How to become a BETTER Student . . .STUDENT: Jennie K. Stephens

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I've only met Jennie once and if I remember correctly, she was energetic, bubbly and very sweet. I'm pretty sure I met her at the Interweave party in Tucson but it might have been at the Meet the Teachers Reception in Wisconsin? When I sent out the call for student volunteers - she accepted and gave me tons of great information - why? Because she teaches also - so she's given me a great view from both sides of the table. Here is Jennie K. Stephens:

3. What is the AVERAGE cost of your classes (don’t need exact, just average): about $50.00
4. Do you usually take a class that supplies a KIT? NO! (A)If not, what motivates you to take the class? (cost, teacher, friends) I am usually motivated first by what the class is teaching, and then perhaps by the teacher. If all things line up, the price is not an issue, nor is it an issue if a kit is included. BUT, if I do not like the teacher, then the project isn't that enticing. 

5. When you signed up for your class - did you read the prerequisites for the class or just assume you could learn once you were in the class - in front of the instructor - with the instructions/diagrams in front of you?  I have NEVER done this because I am a teacher myself and I absolutely can NOT stand it when I have very specific prerequisites and then get students who expect they can either learn it in class or by the instructions. If I do not have the prerequisite , I do NOT take the class. Period.
6. Did you learn the techniques you paid to learn in each class (be specific). A. If not, please tell us why?  I always make sure I leave the classes I take with written instructions and confidence that I learned the actual technique and can go home and finish it or start a new project using the new technique. If I don't, I am an unhappy camper and the teacher will know!
7. What was the best thing about taking the/a class?  I take classes for many reasons - first and foremost is to learn a new technique or project. But also as important is the camaraderie between the students and the teacher. I love getting to know other people and what they do, while sitting around learning something new together. It really adds to the experience, especially if the teacher is awesome too! 

8. What was the MOST difficult obstacle to overcome while taking a class?  I usually struggle with the fact that because I think I'm "creative" that I can learn anything EASILY! This is so not true! Which is why I take classes. . . I find that I struggle when I look around the room and everyone is happily working on their project when I am having a difficult time. It is just because I am a perfectionist and am too hard on myself! Once I get past that point, though, I am usually a happy student.
9. Was the fee you paid for your class -worth it and why or why not?  I would say that almost every class I've ever taken was worth it, but I have never paid more than about $85 for a class (other than the 3-month metals class, which was DEFINITELY worth it). As I mentioned before, it's not just the project or technique that makes it worth it - it's the interactions between the teacher, the teacher and the students and me and the other students. It's the creative vibe that goes on in a class that makes it worth it (but only if all other things are in alignment as well, like how good the teacher is and how well they are teaching). If the teacher is poor at what they do, it is very difficult for me to look past that. . .

10. Adding all your classes together - to make ONE class - what could you have done better - as a student - to get more out of your class experience?  I probably could have been more patient with myself and the other students if they weren't grasping the concept. I tend to be very hard on myself which only creates a stressful environment for myself and probably everyone else. I need to remember that I am there to LEARN something I didn't already know and to give my brain and hands a chance to learn!
11. OPTIONAL: If you want, write some tips for others who might want to take a class in the future.
a. I would say my #1 tip is to make sure you have the prerequisites down. It is not the teachers responsibility to catch you up! Especially if they already told you the prerequisite.
b. I would also say that it is very important to follow along with the pace of the teacher and the pace of what they are teaching. As a teacher - I have had a lot of students who think they can read it and dot it on their own without following along with the teacher/students and inevitably, they end up needing more help because they tuned out while they were working ahead. I always tell my students that it might seem like it's taking more time to go at the same pace but really it is saving you time and more questions in the long run.
c. And I would just say PAY ATTENTION. You paid to be here which means you have some sort of trust in the teacher to actually teach you something fun. So listen and do what you're told. There's a reason for all of the steps in the instructions. 
d. Ask if you don't understand something and take notes so you can go home and understand the instructions again.

Don't forget to check back every Friday for our Scavenger Trivia Game!

Like what you've read about Jennie? Find her here: MAJIK
While we've finished with our students - we're now moving on to the teachers!

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