Someone, whether through a book, a tutorial online, in a classroom or maybe even someone special in your life taught you how to create something out of practically nothing. With their guidance, you learned the skills you needed to make all the things you make today. How would you like to make a difference in someone’s life by teaching them what you know?
There are lots of great reasons to take up the challenge of teaching:
♥ Helping the community
By helping other creative people to learn new techniques your contribution goes well beyond the individual person.
♥ Learning more about your craft
By teaching others, you’ll solidify your own techniques and probably learn some new things along the way too.
♥ Earn extra money
Having a new income stream is a great reason to start teaching!
However, sharing what you know can also be a daunting proposition. For many artists there are very real fears, hesitations, and uncertainties that can get in the way of exploring the possibility of teaching.
Fear of creating your own competition
This is a favorite among artists. Now, I’m not saying this never happens. In fact, the reason this fear exists is because it has happened before. However, there are some simple ways to dissuade new students from directly competing with you:
♥ Focus on teaching the technique first. Students need to learn the foundations of the craft first and foremost. Follow up with a simple project that utilizes their new skills.
♥ When talking about design, teach in general terms. Ask them lots of questions about what they like when it comes to design and help them find their way according to their personal taste.
♥ If the student asks to learn how to make one of your original designs, politely decline and offer to help them make a project taken from a book or tutorial online instead. They are there to learn new skills to create their own work. Be sure you are both on the same page from the very beginning of your time together.
♥ Remember that you will always be years ahead of any student you teach at a beginning level. Strive to keep improving your own techniques and designs and you’ll never have to worry about any student taking your audience away from you.
Unsure About Your Qualifications
Unless you are teaching a proprietary technique that requires certification in order to teach, it is likely that you don’t need formal qualifications to teach what you know. Some of the most important qualities that a teacher must have are:
♥ Proficiency in the technique you are to teach. The more confident you are with your skill, the easier it will be to teach others the basics.
♥ A willingness to share the lessons you’ve learned along the way. This could mean sharing some shortcuts to quickly improve results and maybe some supplier resources along anything else you’re comfortable with sharing.
♥ Understand your own learning style and think about how you can present your lessons to people with a learning style that is different from your own. A good place to start your research is http://www.learning-styles-
Fear of taking too much time and energy away from your own work
If your time is limited to the hours you can spend producing your own work then finding room in your schedule to teach might not be a priority. But, if you find that you are in a bit of a stagnant place creatively, you might find it interesting that one of the surprising benefits of teaching is new creative energy that oftentimes inspires new work. Make time for it all by:
♥ Scheduling specific days and times for teaching. Offer private classes or group classes on certain days of the week.
♥ Organizing a general lesson plan for your classes. Then tailor each class to the needs of your students.
♥ Be sure to pace your classes. Try not to teach everything all at once. Break up your classes into smaller sections if your students seem overwhelmed by the end of your first session.
Teaching is so much more than just giving away lessons learned. When you share your knowledge, you gain confidence as an artist and continue the cycle of learning that drives our community forward. If you have the inclination to teach, I encourage you to give it a try. You just might be surprised at how rewarding it can be!
Marlo Miyashiro — Creative Arts Consulting
Catch up Marlo M. on her new and improved blog: http://imakecutestuff.com
Learn more about her consulting services at http://CreativeArtsConsulting.
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