Tomorrow is the third Saturday in a row of teaching for me. I'm feeling a bit out of routine as a result. And school holidays. Plus, teaching crochet is hard. Much harder than toy making.
I've spent some time thinking about that.
One of the reasons I didn't end up a teacher (despite getting qualified) is because I find it really hard to deal with 'failing' to teach someone something. I really want to believe that anyone can learn anything if they try hard enough. The reality is that even if that's true, life gets in the way for lots of people in a way I can't even begin to know let alone control.
People's perceptions of themselves, their expectations of what they should be able to achieve and how fast, the limitations of the teaching environment and the materials you are working with. What people have trained their hands to do before they sit down with a hook can dramatically effect how easy they find the initially weird and unnatural process of crochet.
Being a teacher forces you from the outset to compromise. It is inevitable that students will need different things from you, learn at different rates and at least some will have totally unrealistic expectations.
And I know all this but still it gets to me that there are some people who leave the class disappointed, or worse, convinced they just can't do it. The ones who don't return after the lunch break. The ones who repeatedly apologise for not getting it, or who ask me to explain that one more time and slower. The ones who get frustrated that I go too slow and don't sufficiently challenge them.
In toy making class the differences between students are so much less problematic, and technical skills per se are less important. That class is all about ideas and images and play. The crochet class is by its nature more focused on a set of uniform skills and that makes it so much more dependent on me and on everyone being roughly in the same place.
And while I don't consider myself a 'technical' crafter - tending as I do to a more slap dash approach and crafts which encourage invention rather than perfection - the truth is that I really enjoy learning new technical skills. This comes as something of a surprise to me and highlights something of a disconnect between my self-perception and my behaviour.
Once this thought occurred to me, I saw evidence all around. My new crochet roll, my extensive library of patterns and reference books, my pattern drafting tools, my various searches for the perfect whatevers. My storage systems and attraction to new and ever more complex crafts.
Is it possible there's a perfectionist buried deep inside me, almost lost under layers of recycled felted jumpers and the detrius of children?