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Teacher vs Quilt Police

Teacher vs Quilt Police

Old 04-17-2012, 08:21 PM
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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.
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Old 04-17-2012, 08:33 PM
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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.
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Old 04-17-2012, 08:45 PM
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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.
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Old 04-17-2012, 09:26 PM
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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.
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Old 04-17-2012, 09:32 PM
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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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Old 04-17-2012, 09:59 PM
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I think that sometimes teachers think you take a class from them because you want to be as good as they are, so they think it's constructive to point out the mistakes you make. She might think you want her to do that too, because you want it to be as "perfect" as possible, or you want to know when you are making a mistake, even if that mistake doesn't really affect the projects outcome.

If you like her, then listen and then continue merrily on your way. I teach and my motto is that the mistakes we make are what make our projects uniquely our own. And sometimes mistakes turn out better and a new technique is born!
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Old 04-17-2012, 10:54 PM
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just to play devil's advocate......
some instructors do not know how to give positive feedback to go along with the corrections. it is possible that, to her, she is just advising you of corrections that need to be made. unfortunately she is not doing it in the best way and it comes across as bossy and highly critical. of course, i am not there to see, so you need to decide how much you are willing to put up with. if you are getting good tips and help in increasing your skill you may be willing to go along with her. if you are not increasing skill then you may need to look for another teacher. there is a lot to be said about a "good fit" for personalities. i wish you luck.
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Old 04-18-2012, 12:39 AM
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Having taught a few classes in my lifetime, I understand how difficult it is. One beginner class (Turning Twenty) was going really well...or so I thought. Two of them were absolute beginners and were doing amazingly well. I tried not to hover over them and I thought I was an encourager telling them how great they were doing. They were so excited about what they were doing and asked how far they should go before the next class. I gave them the assignment but also told them that they were doing so well that if they felt they wanted to go beyond that, they could. It was a simple pattern and all basics had been covered. With their excitement I did not want to stop them if they wanted to go on and complete all the piecing. Besides that since they both had a hard time getting off of work and since they were progressing so well, they might not even want to come in for the last class but instead drop in during store hours for help if needed. Long story short, they did not come back to class but instead sent an email to my bosses explaining that I was not interested in them,I did not want them to come back to class and I don't know what else. I was watching them but I did not hover, did not want to make them nervous. When my bosses let me read the email from them, my mouth fell to the floor. I had not the slightest idea that they were unhappy with me. I had no idea that they preceived me as not interested and ignoring them. You couldhave knocked me over with a feather.

During class they did not want to take a lunch break. I had to make a phone call before 12:30 to cancel a hotel reservation. I should have stepped out of the class room...I know that now....but I did not. They complained to my boss that I made personal calls that were distracting to them. That one and only 'personal' call that i made lasted about 2 minutes and it should have been my lunch break except they did not want to break. I wrote back to them explaining where I was coming from. I tried to make the class relaxing and fun and encouraging. It was all wrong for them, I guess.

Another class...a stack 'n whack class....those are usually good to teach and a bit more intense than the Turning Twenty. One time I had a big class with a variety of personalities and skills. One was far too picky about parts that she did not need to be exact with because it was going to be trimmed back.... yet the next one would always say, "Oh you know me, close is good enough." Close is not good enough when you get down to the nitty gritty of s 'n w. So how does a teacher handle making one student loosen up when she is stressing about 'exact' on edges that don't matter and will be trimmed while the lady next to her will not listen to instruction that certain parts need to be exact. The lady who said, "Close is good enough" was never able to make it come together. I could not save her project. She took it to two other quilters who are better than I am, they could not save it. She will never ever say 'well, I guess close was not good enough." I take no responsibility for her failed project. I told her she needed to be exact on those cuts. She chose her way.

If you let people 'slide' without constructive criticisim, we are bad teachers because we are not precise enough. If we get too nit picky, then that is discouraging. Tough line to balance on. Another lady in a stack 'n whack class was absolutely thrilled with her project and deemed it a great success. Should I have told her that her blocks were way off kilter? I didn't. She was happy. If they would have been my blocks, I would have probably tossed them. I am more of "enjoy the journey'. If the 'journey' is not fun, why do it. I guess I tend to be more relaxed and not critical...helpful, hopefully, to prevent errors but if the student is happy with it, who am I to tell them it is wrong.

In my years in the industry, I have seen and heard of a lot of 'teacher' experiences. One lady that i met had taken a class from her very very good friend....a famous quilt book author but I will not mention her name. she said, "I love her as a friend but as a teacher, I could not tolerate her attitude of 'my way or the hi-way'.

Oh, then there was the hand quilting class that I took from DeeDee McElroy. She was the best if you ask me. Yet one lady walked out saying what a bad teacher she was. Dee Dee had me quilting 12 stitches per inch within just a little while. She broke it all down but that one lady walked out.

Teaching is hard because you just don't know what the expectations are. when I teach s 'n w, I stress that it is to teach the technique of stacking and whacking only.... they need to know how to finish it regarding the quilting and binding. That is not covered in class. some don't like that. Oh well.

I say to anyone who is not meshing with the teacher, move on. It is not worth it unless you are getting some instruction that you feel is really helpful. If not, enjoy your own journey. I am sure there are some that say I could use a class in color but you know what? I pick the colors that I like using no rules or color theory. And i don't care if someone criticizes my quilt. I enjoyed the journey.
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Old 04-18-2012, 02:42 AM
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You don't have to take everything that anyone says to heart. A teacher is there to advise and lead - however, it is up to you to do the rest. If you disagree, why not ask or discuss her reasons for her statements? The conversation that follows may educate both of you. Any master class in any art will be tough. Keep up your enthusiasm as you must have selected this person for a reason?
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Old 04-18-2012, 03:26 AM
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Take a time out, find someone you can connect with. I love the ladies in my LQS who teach...all but one. I avoid her classes like the plague. Why stress myself out when I should be having fun
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