Yesterday, I attended a jewelry class. The end product would be a beaded bracelet. I was excited to learn something new and to spend time with my friends. I learned how to make the bracelet, but I learned some other things, too.
1. I was a first-timer. I had never made a piece of jewelry before. There were common vocabulary words for “beaders” that I didn’t know and I soon became confused.
2. My friend and I were the only two newcomers to jewelry making. We felt a little isolated and silly for asking so many questions.
3. The instructor went too quickly. When asked questions, she became a little cranky, saying to everyone after I had asked one in particular, “Remember, I have typed up all the instructions so that you will know what to do.”
4. I found the instructions difficult to follow. The drawings looked foreign to me, and there were abbreviations I did not understand. I wanted the instructor to model it for me first, then I could understand the drawings and use them when I got lost or forgot what came next.
5. It was difficult to talk to my friends. Each time I tried, I made mistakes on the beading. It took all of my brain cells and concentration to do the complicated beading.
6. After repeating steps several times, I felt more comfortable. I had some success and the bracelet began to resemble the picture in the booklet.
7. When we needed more thread, we had to attach the new thread with a surgical knot. If I remember correctly, an intern on a popular medical TV show spent hours trying to learn to make a surgical knot. How was I supposed to create one and still finish my bracelet in the allotted time? Panic!
Well, I did complete a bracelet that loosely represented the picture given to us by the instructor. I felt proud I had persevered and completed the project. But, I also came away with a powerful understanding of what many of our students must feel like in the classrooms in our schools.