Christa’s Soapbox – More Thoughts About Teaching

So a few months ago I shared the fun news that I had been nominated as one of 9 finalists for Teacher of the Year presented by the Professional Quilter. It pleases me to no end that the lovely and talented Jacquie Gering was selected – she is amazing and is one of my modern quilting heroes, for sure! The rest of the nominees are some pretty outstanding women as well: Susan Brittingham, Lisa Calle, Amy Gibson, Pam Holland, Bonnie Hunter Liz Kettle, and Vikki Pignatelli.

20140702_toty1It’s so fun to see my name on the cover in company with other fabulous quilt teachers!

The way the process works is that each year, students can nominate their favorite teachers in the quilting industry on the Professional Quilter’s wesbite. (Thanks to whoever it was out there that took the time to write about me – it’s much appreciated!)

In turn, the teachers answer a series of questions about their teaching style, what influences them and why they love to do what they do. As Bonnie Hunter mentioned on her blog recently, she said it was sort of akin to writing a term paper. She was right on the money about that, LOL!! But since I love to write or talk about quilting whenever I’m given the chance, I was eager to respond.

teacher of the year image

Each of us was given a small summary in the magazine, so I thought it would be fun to share just a few of my answers with you….

How do you encourage creativity in your students?

I encourage creativity by allowing students to make their own choices when it comes to choosing fabrics and try to offer a variety of techniques in the same class. I love it when students come up with a different way of doing things other than how I have chosen to teach it. After all, we all have something to share and can always learn from each other.

What accomplishments of your students make you proudest?

I am most proud of my students when they finish their own quilts. My favorite class to teach is a start-to-finish quilting class where the students learn every step of the quilt-making process from cutting to binding. Nothing beats the look of joy on a student’s face when he or she proudly proclaims, “I made it myself!”

How do you encourage students’ further growth in quilting, beyond the formal class?

I encourage my students to seek out independent study beyond class. I love to suggest books and magazines they can read, guilds and organizations they can join, and blogs and websites they can follow to keep up the inspiration outside of class. I also encourage them to make friends with each other during my classes. Over the years it has given me a sense of satisfaction to see students who met in my classes go on to be lifelong friends, encouraging each other and learning more about quilting together.

What do you feel is your greatest contribution to the field of quilting?

I feel that my greatest contribution to quilting is fostering and encouraging a “can-do” attitude. I’ve seen so many students achieve growth personally, and with their quilting, when they finally believe that they can do anything they put their minds to!

Why do you teach?

I teach because it gives me a sense of personal fulfillment when another person becomes as passionate about quilting as I am. I want my students to feel the same joy I feel when creating a functional work of art with their own hands. I love it when their faces light up with that spark of excitement when considering the endless creative possibilities!

20140702_toty2There were about a dozen more Q&A’s which would be a little too lengthy to share here, but I hope you enjoyed reading just a few of the highlights. 🙂 As I begin my newest adventures in quilting by traveling to teach starting next year, hopefully I’ll be able to meet many of you in person!

Click here to see my current teaching schedule and feel free to email me if you are interested in scheduling me to come teach or lecture for your group or event!

6 thoughts on “Christa’s Soapbox – More Thoughts About Teaching

  1. taylors726 says:

    Congratulations! Thank you so much for all you do to help us on our quilting journey! Love your blog & your newsletter… Inspirational is definitely the right word for it!

  2. treadlemusic says:

    Your inclusion in this list is so well deserved!! Your goal to foster a “can do” attitude in your students is exactly the overriding goal in my workshops/blog/etc. “Demystifying” the art of machine quilting has been my thought behind pretty much all that I share or teach. Like all skills, determined/repeated practice time is needed but the outcomes always amaze!!!! Congrats to you!!!!! And hugs……………………………….

  3. Pat Sell says:

    You are the first quilt person I ever truly paid attention to on the internet. I love your style and your willingness to be humble. The greastest compliment I can give you is to say you are definitely NOT one of the Quilt Police!! Keep it up! You are an inspiration! 🙂

  4. Evie H says:

    Yay for you! Congratulations (again)! It has been a great trip watching your growth. I enjoy your “soapbox.”

  5. quiltingjetgirl says:

    Congratulations! That is definitely an impressive list of people, and I really enjoyed reading your answers to some of their questions. I love following along your blog, so I am off to take a look at your teaching schedule. 🙂

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