Teach Jewelry Classes with “Something Extra”
by Michelle Buettner.
When teaching jewelry classes, one important asset that allows you to stand out from another instructor who may be teaching a similar class, is your ability to give your students “more”.
Just like going the extra mile and providing exceptional customer service when you sell your jewelry online, at trade shows, at craft fairs and other events, as an instructor (which, as you know, is nice way to add extra income to your jewelry business) you should strive to provide something “extra” for your students.
What Was Missing
from Other Jewelry Classes
A few years back I signed up to take a jewelry class during an annual bead show.
I was so excited I could hardly contain myself. As I entered the room, I was warmly greeted by the instructor and then promptly told that “You will need to pay an extra $10.00 because the price of our kits increased after everyone prepaid and registered.”
Okay, not exactly what I had expected. I mean, it was only $10.00, but still, good thing I had cash on hand – the exact amount too – because no one, even the instructor, had change! Hmmm….
As I sat in another class with a completely different instructor that same year, I was eager to learn all this instructor had to offer because I had signed up for the “advanced class” that was “guaranteed to push your skills over the top” and I was ready to soak it all up!
However, I experienced a complete block when she instructed us to be free and “just create anything your heart tells you”.
“You’re kidding me?” I thought. I can “just create” in the comfort of my own studio in my PJ’s and slippers, complete with a cup of tea on my bench and smooth jazz playing in the background!
But here, now … to just create, oh, the pressure was on!
Then, in yet another class, I was asked by the woman sitting beside me if I knew how to do a certain wire wrapping technique because “The instructor wasn’t very clear and there aren’t an printed instructions for the piece of jewelry she’s passing around. She’s helping other students and I don’t want to interrupt her or have her repeat herself.”
So, with only the verbal instructions and visual demonstration that I could barely see from the back of the room, I assisted as best I could and together my new friend and I made what faintly resembled our instructor’s creation.
As an instructor myself, I look back on my experiences and now believe these were some of the best classes I’ve ever taken.
Not because of any particular technique I learned, (I did learn some new techniques by the way!) but because they helped me immensely in discovering ways to make my own classes better.
They helped me build classes that provide my students with the tools they need to succeed after they leave my class and helped me create classes my students will recommend to their friends!
A List of the “Extras”
I Provide for All My Students
Use this list (and build upon it!) to help you create jewelry classes where your students will feel they have been given “more”.
- Email your students one week prior to class (if you have their email address) to remind them of any supplies and/or tools they will need, and let them know to email you with questions prior to class should they have any.
- Print out a “Welcome” sheet. This is something I have waiting for my students when they arrive that “Welcomes” them, asks them to turn off their phones, explains where the restrooms are, tells them where they can get snacks / beverages (if available) and lets them know to ask as many questions as they need to ask and to relax and have fun!
- Provide a business card and an information sheetwith all your contact information and website (if you have one), along with a copy of your instructor bio.Students want to know who they are taking a class from even if it may have listed tons of information about you on the registration form/website.
- Print out a simple class schedule. This can have bullets on what you’re teaching and when breaks will be taken, etc.
- Print out step-by-step instructions of your class,complete with illustrations or photos, if possible.Black and white photos are better than not having any photos or illustrations at all.(I know these last few steps sound like a given, but I’ve walked away from classes where all I have are my own little chicken scratches on a scrap piece of paper and my “creation”.)
- Print out a list of various websites, stores/shops, and magazines where students can find additional supplies and tools, books and jewelry making information – and even some jewelry blogs or jewelry information sites that you enjoy that your students might also find useful.
- Start class on time and introduce yourself.Tell your students a bit about who you are and how you got to where you are today.Keep this short – about a minute or two at most.
- Ask your students to introduce themselvesand share a bit of information about what they hope to gain from the class, what classes they’ve taken before, or what mediums they normally work in or what types of jewelry they enjoy making the most.(Limit them to about a minute or you won’t have time left to teach what they came for!)
- Provide a “Newsletter Sign-Up Sheet”so your students can be kept abreast of all your latest jewelry classes, jewelry sales, contests, shows and/or events.Make sure to let them know they do not have to sign up for your newsletters and that they can unsubscribe at anytime if they do choose to sign up.
- Provide an “Instructor Evaluation Form” at the end of class and ask your students if they would kindly fill out the evaluation form (anonymously of course) to help assist you in providing even better classes and instruction!
By doing these simple things, your students will understand that you want them to get the most out of their time with you, and to succeed well after your jewelry class has ended!
Author Michelle Buettner is the owner and jewelry designer behind MiShel Designs. She is a pearl specialist and holds a Graduate Pearls Diploma from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). Michelle specializes in creating jewelry that is stylish and fun with classic, clean lines.
She taught jewelry classes at the Manning House Bead Show during the 2009 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show.
Keep up with Michelle on her MiShel Designs blog.