until next time,