Beadwork teachers, I need your input!

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Nemeton wrote
on May 29, 2009 1:44 AM

 I love teaching! But definitely don't have such a big class if you can avoid it - six people is plenty for a beginner class, certainly no more than ten - each participant will want to feel that s/he has had some one-to-one input from you and it's inevitable they will all learn at different speeds and in different ways.

I do handouts with each step photographed, as some people learn more easily from a photo than from written instructions. Always make the piece several times and if possible get someone to test the handouts for you, so you know in advance where the tricky spots are and can help your pupils over them!

A tip I picked up from a Laura McCabe class is to do little demonstrations as the class goes along - split the participants into two groups if the class is large, to ensure everyone can see - then let them watch you work through a particular stage and talk them through it as you go.

Be well prepared, be positive, be very very VERY patient, make sure you get to talk to each participant individually, and have fun!



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brightcircle wrote
on May 29, 2009 11:18 AM

This is good advice! I'll do what i can to follow them.

Handmade jewelry, beaded beads and more available at my NEW location,

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sparkleme wrote
on May 29, 2009 2:14 PM

Hello brightcircle!

There have been many great replies to your questions already, so I'll keep this short and try to avoid redundancy. I must agree with the importance of clear, written directions for students to take with them, including pictures of diagrams to assist in their creation and re-creation of the project.

Class size is important, also. Both the skill of the class members and the experience of the teacher play into this. A teacher who is not experienced in teaching definitely needs to start with a smaller class. This will assist in the growth of both the teacher and the students!

Be aware that everyone learns in a different way and be prepared for that. Watch and listen to your individual class member's question(s) to help you determine what their style may be. This will save you time in explaining what they need and also eliminate frustration on their part by directing them in a way that makes sense to them.

One thing that hasn't been mentioned yet is the vocabulary that you use. If you are working with beginners, be aware that you may be using terms that they aren't familiar with, making your directions difficult for them to understand. Just as in any specialized field, we have our own set of terms that we become comfortable with that may not make any sense to others!

I've been teaching my entire adult life, school-age students with disabilities of many different kinds and adults in both academic and bead-related classes (at local bead stores and national shows.) Teaching is great fun when you are prepared and can be extremely challenging if you aren't prepared!

If you are in Portland at BeadFest, stop in and see me. I'll be teaching wire knitting with Soft Flex in one class (Tagua Star Knit) and beadweaving in another (Falling Leaves Pendant) on Thursday, September 24th.

Sharon Hessoun

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Info@27 wrote
on Jun 1, 2009 7:17 PM


Hi, I do teach regularly and I would say that clearly illustrated instructions are very necessary because while you are helping one student the others can refer to their instructions until you can help them. You cannot possibly sit with one student through every stitch and some would like that sort of help. I will help with several rounds of the stitch and then I leave them to work on it themselves and practice. Also, you should have prerequisites if they are basic stitches you expect them to know for the workshop because you don't want to be teaching the basics if it is a more advanced class. If it is a fundamentals (basics) class then keep the piece the one stitch you are teaching so they get lots of repetition.

I do my instructions in Adobe Creative Suite 4 (CS4) - Illustrator is great for the illustrations, InDesign is great for the page layout and Photoshop will do whatever you need to place a photo in the pattern you provide to students.

I usually teach the entire time and break only for lunch if it is a 6 hour class. I have found that the students need me the entire time.  I review the work of each student the entire day. I usually walk in a circle around the classroom checking each person's work and the students know I'm coming back after I finished the round. I keep doing these rounds until the workshop is complete and they usually need all the time in the workshop. Wear good comfortable shoes that you can stand in for awhile. I do sit if there is space available to sit next to the student.

I hope this is helpful and that you have great success teaching!;o) Melanie Potter


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brightcircle wrote
on Jun 9, 2009 12:01 PM

Thanks Melanie! The walking-in-circle tip is especially good.

Handmade jewelry, beaded beads and more available at my NEW location,

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Gyspy Mary wrote
on Jan 19, 2013 11:37 PM

I love this thread. Thanks for asking the questions(way back when) I often type questions in the search at the top of the page here. I always learn from the reply's to your orignial questions.

I am designing my own patterns, but writing the instruction, This is a great help.

ps. wonder are you teaching "bead weaving stitches". ??

Gyspy Mary

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and Take with out Forgetting

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ottercat wrote
on Jan 20, 2013 12:10 AM

Gyspy Mary:  thanks for bringing this thread up.  Lots of good information (for others, too).

Ottercat Coffee

01-19-13 (2209 PST)

Be yourself.  Everyone else is already taken.  ~ Oscar Wilde

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MigotoChou wrote
on Apr 2, 2013 2:03 PM

I am so excited to find this thread!


My husband and I just moved to Texas, and I have been trying to find a fun job.  I have been looking into teaching jewelry making classes.  I did work at a bead shop in Reno, and taught classes there, but didn't really know how to go about it on my own. Scheduling and payments and such...


I love the information I am getting here!  I can't wait to go back and finish reading everything!


I have looked into teaching at Michael's, and they actually have courses you can take to help you with the actual teaching aspect of running a class.  That may be something you could look into as well.



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