Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Old dog, new trick...
So a couple years ago, one of my students' parents saw me at a ballgame and asked if I would like an old sewing machine. I told her I would love one if she had it to give away... that some student could probably use it. I didn't tell her that I don't sew. Time passed and I forgot about it and then so did she. Then, last year, she came in with a brand new Brother sewing machine with all kinds of embroidery stitches and computerized gizmos and bells and whistles and everything else. She said she had forgotten she had promised me the machine and then let her sister take it, and felt bad about it so she bought a machine to donate to the school. The machine is amazing! But I was totally intimidated by it.
I thanked her profusely and then put the machine away where it wouldn't get broken. But then I felt guilty for letting such an awesome gift go unused. One of my students dragged it out once to make a prom dress, but it really should be used in the class. So I bribed my Mom with lunch at Cilantro's and she came to school to teach (or re-teach...) me how to sew.
It was great fun, I have to admit. It's been a long time since the days when Mom and I would make things together -- from crafts to cooking to the occasional sewing project. I felt like a kid again!
So here's my test piece. My students will be making 9" x 9" applique squares like the one above and then I'm going to sew them together to make a big story quilt in the style of Faith Ringgold. Sort of. I'm no Martha Stewart, but I think it's going to turn out nicely. I've already had several offers of help sewing, and the Vice Principal offered to put it on a backing (or, hopefully, teach me how to.)
This is pretty exciting! I love learning new things! I hate teaching stuff I already know and have taught a bazillion times. Even the things I have to teach over and over again get new life each time I teach them. I have to change projects up from time to time or I just get bored, and if I get bored, I lose my passion and if I lose my passion, the kids don't really seem to enjoy what I teach, anyway. Teaching and learning are enjoyable processes. The classes I've learned the most in have always been classes that I really enjoyed, even if the subject was something I found to be difficult. Hard work and challenges can be really fun. I've found that if I just have fun with what I'm teaching, the kids learn a lot. And, if the kids are having a blast with what we're doing in class, they're learning even more. The day I stop enjoying time at work is the day I'll hang it up and go hand out stickers at Wal-Mart or something.