Saturday, March 30, 2013

lessons from a traffic report

So a while back I was listening to a traffic report. Yes, I know my city and the streets he's discussing. But for the life of me, I am having trouble processing what's he's saying . . . because he's saying it too quickly. I think I was trying to visualize the intersection, and by the time I got close, I'd have lost the information. (Maybe the visualization was happening in the right brain, but the language required me to go to the left, and I was unable to do the to and fro as quickly as the information was coming.)

So then I wondered Has anyone called in and asked him to go more slowly? Am I the only one?

And then the light bulb went off!!!

At moments when I am teaching, especially at the end of class, I occasionally see blank stares after an instruction. With apologies that always accompany the request, I am then asked to repeat what we all know is a simple instruction. I will do so, often saying That's okay: at the end of a class, I say left hand and you hear yarnover (which sounds silly but is actually true).

But the day of the traffic report I then realized that my students were having the same experience! Even though I am very precise in my language, and I try my best to be clear, I am--at this moment in class--speaking too quickly. My students are hearing the language but also trying to establish the visual. I need to give them more time to do so.

So in my last two teaching venues, I have tried to keep this in mind. And I really do believe that the classes at Rumpelstiltskin Yarns (Sayville, NY) and Creative Yarns (Macon, GA) were the best. I do love all my classes and all my students, but I do believe there was a perceptible difference, and I think it was because I deliberately slowed down towards the end of class.

For those who have never taken one (and I do suspect I am preaching to the choir here), knitting classes are great fun, and time passes very quickly, but at the end you are worn out! Who knew it could take this much energy!? But if you have this reaction, you have likely learned a lot and know it was all soooooo worth it!

Speaking of classes, I am often asked if I will be in Ohio, NY, Florida . . . anytime soon. That information is on my website: under SCHEDULE.

And speaking of my schedule, I am really excited about an upcoming venue.

In May, I will be teaching at the Grand Hotel (from the movie of the same name) on Mackinac Island (northern MI for those who don't know). What a gorgeous venue! Who wouldn't want to get inside this place?

But you know who would very much like to do so? A girl who went to high school just north of there (Sault Ste Marie, ON CA), who went to Mackinac Island on dates and for high school graduation, who stared longingly at this landmark hotel, who thought that ever getting inside was unattainable. And that would be me!

Just goes to show you, as they say about knitting and baseball and all things wonderful: you never know!


  1. Thank you for reminding me to SLOW DOWN! I am presenting to a large audience next weekend and will be sure to remember this advice.

    How wonderful you get to fulfill that girlhood dream to enter the hotel -- and as an honored guest! As a Michigander, I have had that same dream from the State side.


  2. I guess it's especially important to slow down at the end of a long day!
    Perhaps you too will get to the hotel one day. You never know!