Weekend Update

Weekend Update: So what did I do, other than sleep through social engagements? I taught a knitting class! The girls at Morris & Sons contacted me a few weeks ago and asked me to fill in on their upcoming “Sock Workshop” series. The first of three sessions was Sunday morning. I had two hours to teach 9 women (most of whom had never knit a sock before) how to use the Magic Loop technique. (I managed to convince a few of them to use two circulars instead, which I vastly prefer.) They did pretty well! Seven of them got the gist of it quickly and got going on their homework. (They’re meant to knit the leg of the sock this week so we can turn the heel next Sunday.) The other two ladies had a little more trouble. One was really trying, but she just consistently got confused as to which needle she was knitting from. Towards the end she was starting to get it. I kept telling her it would “click” with practice. In contrast though, the last lady was kind of negative. There always seems to be one in every class. She seemed to have made her mind up already that she was too stupid to do it, and she constantly commented on it throughout the class. “Oh, I’m going to need a rest after this – my brain just can’t take it!” At one point, she thrust her knitting at me and said, “Here, count this to make sure I have the right number of stitches.” I tried to stay cool. She was obviously insecure and lacked confidence in herself. On some level, she thought it was easier to put herself down and tell us all that she was stupid rather than to try and fail. I tried to be understanding. But MAN, IT DRIVES ME CRAZY. I just don’t get that mindset! I talked about it with the Snook afterwards, and we both agreed that it’s something you tend to see more with women than men. (He actually thinks it’s part of the reason that more women don’t pursue science degrees.) Something happens to us and we get afraid to learn something new for fear we won’t be good at it. It’s sad to see, and difficult to try to deal with as a teacher. I’m not sure how she’s going to fare when we have to turn the heel next week… Any ideas or suggestions?

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  1. A course I went to says to focus on something they can do (cooking, cleaning, functions at work something they feel they can do – and do well) that is about following a series of steps. Compare it to that. It’s about working out a set of steps and then following them. If you have learnt x…now you just have to add a couple of things to it.

    Easier said than done. It’s interesting it is more women than men (most guys will externalise the blame – the teacher wasn’t good and didn’t explain it well). Women internalise…I am bad, stupid etc. definitely cultural and less preverlant in younger people.

  2. Ooh, that’s a very good observation, JP. I always worry that the person is going to complain that I wasn’t a good teacher, but they never do. They just assume it’s them.

    And thanks for the tip. I’ll try that next week. Turning the heel is way more of a series of steps, so maybe she’ll be better with that. (The first week was a bit more conceptual, I guess.)

  3. I really hate it when people put themselves down and think they can’t do anything, but I also think that many younger women could do with a pinch of that attitude. So often I encounter students who don’t think they can do anything *wrong*! It’s always someone else’s fault. That’s the kind of flipside of the attitude that it’s always your fault, I guess.

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