Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Teaching - Bad Class

Gee, Elaine, I’ve never had a class of volunteers that bad. Now
teaching public school is another thing. I’ll never forget the
6th period class of 9th grade biology students that I had the
first year I taught. Most of the boys were taking it for the
second and third time and would have been sent to boy’s school
if they had been expelled. This would be bad enough for an
experienced teacher but the school didn’t even have the curtsey
to tell me. I think all teachers have their war stories. The next
group will be a good one.

Marilyn Smith

What kind of class is this? If the students are coming on a
voluntary basis, you might invite those unhappy with the
workshop to leave and apply for a partial refund.If it’s not a
required course, you shouldn’t have to put up with intolerable
behavior. Some "students"get their jollies pushing a teacher’s
buttons and trying to get him to lose his cool. It’s a power
thing . Often , there’s just one ‘killer’ with leadership ability
who sets the tone and captures the class . Once that student is
out, everything works smoothly. The whole trick is, NEVER LET
THEM KNOW THEY ARE GETTING TO YOU. As long as you know what you
are doing, like what you are doing, and know how to show others
how to do it,and have infinite patience and a sense of humor,
you’ll come through just fine. Concentrate on the ones who want
to learn. Good luck…D.

    just chalk this one up to a "stone of a class".Remember,
some days are diamonds and some days are stones! good luck in
your next class.Hang in there! 

Hi Elaine, I agree. Hang in. I’m sure 12 out of 13 is a fine
rate. Truth be told it’s the best I get anyway! as some people I
may rub up the wrong way whatever I do (I recently had one tell
me with ill-concealed scorn ‘god you’re so damn enthusiastic!’).

Nice thing is, many students accept this and look for something
concordant in what we’re saying/demonstrating, or something in
what the other students are doing, and don’t come on heavy to
us. That’s the sensible way to approach it; make the most of any

But you may have got a Blamer. Blames the authority figure. I
just need to get one Blamer and I’m in tears too!

B r i a n =A0 A d a m J e w e l l e r y E y e w e a r =A0

Digest Message: Teaching - Bad Class

Beginning of thread: Amery Elizabeth Carriere <>

hi all. I wanted to say how wonderfully supportive everyone’s
comments about Elaine’s class have been. The funny thing is,
these comments can be applied to almost any situation and there
is much wisdom to be taken! So, I will thank the group for
providing insight into some of my life situations. y’all are

-amery in woke up this morning and it was cold, venice, CA

From: “Eva M. Ananiewicz”

I have been teaching gemology for 12 years now and just added in
the past couple of years a very long program in jewelry
appraising. Teaching adults is sometimes difficult because they
have more reasons for not coming to class, not learning. I have
always viewed my difficult students as my learning experience as
a teacher. I had one student who had read a lot of books on
gemstones and should have been in the GG program. I was
challenged on an issue, when they corrected me in class. I stood
by my because I research all my material. I let them
have their two minutes of speaking like an expert then said my
statements were supported by many books and my training as a GG.
Needless, to say they made a horses ass out of themselves. I
continued class and let it pass, then the next week, I asked the
class how many looked up the question at hand? Most of the
class did, I said this is a learning experience take it as such
you just had your first lesson in finding out useful

The student became quiet after that, unfortunately, if they
would have been more diplomatic perhaps we all could have learned
more from them.

As long as you know you do a good job and the majority of the
reviews are good, that is all that matters. There is always one
every now and then, just remember you are the teacher and they
are there for a reason.

Tampa, Florida

From: “Linda Moughemer”

    Anyone who wants to see some high school artwork from last
spring, check out


Tried to check out your site. Is my system glitched, again?
Came back with a couldn’t find message even though I could access
other sites.

Teach in rural upstate New York. Attidue toward art is just
about the same here except that a past school board president’s
daughters(2) thought I was the best thing since sliced bread (the
pre-med one is studing art in Scotland this semester, the nuclear
astro- physicist one still keeps in touch and paints)) so that
helped. (BTW ,I thought the two girls were wonderful.) Have
been teaching for 25 years. Currently teach Basic Studio,
Drawing and Painting, Sculpture, Ceramics( wheel and handbuilt),
Metals and Jewelry, and have my own custom jewelry business
(really slow, thank God or I’d be totally nuts) and do a couple
shows a year… I’d invite you to look at my web site for
students but I saw it for the first time this year on an IBM and
it is totally botched. Looked fine on a Mac last May but is now
embarrassing. Hope your school year is going well. Linda

From: Ian & Allyson Morrison

I’d like to offer a hint about jewelry (or any) teaching. Offer
the students a brief written outline of what you will cover. You
can photocopy and distribute these “class notes” each session, or
before the course starts. A good student can learn a lot from
these notes even before the first class. Students who are rank
beginners, (or perhaps don’t know what they are getting into) may
do better if they can visualize the process and review step. I
find this system helpful as a student and as a teacher. Jewelry
depends so much on the visual, that a diagram says a lot more
than a description. Lastly, in every class there has been at
least one student who had no idea how jewelry/stones, were
fashioned. That person will be upset at the amount or type or
work involved. You cannot please everyone.



