Deciding to Teach Jewelry Making Classes – Part 2

By on October 26, 2015
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by Judy Ellis,

WireJewelry Article for October 26th, 2015

Part 2 – Deciding to Teach Jewelry Making Classes

by Dale “Cougar” Armstrong ©2015

Today we hear from Dale in Part 2 of her article called Deciding to Teach Jewelry Making Classes.

Dale writes: “I hope you wrote down your personal answers to the first two questions in Part 1. Now let’s lightly explore each possible situation.”

1. WHY do you think you’d like to become an instructor?

      • To learn even more about your own art form?  
        • Good answer! I always tell potential instructors to “Never Teach Anything You Cannot Make In Your Sleep!!” Seriously, your students will make mistakes that you have never seen before, and with a smile on your face, YOU have to know how to correct them in front of the entire class! Students will also ask you all types of questions about your art form, as you will be considered an expert by them. Therefore it’s smart to both try, and read up on every style of whatever media you are teaching; thus increasing your own knowledge about what’s out there, so you can share it with your class.
      • So you can travel and explore your country or the world as a “working vacation”?
        • Yes, “travel-teaching” can provide the opportunity to explore new places, however you must remember that the extra cost of a holiday should never be added into the class/kit fee that your students will pay (and although the travel expenses will be deductible on your income taxes, the extra meals, nights in a hotel, etc, are not). These side-trip adventures should be planned around the teaching gig, rather than choosing a place to visit and then trying to book classes nearby. Of course, as you build your reputation as a great teacher, it is possible that foreign locations will contact You! (Yes, I will be composing a future article titled, “Become a Fabulous Instructor”.)
      • To make more money?
        • Honestly, I chuckle every time someone chooses this answer, because most students think their instructors net a generous income. (Not!) Making money by teaching depends on a lot of things. The expenses involved can include: teaching space, advertising, supplies to make class kits, including packaging; extra tools to share; the time spent typing and printing handout instructions, and for putting kits together; hotel rooms, meals, and transportation.   Now, how about YOUR pay? In other words, are you earning an hourly teaching fee, a per student fee, or a by-the-class fee? (Now you know why most professional instructors require a minimum number of prepaid students, a week or more before they leave their home to travel-teach!)   However, if you teach at home or in a local rent free location, do not provide kits or tools to share, you can earn more than those who travel-teach, but… keep in mind that you are quite possibly educating your own competition.
      • Because you enjoy sharing your passion while helping others learn to make jewelry, perhaps begin their own business, or supplement their own income?
        • This is the main reason that “I” personally teach … now. And probably not the reason many now professional instructors would have chosen first either. After teaching for about four years, several of my students began sharing their success stories with me; how they were seriously supplementing their family income and how proud they and their families were. That was it. I then fell in love with all aspects of my personally chosen career.

From Dale: How did I begin teaching?

I began making wire jewelry as a way to set the many stones my family and I had collected and cut for many, many years. (Beads did not even enter my vocabulary, or inventory, until the mid 90’s!) Like most of my students, I began at the back kitchen table. One day a friend asked me to teach her how to make a pendant, and I did; then a bracelet … and so on, until the day she asked if I would consider teaching her co-workers in a local conference room, for money. I kind of “winged it” as a favor, but found that I really enjoyed teaching others! And, as they say (whomever “they” are) the rest is history.


Be sure to check in next time, when Dale will review both the WHERE and the WHAT questions from Part 1.

Happy Wrapping!

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  1. avatar

    rita cihlar

    October 26, 2015 at 6:44 am

    I enjoyed the ywo articles on teaching as i teach at our clubhouse where we live in tucson. I found a great deal of useful information that I can and will use. Thank you so much.

  2. avatar

    Emile Whitaker

    November 15, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    What are your recommendation to clean solder flux off Nickel Silver Wire thanks, Emile Whitaker