How to become a BETTER Student . . .TEACHER: Jill Wiseman

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Jill has a book coming out in 2012 and I know I've said several times on this blog that one of my favorite things about hosting Guests is that I get to say what I think about the Guest - Jill Wiseman - where do I begin? We've grown so fond of each other over the last couple of years we've listed each other as SISTERS on Facebook. (JILL has a book coming out in 2012...)
Without thinking at all I'd say - she's hands-down one of the most beautiful people I've ever met. A straight shooter - articulate - funny - forgivinglovable - laughable - an artist - a romantic - a dreamer - she's one of those people whose entire AIR of PERSONALITY rubs off on you so quick - you're sucked in and in love before you have a chance to think "What just happened? ...she makes being her friend EFFORTLESS. (Jill has a book coming out in 2012...) 
Thank you Jill - for letting me abuse my friendship bond and sucker you into answering my questions. Sister - Friend - Confidante and if that isn't enough - her mother is freaking AWESOME too! I'm so proud of you. Lucky me!  Did I mention she has a book coming out in 2012?? 

1. What is your most difficult obstacle to overcome while teaching a class?
JW: Having students with vastly different levels of beadweaving experience in the same classroom. When you have experienced beadweavers as well as folks who have never touched needle and thread before, you have very different audiences to teach. When teachers develop a class project, they will usually have a level of difficulty or experience level that they assign to the class. Students need to make sure they pay attention to those designations to find the appropriate class for them, or else they won't have the best experience they could have.

2. What is your most difficult obstacle to overcome while attending a class?
JW: (didn't answer this question)

3. Why do you teach? (Be very specific here please):
JW:  I teach for so many reasons. First of all, because it's how I make my living. But I chose this career because I enjoy it so much. I cherish the interactions and instant bond I get with other beady folks all over the country while we work away. I love to see that "A-HA!" moment when one of my students suddenly gets what she's been struggling with. My students are putting themselves in my hands and trusting me to not only help them make beautiful things, but also have a fun social experience, and not feel stupid while they learn something new. Personally, I get a huge emotional payback when people leave class happy.

4. How do you feel about  beading SKILL levels: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced:
JW:  I think it's important to use skill levels to help students find the appropriate classes, but I also think there needs to be an identification of what those skill level expectations are. For instance, I find that most people who label themselves Beginner are not what I think of as Beginner! So we need a common understanding of what those terms mean to that teacher. For me, a Beginner is someone who has never done any beadweaving before, or has fewer than 5 projects accomplished. Intermediate is someone who has made more than 5 projects, and is comfortable with the stitches they've learned. They don't necessarily need to know the stitch in the project, but feel they can learn it pretty easily. If I ever DO feel like they already need to know a stitch, I will specify that in the class description also. An Advanced project requires someone who has a broad range of beadweaving skills, and they can concentrate more on construction details rather than learning a stitch.

5. What is the BEST way you can handle a disruptive student?
JW: (didn't answer this question)

6. What is the difference between teaching a TECHNIQUE and a PROJECT?
JW:  A technique class teaches only a stitch. There is no finished piece of jewelry at the end of class - just the knowledge of how to follow other patterns using that same stitch in the future. A project class teaches a specific piece of jewelry, so what the student makes will look just the same as the sample piece.

7. What is the importance of using the materials you've listed in your materials list for the specified project (you're teaching)?
JW:  A student can not assume that substitutions of beads will work. Sometimes they will...and sometimes they won't. When we develop projects we are using specific materials to get a specific look and spacing. Some Size 11 seed beads can be twice as wide as others. Some types have tiny holes that won't accommodate the number of thread passes needed. So working with the supply list will ensure a successful outcome, while trying to assume that substitutions are okay often will not be the best choice.

8. Which do you find more useful: Written instructions with diagrams or STEP by STEP photographs and instructions (please chose one or the other):
JW: I most often use written instructions with diagrams because I can make a diagram big enough to really show the thread path. I will sometimes supplement with photos to show how the piece will look at that point in the project if I think it will be useful.

9. In your experience, is an average student easier to teach than a student who is taught? 
JW: (didn't answer this question)

10. If your prerequisite SKILL LEVEL for the class is INTERMEDIATE: How do you divide equal amounts of time between Beginners/Intermediate to Intermediate beaders? 
JW:  There are fast beaders and slow beaders. Beaders who pick up new instruction better than others. And those groups don't necessarily correspond! So my feeling is that a good teacher has to let everyone bead at their own pace, and be flexible as she moves about the room to give the appropriate help as needed. Trying to force everyone to work at the same pace is stressful for those who are slower, and boring for those who are fast. Encouraging them to remember that this is a hobby...NOT a helpful!

11. OPTIONAL: Please write specific tips for any student reading this to become a BETTER student:
JW: (didn't answer this question)

Like what you've read about Jill? Did you know she has a book coming out in 2012? Find her here:     Tapesty Beads

Next we have Rebecca Starry.
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