YA and I went to Easter dinner at a neighbor/friend’s home.  Everybody had their Fauci ouchie and three of the other 4 folks could be said to be “in our bubble”.  The fourth person was a close friend of the friend/neighbor.  I liked her right away and was interested in the mosaic art that she does.

The topic of my Ukrainian eggs came up and she asked a lot of questions about how they are made.  At one point she said “oh, that would be a fun thing to learn to do”.  So I offered to teach her; she was so excited I thought she might fall off her chair.  She asked if I could teach her twin sister as well – they apparently like to do these kinds of things together.  In for a penny, in for a pound – I agreed.

Since I’m actually putting the egg table up this weekend to start my Solstice eggs (yea, I know, just a tad early), I thought this would be a good time for lessons.  Instead of a traditionally colored pysanky (white, yellow, green, red, black) I’m going to design a beginner egg that will have various shades of blue.  The reason is simple. My Solstice egg this year will be using the blues and I don’t want to mix a bunch of different non-blue colors just for this lesson.  The process is exactly the same so I won’t be short-changing them.

I’ve taught Ukrainian eggs before – to two different friends and to YA when she was little  – all of these lessons were a long time ago.  Even though I’ve taught before, I find myself a little more nervous about this time.  Maybe because I will teaching two at a time?  Maybe because I know she is an artist herself?  I expect my jitters will fade away quickly once we get going.  At least I hope so… jitters and hot wax on eggs don’t go together well!

Have you ever taught anything?  What do you think you’d be good at teaching?

58 thoughts on “Teachable?”

  1. Flooring installation.
    It seems like an eternity ago but just before C19 hit, I was set to take a teaching position with Warren County Corrections. As part of expanding trade education for in-mates, Ohio was adding a flooring program. A pilot was already running up at Toledo. A good friend with the Carpenters union had recommended me. Had interviews, toured the prison, paperwork finished, boss informed. WHAM! Shutdown.
    Not getting the job might have saved my life.
    Prison populations, both staff and incarcerated, suffered greatly here.
    Still, it was disappointing. I would have been responsible for building curriculum and physical structure to teach prisoners a valuable trade thereby improving their odds against recidivism. I would have been obtaining a teaching degree from Ohio State University on the state’s dime while developing the program. Full benefits. Good wages. 7am to 3pm. No overtime allowed. 10 weeks on 2 weeks off paid. A 10 minute drive from home.
    Nice but my motivation wasn’t entirely mercenary. Helping men improve their lives was my main motivation.
    Challenging. Prisoners with knives.

    Liked by 4 people

        1. maybe consider being the guy who figures out what else they could be taught
          piano tuning
          plater patching
          stucco repair
          drywall and sheetrock
          window installation
          hvac stuff

          Liked by 3 people

  2. i’ve taught guitar basics
    piano basics
    watercolor basics
    lawn care basics
    gardening basics

    a good gig for entrepreneurial souls is garden design installation and maintance.

    landscape architecture is a cool field

    Liked by 6 people

      1. I would have done that for my life’s work. But those teaching jobs were used as ways to support grad students in the humanities, giving them an income so they could pay tuition and have a few bucks for housing and food. You were only allowed to teach those classes for six years.

        Liked by 4 people

  3. Rise and Shine, Baboons,

    I have taught a number of social service and psychology adult ed classes, and I still do, although this has been on hold the past 1.25 years due to You Know What. The hardest thing to teach was Child Protection methods when some of the methods and philosophy changed in the late 1990s. Those social workers were a tough audience.

    I developed the curriculum for county social workers on working with LGBTQ kids because they are so frequently in foster care, after losing their homes and families when their parents kick them out. I taught this all over the state in the early 2000’s . At first some social workers resisted, but by the end of the day they were weeping. So really, I was inducing compassion for these kids.

    More later …contractor is here.

    Liked by 5 people

      1. It is an area of immense concern, without a doubt. The families and children involved are already compromised by problems: addiction, mental illness, lack of developmental knowledge, and disability. Then the system complicates it. We once tallied up all the people it takes to do the duties of one competent parent. The number was around 35 by the time you include social workers, lawyers, judges, guardians ad litem, parent aides, and on and on. The system is also hard on all the professionals involved and the burn out rates are high.

