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!

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