Hi Jurgen! Although we have never met, I hope to assure everyone
on the List, that you are a fine teacher’s teacher. Your
philosophy is impressive and you strike the balance a class needs
to take in new a rate that can accommodate the group
plus that willingness to assist at either “end”–the speedy and
the slow. It must be very rewarding studying with you. In thirty
years of teaching, I had one seriously hostile student who
turned out to be angry with herself and most people with whom she
came into contact. There was a serious challenge there to
"reach" her and no level of charm could have altered the
confrontational pose she chose. Happily a dean changed her
schedule because she was angrier in a different class and our
group was spared further disruption and peace reigned again. It
was unsettling and I have not forgotten. Thank you for your many
fine contributions to Orchid.

Ellie Schmidt

From: “St. Eligius & Co.”

Elaine - I’ve taught at several schools, and in only one of the
classes did we have a problem with a ‘problem child’ (25 yrs.
old!) an agressive poseur, who enjoyed disagreeing at every turn
and would show up late to classes. The school (Academy of Art in
SF) has a policy of removing disruptive students after a
counseling session, and that was the route i took. A far more
frequently recurring problem that i faced was fellow teachers and
administrators who would make every effort to undercut any
funding for classroom/shop improvements. This, in a school that
had students working at card-table benches with folding metal
chairs and two flex-shafts for a 7 students. Politics and egos.
That’ll kill your humanitarianism every time. In one school
(adult night classes) the ‘day’ teacher insisted that students
search the students after classes or pay for the losses myself.
They finally determined that the thefts were coming from the
custodian crew but not after having to listen to this pomous
excuse for a human being try to lord it over everyone. God save
us from the xenophobes. The end result is that i do not teach any
more. I would rather say what i have to in my work and answer
questions when asked. Peace. Kim - in the fog-mists of San

  ...Remove negativity and charm the students and you will be
successful. I welcome comments. 


Having experienced the incomparable pleasure of being one of
your students for three weeks of classes, I can attest to the
success of your techniques. You most defineately do charm the
class the first day, and I have seen you patiently tolerate the
"I know it all" attitude from those in your class who were only
seeking a piece of paper which would give credibility to their
claims of skill. The truth is that we all have something to
learn from each other, no matter what our skill level is. The
one aspect of your “style” that had a profound impact on my work,
however, I must admit had nothing to do with your skill on the
bench, but on four words that I heard in the background almost
constantly throughout the classes. Those words were “You can do
it”. To this day, when I find that I’ve taken on something that
may be a bit over my head, those words ring in my ears and I sit
down and just do it.

Thank you, Jurgen.
Sharon Z.


Thanks for this post. I am happy to see that my efforts paid
off. I think that confidence is a major part of learning and
there is very little room for negativity. Thanks again. You are a
living example that this method works.

Jurgen J. Maerz

I’d like to echo Sharon’s comments about Jurgen’s teaching
methods. He’s easily the best jewelry teacher I’ve had. He is
friendly, easy-going, patient, and really knows what he’s talking
about. In other words, it’s not his fault that I can’t channel
set to save my life :slight_smile:

Thanks again, Jurgen.
Karen in Colorado

Hi Elaine, Wow, what a response this thread has drawn out! I
teach a 'Found Object Jewelry" class at a local arts high school.
These are kids that have been selected through portfolio review,
out of 100’s that apply. I teach this class only once a year and
am hired because I am a content expert not a teacher. I work
with the senior visual students and I am always amazed at the way
they influence and inspire my own found object work. It is
never easy to start the class though, these kids are pierced,
tatooed and self mutilated beyond belief but are truly some of
the rawest talent I have ever been around. Many wear their
attitudes as their hallmark but even these kids have the same
thing in common with me. We love to express ourselves through
the things we make with our hands. The absolute thing that makes
me the most comfortable is working on a piece at the same time as
they are and sharing discoveries. I have had days where I wish I
wouldnt have to go in that room but more days I am inspired and
feel honored to work with them. I think the single most
important thing I do with my class is a feild trip on our first
day of class to a local junkyard where we hunt for ‘parts’ to use
in class. It wakes a passion in them and many adorn themselves
right then. . .“ohmygad, he stuck that thing in his ear!”

Hang in there-look for the inspiration in them