Thursday, April 24, 2008

So You Want to Teach Crochet....

With actresses like Julia Roberts, Tyne Dailey, and Alyssa Milano actually stitching on camera, this has encouraged others to learn how to knit and/or crochet. Yes, you can make money teaching crochet, but there are some steps I recommend you take beforehand, to insure a better sucess.

I strongly suggest that you use a facility or organization or business that is already established to host your classes.

Being associated with an established business will insure a better success rate, and lend important validation to your credibility.

By having your class in a public building, this eliminates certain safety risks and that awkwardness of trying to host classes in your home.

Possible hosts include:

  • Local Yarn Shops
  • Retail Chains like Michaels, or Hobby Lobby
  • City Recreation Departments
  • YMCA
  • Continuing Studies Departments of Colleges or Universities
  • Art Museums (listed as Fibre Arts classes)

I’ve heard one experienced designer convinced her college to let her teach a class in crochet. If I were to teach a class at a college, I would approach these departments:

  • Art
  • Psychology- emphasis on stress management and the altered brain waves of needleworkers
  • Fashion or Interior Design
  • Physical Education- emphasis on Eye/Hand coordination
  • Physical Rehabilitation- teaching medical professionals how to crochet, so they can teach their patients how to regain their coordination and hand strength

The flollowing organizations probably won’t be able to host ‘paid’ classes, but you can volunteer your time to gain experience in teaching.

  • Senior Citizen Centers
  • Boys & Girls clubs
  • Boy/Girl Scouts or other Service organizations (I don’t know of any Rainbow or Camp Fire Girls clubs still in existance.)
  • YWCA (the only one I know of is now a ‘home for troubled girls’)
  • 4F clubs Group
  • Homes for troubled youths Women’s/Family Shelters
  • Church Groups (to crochet for charity)
Once you have located businesses or organizations that would be appropriate to host your classes, now you must...

Get organized and Create a Class Curriculum

Whether you are approaching a Local Yarn Shop (LYS), a major hobby store, or an education facility, you must have an organized plan of action.

These are the things I recommend you take with you to the meeting with the class coordinator.
  • An Outline of each proposed class, and what material will be covered each class meeting
  • All of your lesson sheets or booklets that will be used in your classes
  • A list of tools and supplies that the students will need for your class.
  • The number of hours for each meeting and the number of times you will meet
  • The Maximum and Minimum number of students you prefer
  • The Days/Nights and times you prefer to teach, or better yet, those times and days you absolutely cannot teach. Give the organization as much leeway as you can in choosing when to host your classes.
  • And finally, provide possible marketing descriptions for your classes to be used in catalogs or in-house posters

This level of preparedness clearly illustrates your level of professionalism.

Professionalism helps to overcome a business owner’s or class coordinator’s trepidation of investing time and money to host classes of an ‘untried’ teacher.

Maintaining this level of organization even when you are seasoned veteran teacher will allow you to see what was successful and what wasn’t.

I will NEVER try to teach Granny Squares to a Beginners’ Crochet Class ever again! However, offering a 1 Night Intro to Tunisian Crochet has shown more success than a 4-6 week class.

Make an appointment with the business owner, class coordinator, or programming director and bring all of the Class Curriculum information you have created in the previous section.

DO NOT BE LATE to this appointment, but I don’t suggest you arrive much more than 10 minutes before the appointment. Your time is just as important as theirs, so don’t make it look like you have all the time in the world for this appointment.

Points of Negotiation

When I approached the Continuing Studies Department of my local university, they told me what they could pay me per hour and that was twice what I was expecting. It sounded great on paper, but there are other ways of making more money with the time and energy you invest into a class.
  • I have used an ‘X amount per Student’ style of payment with recreation departments. I actually make more money that way. If you have more students, you make more money.
  • For a senior citizen’s jewelry class, I charged only for the supplies, and not my labor.
  • I would recommend that you open the negotiations by taking ‘$X per student per class meeting,’ so that your classes are 100% self funding. That will then allow the class coordinator to either counter with something better, or at least see that you are willing to share the risk in these new classes.
Registration deadlines are wonderful- if you can convince your class host to use them. The folks in my town will wait until the day of class to sign up, and I never know what to expect.

However, I started including the statement, ‘class size is limited, so register early,’ in all of my class descriptions and most of my students would sign up early.

I have provided the Syllabus I use when I teach classes here:

Also, this blog post details my theory on teaching crochet to modern stitchers.

©Angela ‘ARNie’ Grabowski 2008. All rights reserved.
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