My second frame building class at UBI is finished. My first post-class impression is that it went really well. Everybody came away with a frame they built with their own hands and they all seemed really pleased with what they’d accomplished. I haven’t taught enough classes to know if this is going to happen to me, personally, every time, but I feel fairly attached to this group. We spent a lot of time together over the past two weeks. We’ve gone through it together, you know -- it's kind of like childbirth -- and I’ve watched as they’ve struggled to grasp a huge load of new information and then translate this into a tangible, useful machine. It requires not only a sustained level of concentration that most people aren’t accustomed to, but also the physical practice of transforming ideas into steal using heat and tools in ways that most of these people hadn’t ever done before. It can be stressful, and it’s really tiring. Two weeks is a long time to intently focus your attention on any new subject, and this group was awesome. And they did it. They worked it out and built their frames and I think each of them had a good experience doing it.
For myself, I learned some things about the process of teaching, and feel like I became a little better at breaking down the steps of building a bike frame into bite-sized portions so that others can follow along. There are some parts of the process that I want to focus on and improve, and there are always things that I can learn about how to present such a large amount of information in a way that doesn’t put people to sleep or stress them out and mire them in so many possibilities that it immobilizes their brains. This really happens, and people seem especially susceptible in the afternoon, an hour or so after lunch when food is still heavy and soporiferous, and their minds and hands have been active since early in the morning. There were a couple of times when I prattled on about some bike this-&-that and saw people’s eyes spiral off into a sort of semi-conscious open-eyed state that reminds one of zombies or the severely damaged, and I had to stop talking and snap my fingers in front of their eyes, send them back to their work benches to move around, file, slot and burn more steel to stay awake.
Teaching is an art form unto itself. Group psychology and all that. I feel like I did a decent job of it, and I enjoy it, and want to keep doing it. There’s a lot to learn from each class, and I’m going to work to refine what I do and how I do it. Just like anything, I guess. It really makes me respect those people I’ve come across in my life who’ve had that special ability to teach, to share ideas in a way that invites people to learn.
I want to thank each of you who were in my class for putting up with me and for sticking it out and building yourselves a bike. That’s really something to be proud of. I won’t name you all here, but each of you did a great job. Here below are a few more photos of the class. And yes, coming very soon is the video…