Quilter’s Bill of Rights, Spring, and Excitement!

One of my favorite rites of spring is Mother’s Tea at my son’s school:  we both look forward to it, but for different reasons.  I love seeing my son happy at school and talking with the other students and moms; he loves the brownies, bagels, baklava, and other treats the moms make!

Spring also brings busy publishing and teaching schedules for me and other talented quilt designers, authors, and entrepreneurs.  Tuesday, March 22, I’ll be kicking off Kay Mackenzie’s new blog tour for her book Inspired by Tradition:  50 Applique Blocks in 5 Sizes.  Mark your calendars and and don’t miss a moment, because you’ll be seeing inspiration and prizes galore, even if you thought you’d never applique.

On the teaching front, I’ve just returned from a two weeks of workshops and lectures, and my experiences couldn’t have been more diverse:  I taught three workshops at a guild that was delightful and welcoming, and I gave a lecture to another guild that was less so.  During each, I heard from students about their own experiences, both good and bad, with quilting teachers.

I also had my most challenging workshop ever:  I taught machine quilting to a group of about 12 ladies, three of whom were long-arm quilters and quite advanced, another student had a physical disability that made it challenging for her simply to do the basics, three students didn’t have the right feet for their sewing machines, and two more had new sewing machines they were unfamiliar with.  The result?  We had a delightful time and everyone was thrilled with what they learned.  How did I do that with all of those challenges?  Great students and a great teacher.

A few days later I gave a lecture to a guild that was unwelcoming, distant, and extremely unorganized.  Teachers and students deserve a good experience when they attend a workshop or a lecture, so here is my bill of rights for both:

Quilting Student Bill of Rights

As a quilting student, you have the right to expect a teacher who:

  • Arrives prepared with the appropriate supplies, is organized, and friendly
  • Can teach her method in more than one way, taking into consideration students have differing levels of physical abilities, different machines, and different goals.
  • Evaluates the progress of each student in the class and offering supportive encouragement and advice
  • Does not sit alone at the front of the class working on his or her own project during class time
  • Can explain a method in alternate ways if students have difficulty understanding a concept.  Teachers should never offer the “my way or the highway” approach.

Quilting Teacher Bill of Rights

As a quilting teacher, you have the right to expect a guild that:

  • Is organized, prepared for your arrival, and has payment ready for you before you leave
  • Offers safe, clean, and appropriate accommodations, either in a member’s home or a hotel.  If a teacher has a long drive ahead, offer accommodations after a long workshop day or if you meet in the evening.
  • Is welcoming, offering teachers a place to sit during the meeting, a hostess to meet and greet them and provide for their needs during the workshop or lecture.
  • Supports the teacher by purchasing books, patterns, or other quilting supplies provided, rather than asking “is it available online?  How long would it take to get it?”  Teachers go to great lengths to provide supplies to your class; don’t insult them by asking where you can get it for less.
  • Provide contact information, a cell phone number, street address for your meeting location, time, and date.  You’d be surprised how often I have to ask for these.

What else would you include as a teacher, student, or both, in your own Bill of Rights?  Let me hear from you!

1,410 thoughts on “Quilter’s Bill of Rights, Spring, and Excitement!

  1. Ferret

    They sound very fair to me. The last item used to be a huge problem for me but now I won’t take a booking without it. Some groups find that unreasonable, but it saves me hours of research trying to find out where they meet so I can live with being seen as unhelpful in that respect. I’ve also bought a motorhome to reduce the problems with finding a place to stay.

  2. Susan

    As both a teacher and a guild member, I appreciate your comments. Be sure that I will keep them at hand each time I have a class — either as a student or as the presenter. Hope all you classes are closer to the best kind, rather than “not so much”!

  3. Kate

    The first guild I belonged to had a great policy: Presenters & teachers were first on the agenda at any meeting. I think this showed great respect for the guests and allowed the presenter to slip away before the guild meeting. (We had refreshments between the lecture and the rest of the meeting, with time for book signing, selling, and saying hello.)

    Since then I’ve belonged to two guilds that conduct guild business before starting the presentation. One guild, which had over 200 members, had all the committee reports and show-&-tell first, taking up to an hour! I think it’s rude to ask a guest lecturer to be the last item. Most announcements at guild meetings are repeats of newsletter announcements. If the lecturer wants to stay to the end of the meeting, that’s great. But if she has a long drive ahead of her, why not make it an earlier drive rather than a later one?

    So my addition to the Teacher’s Bill of Rights would be that the teacher has the right to expect a timely start to her presentation, with guild business conducted after her program.

    Another one I’d add is that the teacher has the right to expect appropriate working equipment when supplied by the guild. (Nothing like a broken or inaccessible sink to ruin a dying workshop!)

  4. orkaloca

    Hi ^_^ I really appreciate your chart of rights. I’d like to add my rights:

    I think that a student has the right of:
    – to know what she’s going to have at the end of the workshop (a finished project? a top? a block? Just a sample?)
    – to know in good advance (not 2 days) the supply list.
    – to have the correct amount of fabric listed in the supply list (once I took a workshop, the supply list asked for 9mt of fabric in 18 colours, we used less then a fat quarter to do a sample. This is unacceptable when you pay quilting fabric 18€ for 1mt)

    A teacher has the right of:
    – have students come in time, not late, and go away when it’s time, not stay for one or two hours more if they have paid for a 2hours lesson.
    – have students not friends (too often I’ve students that after 3 or 4 lessons think that they are my friends and tent to forget the professional relation)
    – have students that follow the instructions and the workshop path, without personal improvisation that could distract other students.

  5. Jessica

    Sounds fair to me. One thing that I’ve found very uncomfortable is when a guild expects the teacher to stay at a guild member’s home rather being willing to accept a modest hotel as part of the travel costs to have a teacher come in, or in some cases being asked if the teaching rate could be reduced if they find a member that is willing to host the teacher at their home.

    I don’t think that a teacher should be expected to share an overnight with a guild or group member. Personally, I am spent at the end of a day of teaching and even if we spend time with the group for dinner or later hours, I still want a place where I can feel comfortable in my jammies & don’t have to think about what I look like or if I am super pleasant, the minute I wake up.

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