Wednesday, June 18, 2008

First Seniors Class Today!

Today was my first class at the downtown senior center. It was supposed to begin at 9:30 and end at 11:30. The coordinator told me that I could bring my kids if I wanted to, but I thought I'd teach the first class without the kids, so I could have a better idea of what to expect and how to prepare the kids. Jeff's parents were in town, so they were able to watch the kids for the morning.

I got there at 9:15 and there were 2 ladies waiting for me already. One of them didn't live in the complex, and heard about the class and just showed up. The other lady had a man with her that looked like he could have been 40 or so, but was dressed like a red-neck teenager, and was carrying a large Chucky doll (from the horror film). I couldn't figure out who he was, but some of the ladies recognized him and chatted with him a bit. He settled in working on a yarn loom, and didn't say anything for the rest of the time. I wonder if he is living with his mom.

I was glad that I brought extra materials, because not everyone brought their own. The coordinator said that 9 people signed up, and she wanted to sit-in too. So we should have had 11 people including the coordinator and the walk-in. By 10am we only had 4 people, then more showed up. It turns out, the coordinator had listed the start time as 10am! In the end, I had 8 students (3 no-shows). 3 - beginners who spoke English, 2 - intermediates who spoke English, 1 - intermediate that didn't speak English, but was eager to learn, and 2 ladies who didn't speak any English at all, and I have no idea what they are able to do. One of them brought a scarf in and after a while, I realized she forgot how to cast on. The other lady wouldn't even pick up needles, she just watched and asked for a pattern.

I had baked cookies for a snack and set out all of my washcloth samples and a basket full of spare yarn and needles. I got the 3 beginners gong on the Grandma's Favorite washcloth. One of the intermediates started the ball-band cloth and the other intermediate just wanted copies of all of my patterns. The non-English speaker, just went over and started knitting with my own yarn that I brought to demo with. I don't know if she was using her own needles or mine from my case. She mimed that she was making a sweater. I had to explain that it was my yarn, and if she needed some, then she needed to buy a ball. She wanted 10 balls in green. I told her I only had 1 green ball because we were making washcloths today. She settled in on making the Every Day, Any Day cloth, and had me start her off on each row, and she'd finish it. I don't know if she could read the pattern at all or not, or how much of my English she understood, but she did well.

Then, people just started to leave around 11. I guess most of the classes are 1 hour. The beginners stuck around until we got kicked out at 11:30 for the next meeting. I have a feeling that one of them will be able to finish the cloth this week, but the other two will be stuck. It is HARD to teach older women how to do something new!

I feel like most of the people enjoyed themselves, but I couldn't give too much attention to everyone because of the 3 beginners and the tough time communicating with the non-English speakers. I guess that is to be expected. I had planned on showing everyone how to finish and get everyone excited about picking their next project, but we were still working on learning how to hold the yarn by the end of the class, so I guess next week will be washcloths too!

1 comment:

Briley said...

Sunny, I think it is so wonderful that you are doing this! Knitting is a wonderful thing for seniors, it's great excersize for keeping the mind sharp!

You really had your work cut out for you. I had a couple of my co-workers over for a lesson this winter, both were starting from scratch. It was very difficult because 2 hours into the day 1 was still trying to perfect casting on, while the other had mastered stockinette and was asking to learn pattern stitches!

I can't wait to hear about your next trip to the senior center.