The Joy of Teaching

The Joy of Teaching

Posted by Adrienne Anila (aka Mama Fig) on Dec 9th 2018

As many of you know, I was a middle school teacher before opening Mama Fig. I began teaching because I wanted to make a difference, and I wanted to watch kids make connections. I love watching people make connections- either figuring out something new or noticing their own improvement over time. 

People ask me if I miss teaching. I certainly miss my students- even the snarky ones. I don't have to miss teaching though, because I get to teach most mornings at the shop. Just like with school, people come to fiber arts classes with preconceived notions- this will be hard, I'm not good at these sorts of things, I tried to learn once, but I wasn't good enough. In the yarn shop, it is still my job to help people become vulnerable enough to try new things. It's still my job to convince people to give themselves permission not to be perfect right away. Everyone's first knitted or crocheted or rectangle looks like Swiss cheese drawn without the benefit of a ruler. Don't worry about it. Most things are easy only once we know how to do them. 

Give yourself permission to learn. 

There is still nothing like the feeling of hearing a student yell out, "oh, I get it!" after struggling to understand a concept. In knitting classes, we hear things like, "I turned a heel!" after working hard to make socks and finally getting it right. As writer, Glennon Doyle, says, "we can do hard things." I used to keep this quote on my classroom wall to remind kids that hard things still merit doing. In fact, hard things might be even more worth doing.

And so, lovely ones, you've no need to apologize when you make stitching mistakes. I know you say these things to cover your embarrassment at not being perfect right away. Keep doing, keep learning, and keep respecting yourselves enough to do hard things. 

*Photo- the shawl I ripped out four times because fading colors is hard for me.