There’s an old saying that goes, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” In the crochet world, those who can often do as well as teach. As a crocheter who earns a living from technical editing, designing and instruction, teaching others to crochet is incredibly satisfying to me. I was certified by the Craft Yarn Council as a Crochet Teacher in 2006. Since then, I’ve taught students from 8- to 80-years-old in individual and group sessions. I’ve taught at World Wide Knit in Public Day celebrations and Maker Faire, on subway commutes, at family and friend gatherings, and in the Continuing Education Department of a community college where I created beginner and intermediate level courses. I’ve taught one student in her living room and 18 in a classroom. Why teach? The answer is obvious: You love to crochet and want to share your knowledge (and, perhaps, get paid for it). But it goes beyond that. Teaching creates a great connection between teacher and student. There’s instant gratification for both parties when the stitches are formed correctly and the fabric begins to take shape. For the teacher, the learning goes both ways. I’ve discovered that teaching isn’t simply about putting a hook in someone’s hand and showing them how to manipulate the yarn correctly. It’s about finding how to effectively reach and teach that individual in a way that will make sense to her. This is an ongoing process as you work with each new student. Start by getting acquainted with your student’s capabilities. Why and what do they want to crochet? Do they have any knowledge of crochet or have they ever held a hook and yarn? What other hands-on crafts do they enjoy? Learning about your students helps you formulate your teaching methods. Each of us learns differently. An integral key to teaching is figuring out how your student absorbs information. I’ve found that people learn in one or more of three different ways: by hearing the instruction, seeing the sequence of stitching, and/ or reading the instruction. As I teach, I work with all of these means simultaneously; I explain the stitch, I demonstrate the stitch, and I write how to make the stitch (printed handouts are a must, especially in a group setting). There are visual learners who watch you form a stitch and “get” it, those who listen as you describe step-by-step (“…insert the hook in the next stitch, yarn over, pull up a loop…”) and follow along well, and many who only need to read the instructions or see an illustration to understand what to do. When you find the best method(s) by which to teach, that eureka moment will hit your student as the instruction falls into place and makes perfect sense. I have seen that moment countless times and that wonderful gratification rewards the teacher for the effort. In addition to working with different learning abilities, an effective teacher must find a way to teach students with issues that require individual attention. I’m a righty who’s taught lefties, those with impaired vision and hearing, ailments that hinder the ability to hold the hook and yarn, and students for whom English is not easily understood. I heartily recommend that if you intend to teach, first learn to crochet with your nondominant hand. If you solely teach right-handed, the left-handed student, especially in a group, will feel ostracized and confused about how to hold and work the hook and yarn. Forget the mirror trick! It’s so much easier to teach that student with the same hand as she or he will work, even if it takes you a few extra moments to switch hands and acclimate to her or his needs. For those with physical issues, think creatively; place a hearing impaired student next to a quick learner who can demonstrate the stitching to the student. Allow the student with arthritic hands to hold the hook and yarn in any comfortable way that still maintains the correct formation of the stitches. Use large illustrations (step-by-step ones are particularly helpful) that show the stitch or technique you’re teaching for the student who struggles with English. Once you determine the best methods by which to teach your students, the teaching usually goes smoothly. You’ll be amazed at how much you learn from your students and the pleasure you’ll feel from this. And who knows, maybe you will inspire some of them to become teachers who will pass the love of crochet on to more people!