Monday, July 23, 2012

A lesson on teaching- A Flair For Buttons post with a story

Happy Monday!
A rare day off for this girl.
I'm such a mess.
Yesterday I showed up to work at 10am.
The store doesn't open till NOON.
I thought it was saturday.
Today I will share a page I made for A Flair For Buttons and a story about my first adult crafty teaching experience using the Zutter Bind It All to make a mini book.
Materials: A Flair For Buttons pins, Scrap FX hexagon Insta frame chipboard, Echo Park Take Note papers, Studio Calico doily rub-ons, stamps from Cocoa Daisy.
I've taught unruly 3rd graders in Detroit. In July. There was no air conditioning.
I've tutored english as a second language to sleepy 6th graders in Littleton, Colorado.
NOTHING prepared me for the trouncing I would receive at the hands of an adult student with a determination to leave with a perfect project.

Here's the thing (and I've said it a MILLION times before) perfection is a false pursuit.
At least on the first try.
I'm not trying to avoid blame here.
I gave the wrong directions on making covers using the Zutter Bind It All.
You have to insert the cover board into a "notch" when punching to get that perfect 3/16ths of an inch overage.
You bet your booty I won't be forgetting THAT again.
I was so freaked out by how angry my student was, I passed up a chance to teach the GOLDEN RULE.
Michelle's golden rule is:
If you MUCK it up
I muck up entirely too often.
When I do,  I move on to the next step.
If I let myself get caught up in mistakes I would NEVER get anything done or learn anything new.
LOVING July's Cocoa Daisy stamp sets! So GLAD I have a sub!
The ampersand is a fave from the June kit.
But this tough customer wasn't having ANY of it.
She paid for this class and it "wasn't her fault".
Never mind she was holding everyone else up and spreading some major bad mojo.

"Did Michelle put the kibosh on this situation?" you may ask.
My brain was buzzing with all kinds of evil judgements on my failure.
I actually had a flashback to failures of the past and re-lived the range of emotions I felt then.
Isn't it awful how we savage ourselves in our heads?
It's totally counter productive.
While you are busy kicking yourself and feeling awful, life goes on.
Instead of you being the "hero" of your story, you become your own victim.
Hipster Braniac flair button- FUN!
In my case, two students figured out how to make the cover correctly and offered to help Toughie McMuffin punch out a new spine.
And Toughie says:
"They should pay YOU to run this class. You are the expert."
I never said I was an expert.

Later, when I was going over the disaster with a co-worker (who was there for training and wasn't allowed extra materials) we realized we could have cut a 2 inch strip of card stock in a matching color, added it to the edge and punched through that to get the correct alignment.

Everyone liked the the mistakes cover better- it was more "creative" and looked like an actual book.

If I had just kept calm I would have hit on that solution but you need to keep your head from getting into a self-flagellating rut in order to have the flexibility to think creatively.

Lesson learned.
Smiling. It's good.
MuChOs SmOoChEs!


  1. I like this too!
    So full of details to "look".
    The elements are divine.: D

  2. Aww man, sorry things didn't go as planned and you had a sour grape on your hands, yuck!!! My hobby is all about mistakes..I live by that "It's not a mistake, it's a design element!" Some people just...well they're just some people, right?! I LOVE all the great layering and details in your definitely did NOT "Muck up" this one ;) Have a great day!

  3. Michelle, love the ppr mix. Where are u working? And ha ha on getting to work yay early. Saturday I woke up @ 7:03 and was mad because I was going to be late for work, then I realized that it was Saturday.

  4. Hi Michelle! It must have been a long time, I had no idea you were teaching, how awesome!!! I'd love to attend a class and meet you, you have the best personality plus you're super talented!!!

  5. First of all, love that page - of course! That ampersand stamp is really cool! There are so many great details on this page and I love how although your title is small, it still totally pops! What a bummer about the bad apple in your class! That is just no good! But, I love your take on it :) I wish I lived in your neck of the woods, I would sign up for a class from you ASAP!

  6. Isn't it terrible the way we can beat ourselves up and be our own worst critics? I love all of the elements of your LO!

  7. OMG Michelle - I would have melted into a complete wreck on the floor - I don't handle confrontation well. I'm loving that "how rude" gif so much, tea spluttering chuckles ahoy here! And very true - nobodies perfect and the classes I've taken where the teacher has made a boo boo we all just laugh about it - it's relief really that even the so called experts make mistakes... and I thought in art & craft there were no mistakes just happy accidents? Ah well. Like everyone else has said - wish I lived closer - would love a class taken by you. I'm surprised you got ANYTHING done - have a feeling everyone would spend most of their time laughing! (With you not at you I hasten to add!)

    1. Happy accidents indeed- except when you are using the Zutter- you gotta punch those holes perfectly or your minibook is ruined. I know this now- I KNOW it!!! I did very much turn into a puddle on the floor- an angry one that made resentful little Hmm! noises. Thankfully I had a couple of helpful students who figured things out and helped get the class back on track. Next time will be awesome- or at least the mistake won't be my fault. :)

  8. wow! totally love that layout.

    and sorry that lady was so nasty. i bet you're way cooler and way more creative than she is :)

  9. This page is gorgeous! I love that your mojo hasn't slowed down at all with all the extra things you have on your plate. Sorry that you had to deal with a jerk in the class, I know I would have loved to be in it!

  10. Michelle, I understand why you felt like you did - I would too! But it's your first time, and even if it wasn't - people can still make mistakes.

    I love that page! So much going on :)

  11. Adults really are the worst to teach - I teach at high school and always dread doing training sessions for the teachers cos they're always awkward! Much more than the kids as they know better! x

  12. Michelle, I so hope that person hasn't put you off teaching - I can just imagine your enthusiasm and 'va-va-voom', which would mean far more to me than a perfect project (I never produce perfect projects at classes, usually staggering out with scraps of paper and plans to finish that never happen BUT also renewed inspiration and ideas.

    I would have SHRIVELLED UP in your position and would never have thought my way out of the situation :(

    One day you will look back on this experience and laugh. Yes you will :D

    Great layout, keep on smiling!


    1. Not at all! I love teaching and talking to other crafty folks! I think this experience has made me a much better teacher because next time I'll be doing less kicking myself and more- WAIT- how can I fix? this type thinking. I don't even blame that customer. I think she was put there to teach ME to be more flexible in my thinking. Best of all now that everything that COULD go wrong did- all I have is UP. The next group I teach will have a better experience. :)

    2. That's great to hear :) Onwards and upwards, is my positive motto!

  13. Ooo! Masterful layering! And I really like vertical anchor you've created on the right-center-ish area of the layout!

    Glad everything worked out in your class--I like your take on the experience that the student was their to teach you some flexibility, and I know those other students were there to support you through it! You are on your way to becoming the Zutter expert! I had the rep at a job that I was queen of the copy-maker. Why? Well, unbeknownst to my coworkers, it was because I messed it up so often, that I learned a crap load about the machine in trying to fix it! Remember, before Thomas Edison invented the lightbulb, he invented 1000 ways NOT to invent a lightbulb! Lol!


Ok peeps lets CHAT! You tell me what you REALLY think and I PROMISE to keep it open minded here.