The perfect Student

Image result for old sewing machine

I give classes now and then, mostly to women who want to learn how to restore and reupholster a piece of furniture. Most of them are pretty crafty, to begin with, and they know how to sew.

I consider the classes my personal entertainment since we have so much fun together. I don’t feel like a teacher, more like a friend, who provides a helping hand and some guidance. A few weeks ago, a company called and asked me, if I could teach one of their employees and automatically I assumed it would be a woman. Truth to be told, I didn’t even ask. Instead, I wanted to know more about the reason for the classes.

We talked for a long time, and I was stunned when I heard, I would teach someone to take over the reupholstery department in a small company that builds mobile, medical buses. It’s not really furniture -at least not in my books- but rather equipment like stools, chairs, benches and cornices that they build from scratch. Quite a task for someone who has never done that.

“Something different,” I thought, and then, at the very end of the conversation, I asked for the student’s name and wanted to know how much sewing practice my new pupil had. “The name is Bob, and he can’t sew.” B-O-B like in male? Holy Toledo, I am going to have a male student who can’t operate a sewing machine. “Well, that’s going to be a trainwreck,” I thought to myself.

I did not even finish my thought when I got angry with myself. I cannot believe I would judge the talent of a student based on gender. I am a woman, I had my share of gender discrimination -still, experience it to this day. How dare I do the same that was done to other women and me. I am not biased. I know better than that.

The fist class was scheduled for a Saturday -just him and me- and I wondered what I had gotten myself into. I was ready for the challenge. They must think highly of him, or they wouldn’t pay a beginner and an advanced class.

The sewing part, I have to admit that made me nervous.

My pupil showed up 15 minutes early -what I like- and I placed him right in front of a sewing machine. We started the introduction from human to machine, and a couple of hours later he left my workroom with a small pillow under his arm that he had, cut and sewed all by himself.

I watched him walk to the car and couldn’t help but notice how gently he transported the pillow. The following Saturday I asked him about it, and he said he slept with it and it made me smile.

We are already in the advanced class now. He is a very genuine young man, has a lot of potentials and will go far in life. He is eager to learn, and he listens and asks the right questions. He will make a step forward in his career, and I can’t help but feel proud knowing that I had something to do with it.

I wish all my students would be like him. Once again, I am so grateful for lives lessons.

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22 thoughts on “The perfect Student

  1. Found myself smiling through my tears when I finished reading this. How far we have come, and yet how far we still have to go! And even if and when we get there, I still think the human touch, or at least the human thought process and possibly even a human emotion or two, will always be required in manufacturing or assembling anything truly useful and/or meaningful in life.

  2. What a wonderful experience for you both! He must have felt such a sense of accomplishment with that pillow. It speaks to your teaching abilities Bridget- you are awesome.

  3. I love you, I love Bob, and I love this story!!

    What you didn’t mention was how the company got your name to begin with. That kind of recognition is such a huge compliment to you and your ability. I’m sure by now, Bob is starting to appreciate how very lucky he is!

    • My hobby, or what I do now for a living is a dying art. There are not too many of us left -at least not here where I am. I have a pretty good reputation so it seems and they found my web page.

      As for Bob, he is great. We have two more Saturday’s together and it looks like there will be another class after that.

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