        Liked by 4 people

  4. My dad taught sports officiating at the South Dakota State Penitentiary in Sioux Falls. One time, just after he left the prison after a class, a riot broke out.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. My mom was beside herself, because she thought he was still at the prison, and he and his teaching buddies went for lunch right after they left the prison and Dad didn’t know about the riot until he got back to Luverne. His friends teased him about instigating the unrest.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I was supposed to get training in prisoner/staff relations. One of the tour guides told me straight off that I smile too much. That would be hard to overcome.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. I’ve had many calls like this from my mother as an adult. When the bridge went down here in Minneapolis I got a call. When she hears about a tornado in our neck of the woods, I get a call. Of course last year after George Floyd I got several calls. But the funniest one was the message she left on my machine back when there was the huge black out on the East Coast about 20 years ago. Child and I were on a flight to Maine when it happened and she was worried whether we would be safe on the flight (as if there were some huge extension cord plugged into the back of the plane).

        Liked by 2 people

  5. I was a band director for six years in Carlton MN. I’ve also taught financial planning classes and a class I called “The Frugal WIne Gourmet” through community ed in the Twin Cities.

    Not sure I was all that good at any of those disciplines.

    But the smartest thing I ever did was NOT try to teach my wife how to play golf! 🙂

    Chris in Owatonna

    Liked by 5 people

      1. It all depends on what sort of student a spouse would be. My wife is a visual learner and I’m a verbal teacher, so we’d clash right there.

        But the biggest deterrent was the men who weren’t trained gold teachers trying to teach their wives/girlfriends how to hit it like Tiger Woods in one afternoon. I eavesdropped on many teaching sessions on many driving ranges over the decades and few of them went well. The men all seemd to have the same problem of “I just don’t understand why you keep missing the ball on your swing, honey. It’s such an easy game!” or words to that effect.

        My wife ended up taking group golf lessons through the Mpls. Park board with her best friend at the time, and also bought an instrutional video put out by a female professional golfer who’s name I forget. She benefitted greatly from both and became a respectable weekend golfer. Usually shot around 110-120. But she wasn’t keen on keeping score all the time, had an informal 10-shots-per-hole rule (after 10 swings, she picked up and went to the next hole), and sometimes after trying three or four times to hit the bal out of a sand trap, would simply pick the ball up and throw it out.

        I smiled through gritted teeth initially because I’m a “grind it out to the bitter end” player and secretly hoped she’d get competitive enough to at least keep score all the time and try to improve. But to her it was mostly a social thing.


        Liked by 2 people

        1. Chris, the most famous article I’ve written is probably the one titled Why I Hunt With Women. At least it was my most-reprinted article. One of my conclusions was hunting with women was more enjoyable for me because they were not competitive but loved hunting as “a social thing.” But I do understand why a serious golfer would enjoy doing the sport with another serious golfer.

          Liked by 2 people

  6. In hospital specialty units, newly hired nurses undergo extra orientation specific to that unit. For many years, along with doing bedside patient care, I helped develop and teach orientation to the NICU – lectures as well as skills training. I also organized and helped teach a day long educational workshop on advanced NICU orientation – utilizing the most advanced technology to care for our sickest babies. I enjoyed that part of my job a lot. It was a nice break from the often high stress patient care and it didn’t involve charting.

    I did try teaching beginning piano to a few children but quickly discovered that I enjoyed playing a whole lot more than teaching. It was a short lived endeavor.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Morning –
    I’ve had the pleasure to teach a lot of students in the shop at the college. And a few kids out here on the farm.
    The World (Specifically Rochester), really needs more lighting designers and we start working with them at the high school level and get them going and darn them for having ambition and going off into the world and Rochester still doesn’t have a new lighting person.
    It’s not the “design” part that’s hard to teach, it’s find a person who isn’t afraid of heights, who can carry a ladder, and carry a light up there, who can cable and focus a light BEFORE we get to the design part and running and programming the lighting console.

