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.