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Thread: Teacher vs Quilt Police

  1. #1
    Senior Member Cagey's Avatar
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    Teacher vs Quilt Police

    I've been working with an instructor to "hone my skills". I'm probably being too sensitive but seems like she is turning into the quilt police. Every little oops she is sure to point out and only criticizes and is not very encouraging.
    I'm not a newbie to quilting and appreciate constructive advise. What do you think?

  2. #2
    Super Member ptquilts's Avatar
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    To me the quilt police is like, my way or the highway. Is she like that? Is she criticizing poor workmanship, or just something that she thought you should have done differently?
    If she is not an encouraging person, and you need that positive feedback, it sounds like maybe you two are not a good fit.

  3. #3
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    everyone does things differently. Even teachers must realize that. I would think she is just trying to teach you the "right" way, as she sees it. Just learn what you can and go onto doing your own thing. have fun.

  4. #4
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    She sounds like she is too critical to me. Is she offering positive feed back on the parts that look great before pointing out the boo boo's? If not, I think you need to find someone else. I have yet to make a "perfect"quilt and I've been quilting a long time.

  5. #5
    Super Member MaryMo's Avatar
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    Can you take a time-out on lessons or her teachings? It might be good to take a step back. Hope for the best for you.
    Make it a scrappy happy day!

  6. #6
    Super Member crafty pat's Avatar
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    I love to quilt for my own pleasure, not to stress myself out trying to be perfect. I would ask her if all she see's in my quilting is things I had done wrong or if there are anything positive about my quilting. Then I would say, one needs to hear positive as well as having one's mistakes pointed out. It will discourage some to the point of quitting something they had wanted to do. If she does not understand that you need to find someone with better teaching skills.

  7. #7
    Super Member alwayslearning's Avatar
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    I started out taking a beginner's quilt class from the manager of a quilt store. I could not keep up and the further I got behind the worse she was. Classmates helped me and then I found a quilting group in our neighborhood who changed everything for me. You are paying for the class to learn, not to be criticised. Maybe a quiet conversation would help? Good luck.
    "Only those who know enough is enough can ever have enough." Lao Tzu

  8. #8
    Super Member wraez's Avatar
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    Are you learning anything from her? Is it worth your time and hurt feelings? Maybe tell her that you would also like some positive feedback cuz her negative feedback is NOT helping you to love this passion for quilting? Maybe she doesn't realize how she is coming across as the quilt police, cuz she loves quilting AND perfection. ??

    Maybe she just isn't your kind of instructor. Does she seem like someone who you would like as a friend? I ask cuz usually people we 'connect with' make good friends and good teachers. If you don't like her, go somewhere else.
    Warm quilt hugs, Sue in CA
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  9. #9
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    Had the police on me a few times. Stopped showing them things or learning from them when my valuable time was spent thinking about it too much. Would even wake up during the night and think about what someone pointed out was 'wrong in their eyes'. Decided when I thought about it and had the need to talk about it to more than one very good friend, then that is when I stopped being taught and showing to those people. One still remains a very good friend, I just choose what to show her.

  10. #10
    Super Member seamstome's Avatar
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    Well I am going to take the opposite approach. Do you want to have your feelings coddled or do you want to hone your skills? If you have asked her to help you hone your skills, that is her job. If you want somebody to tell you it's okay when it really isnt, then that's a friend's role.

  11. #11
    Super Member Greenheron's Avatar
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    I had a DM like that. She wanted us to learn the right way to do things but pointing out errors without any positive feedback has a demoralizing effect. I KNOW she didn't do it to hurt but it did. People treated this way loose confidence and may quit trying. Don't let this happen to you--if she doesn't change you must go to someone else.

  12. #12
    Community Manager PatriceJ's Avatar
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    We are hearing only one perspective here. It's quite likely the teacher would be very surprised by the description of events. Whether she's a sweetie-pie or a sweat-shop slave driver, she might be totally unaware of how you perceive and receive her delivery.

    there are too many unanswered (and unanswerable) questions for any of us to give you any reliable feedback. for instance ...
    is she actually mean or are you actually insecure and overly sensitive?
    is she merely straightforward in order to not waste the time you are paying for?
    do you want to be spoonfed and coddled vs taught?
    or is she, in fact, an imperious dragon who chose the wrong profession?

    we can't know.

    have a calm, factual, heart-to-heart discussion with her.
    provide clear, accurate examples of the things that bother you.
    give her a fair chance to meet you on common, satisfying ground.

  13. #13
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    I've caught myself saying that I want "constructive criticism" but when someone criticised me constructively it was a different story. Since the things she is pointing out apparently ARE things you are doing incorrectly (or could be doing better) then you are really getting what you asked for. I'd say just talk to her. She is possibly focusing only on the things she sees that need improving because she thinks that's what you want to hear.
    Martina
    Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Fabric!

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    Super Member abdconsultant's Avatar
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    Separate the technical from the artistic. Use her for technical only. Remind her if you need to! Same as going to the doctor give me the facts only!
    Just passing through!

