48 Minutes

…Until I’m fully 48.

I should be asleep – I have to drive Gerry to the airport tomorrow and we have to work out a checking in problem with BMI once I get there. But instead I’m up going over the classes of the past two days (the folks drinking outside the bar downstairs are also keeping us a bit wakeful…)

There were so many cupcakes passed around today that I lost count! A lovely little cake with a tartan ribbon was gifted to me by one student, and every time I turned around someone else was giving me a lovely card. Two other women in my class today were celebrating their birthdays, so Virgo must be a huge knitting astrology sign!

It was, without a doubt, one of the sweetest birthdays I’d had. And after class Gerry had champagne waiting for us in the room!

Today classes were good – very hard, rather intense, quite concentrated – but good. The caliber of knitting student in Edinburgh is as high as I’d expected (and THEN some!)

I was unprepared for how tired I’d be at the end of the class, it always takes me by surprise. We thought we’d go out to dinner, but all we could manage was dinner in the room and some TV. Oddly, we turned on a TV show about bridges which featured a bit about the I-35 Bridge collapse in Minneapolis in 2007. We felt it was so ironic – here we are in Scotland watching a documentary about – in part – Minnesota!

I realized right at the end of the 2nd class today that I was essentially speaking to a group in what was – at times – a different language for me. It can be so much harder than just blathering on in my native tongue – surprise!

When I teach, I like to have small side-conversations with one student or another, but I try to stay aware that everyone in the class is listening, and all are silent parties to our “private” chat. Lessons are learned when we least expect it.

It’s important that I not move too quickly through a technique – even if speaking one-on-one – or some folks will have the feeling they’ve been left in the dust.

However, moving slowly can create a sense of impatience in my students, and I know they’d like me to go more quickly. Dilemma.

Finding that happy medium is difficult. Some days I’m better at expressing the concept that even thought it seems I’m blathering on a lot about nonsense, most of my student’s questions WILL be answered by the end of class. Today I felt I wasn’t as clear about that as I might have been.

It’s a level of trust that’s hard to create – getting my students to run along with me, keeping up, but not running too far ahead. I was able to do it here, but just, and it leaves me with food for thought on how best to instill that sense of trust in my future classes.

There are so many small cultural shorthands that we use to develop trust between ourselves, things that I probably wouldn’t even notice if I weren’t teaching. Studying these is a fascinating by-product of my teaching here, much of it is learning what not to say and when not to say it!

I often “post mortem” my classes to help me decide what worked, what didn’t, and why things may have gone well (or not great.) These past two days the classes went well, but I would have liked to have figured how to feel more immediately comfortable myself.

If my comfort level is wavering, I know it’s echoed by the students, so I take that part of it seriously.

I felt a commonality between the Edinburgh classes and ones I’ve taught in New York and Boston. I love teaching in all these places – the students are so quick, so good, and they want to learn SO much! It may be a city thing – who knows?

It’s very interesting to see similarities where I hadn’t thought I’d see them, and I’m curious to see how the classes in Shropshire go – what the general climate of the class will be – how it may differ from the classes I’ve taught so far.

But mostly this evening I’m sad because Gerry’s leaving. It’s been so wonderful to have so much time with him, to see him visit places that are so new to both of us. We do hope that we’ll be able to swing a trip with the kids at some point in the future, they’d love it here!

Ysolde Teague and I were going to go to Holyrood Palace tomorrow, something we cooked up today and I was VERY excited about it. But there’s been a problem with Gerry’s reservation to London from Edinburgh and although I feel certain it will be easy to resolve, I think it’s best if I park the car, go into the airport, get it squared away and then just head to Fyberspates to rest up for the classes this weekend.

This makes me sad, because spending time with Ysolde is GREAT fun! But having enough rest before a class is even more essential. Next year – I promise – next year…

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