    Teaching a student how to use a screw gun and build something is pretty cool. It’s a skill they’ll be able to use where ever they end up, hopefully.
    My son, it took him 26 years, but he’s got a house now and is learning to repair things. YouTube is a wonderful help if he does’t want to call Dad.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I am teaching a colleague play therapy. I could teach lots of cooking techniques, like making pie crusts and homemade pasta dough and how to successfully work with phyllo. Husband is a master gardener, and could teach how to grow things.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. A central paradox about teaching is how little competence is useful for teaching anything. That is, being a fabulous pianist has almost nothing to do with teaching piano. The ability to write well is no help when it comes to teaching writing. An old blues guitar player had a perfect line for this: “It’s so easy . . . when you know how!” Indeed, people for whom a skill seems natural are probably at a disadvantage when trying to teach that skill. People who struggle for competency have thought more about things than people for whom greatness was easy.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I was too emphatic. Doing something well probably helps you teach that skill, but it only takes you so far. The super-tall dude who dominated the basketball court is probably not going to be as good at coaching as the short guy who had to think constantly about who was where on the court.

      Liked by 5 people

        1. I have a special insight on this issue because I’m now a beginner at something. Once I learned a lot about editing photos with a program called LightRoom, mostly learning by studying instructional YouTube videos. Now I’m learning an entirely different photo editor called On1 Photo Raw. The main instructor on the YouTube educational tapes is a guy who is a wizard with the software but a klutz as a teacher.

          There is a cynical saying that “those who can, do; those who can’t do, teach.” That is totally bogus. Teaching is an art. I have a world of respect for anyone who teaches well.

          Liked by 4 people

  10. We’re kind of a teacherly group…

    I’ve taught:
    – kindergarten, which you’ve heard about, and a little pre-school
    – grade school music, though this turned out to be mostly singing with my guitar
    – 5th grade English (this and the previous entry were in trade for a full salary when I had only the morning kdgn. job at the parochial school)
    – international folk dancing – recreational groups mostly, plus one semester at St. Theresa’s (now defunct)
    – class on downsizing at our neighborhood co-op
    – beginning piano (to one student, briefly – kind of like K-two)

    There may be others – seems like I’m often in teaching mode.
    I’ve thought I might enjoy teaching one or two people to sew. It’s such a useful skill that I lament isn’t being passed on very well to next generation.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. This reminds me of something funny. When Child was about 8, her three cousins started getting homeschooled by my baby sister. Child commented that she should be able to be homeschooled too. I turned to her and I said “so you want to stay home with me and have me be your teacher all day?” She never asked again.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. In my teaching opportunities, I’ve noted the value in not teaching the “how” of a matter but the “why”.
    “Why” is the question that prompts a more complete answer and the better learning experience.

    Liked by 4 people

  13. Talking about teaching, can someone tell me if the following sentence, which I have copied and pasted from the Chicago Tribune, is grammatically correct: “…their son, Jody Whelan, had long since took over the reins of the independent label…”?


      1. That’s what I thought. It really confuses me when a publication like the Chicago Tribune publishes a sentence like that.


        1. PJ if you feel more printed stuff these days is inaccurate and glitchy on grammar, you are surely right. I’ve been shocked over and over by mistakes of the sort that once were caught and corrected in editing but now are not. Standards have slipped, I suppose for financial reasons.

          Liked by 1 person

  14. I saw a very funny newspaper article title yesterday from my home town newspaper:


    If you didn’t know that there actually is a family with the name of Schmuck, you might think the paper was being opinionated.

    Liked by 4 people

  15. Sometimes we don’t realize we’re teaching.
    I had a young lady as a work study. She was nice and we just had a good time working together. I didn’t realize what an impact I was having on her until her mom told me so. We’ve stayed in touch; she’ll graduate in May with her 4 year. She’s been telling me the date and expecting me there, and just last night wrote that she can only invite 2 people. Of course I figured that was coming, but I wrote back, “So me and your mom? 🙂 ”
    She said she thought about that, but her Dad would like to attend. 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I think you’re right about that, Ben. If we do our job well, we’ll once in a while have an impact that we won’t realize in the moment. A young woman I worked with back in the early eighties, and then lost track of when I moved on to another job, tracked me down twenty years later. She calls me her mentor, though I had no idea that’s how she viewed me at the time. I think she projected onto me qualities that I didn’t really have, but whatever the case may be, it feels good to know that somewhere along the line, you inspired and helped someone.

      Liked by 5 people

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