  15. #15
    Senior Member Sewflower's Avatar
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    It's always good to learn new things, but with that said some people are a little to critical to teach leading to frustration on both parties. All I know if there was only one way to do quilting we all wouldn't have the collection of quilting books, magazines, and articles.
    Sewflower

  16. #16
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    My 4th grade teacher was the best teacher I had all through my school years. She criticized with love. Like others said...she pointed out things I did well. And she would always give you a hug (which of course now teachers are not allowed to do) All of the teachers before her were really great too. Then I got to 5th grade and everything changed. She pretty much said she didn't have time to waste on kids that weren't getting all A's. I told my parents and my mother met with her. She told my mother pretty much the same thing and said I wasn't even trying. Honestly, I WAS trying. Anyway...my mother told her that she and my dad did NOT expect me to be an all A student. And she also asked her why she couldn't take some time before or after school to help kids that needed some help. My weakness was science and for a whole marking period we had a man teacher come into our class to teach us the solar system and space....he even had a small TV each week to show us stuff. I got all 100% on his tests. Different style of teaching and I grasped the material.

    Sorry I can't say anything about sewing or quilting classes...but I've never taken any type of class except the lesson on using my new Janome 7700.

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    Quote Originally Posted by seamstome View Post
    Well I am going to take the opposite approach. Do you want to have your feelings coddled or do you want to hone your skills? If you have asked her to help you hone your skills, that is her job. If you want somebody to tell you it's okay when it really isnt, then that's a friend's role.
    my thoughts exactly...if you hired her to help you hone your skills, the learning to be extremely precise and detail oriented is what you will be learn....this is not kindygarten cut and paste...this is a life time skill ...if you want it to be!

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    I'm a horseperson...i ride competitively. as such, i work with a trainer. In my past, i rode competitive dressag and worked with a three time olympian. And here is the thing.....buck it up, learn from her, and take it as a compliment. she is teaching you--and as your skills progress, she IS going to get pickier and pickier--BECAUSE your skills are improving. she's pushing you to do your best.

    now, having said that, if you aren't enjoying it, you're allowed to stop the ride and get off . I switched from dressage to western riding, because i enjoy the family atmosphere that this type of showing brings, and that dressage did not. It's not easier (heck, in a lot of ways, it's harder), but having way more fun. and oh yeah, i've brought those skills over to this sport.

  19. #19
    Super Member Ruby the Quilter's Avatar
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    It's a fine line between being the quilt police and giving constructive advice. You might just talk to her and explain how you are feeling.
    Quilting in the Desert

  20. #20
    Super Member JanTx's Avatar
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    I teach school and have a piano studio for my "second shift" job. It's a very fine line between stroking the good and pointing out the bad. With my younger students I use this approach: this is what you did best, here's the place you can be proudest of, your playing will sound more "grown-up" when you are able to add this..... With my older ones I use this: tell me what you are most proud of ... now, I get paid to move you past that here's how to add some "wow" to your playing.

    I agree with everyone. You want to move on to more "Grown-up" skills, but you need recognition for what you do well. Only you can determine how much of each of those you need to happily move ahead. Share with your teacher (but I'll be surprised if she "gets it" - in my experience once a teacher has a set style it's hard to change.), finish the course in whatever manner you can stand, then find someone whose style matches yours more comfortably.
    So many quilts, so little time.

  21. #21
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    I have to agree with Patrice. Does the instructor know what your expectations/goals are?

    I have sewed for many years. I sewed competitively in 4-H. In my adult life I had to decide whether I was going to enjoy the process or drive myself crazy. I decided that I want my quilts to be used...not to be for show or judged. That being said, I like my blocks to go together easy, I don't like to unsew and my seams be 1/4". I like to learn new techniques to improve the construction of my blocks.

    Keep an open mind and realize that this is a learning experience.

  22. #22
    QM
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    There are lots of gentle, informative people out there. If you are uncomfortable with this instructor, look for another. For example, if you post your questions here, you are almost certain to get positive, helpful advice. Many of us, including myself, came to quilting for the pleasure it gives, but without a strong desire to become a great quilt artist. We don't need someone telling us how imperfect we are, rather, it helps to hear what we did well and have our questions answered. I might not be the quilter I am today if I had not had such a teacher.

  23. #23
    Super Member Annaquilts's Avatar
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    If you are not enjoying it and it doesn't seem worth it just quit it. I do quilting for fun and what you are going through doesn't seem like fun.
    Anna Quilts

  24. #24
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cagey View Post
    I've been working with an instructor to "hone my skills". I'm probably being too sensitive but seems like she is turning into the quilt police. Every little oops she is sure to point out and only criticizes and is not very encouraging.
    I'm not a newbie to quilting and appreciate constructive advise. What do you think?
    I guess it depends on what you want out of it. Pointing out every little oops is what improves your skills. Ego stroking doesn't do a thing for your skills.

  25. #25
    Power Poster earthwalker's Avatar
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    I am so far self-taught....I have been thinking of getting some tuition on a long-arm setup....as I have an idea I might like one some day. If I am going to pay someone my hard-earned dollar to teach me....I want them to have me jumping through hoops from the get go. I don't need them to be my friend, or tread softly, I want to learn properly and have a good grounding and skill base to draw from before making a big investment. Some of my best teachers have been the hardest task-masters.

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