Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Other Side of the Teacher Tawk from a Camp Director

As usual my letters sometime ruffle feathers.
A good person and friend wrote to tell me they thought I was bashing rug camps.

I wanted to tell you their side of the story, what organizing a rug camp is like. I have a great appreciation for all the work it takes to get a camp started, going and successful.

Thank to those who do it.

Here is what they wrote:

I understand a lot of your feelings about money and teaching. Everyone wants to think they they should be paid as much as possible for their good work. I am sure there are even Investment Banker 's think they are not getting what they are worth. Your point is well taken . You have trained yourself to be one of the best in your field and that is honorable and deserving of compensation.
But on the way I do not think it is necessary to trash Rug Schools. Rug Schools serve a very good purpose and should be differentiated from Workshops. There are not so many places that you can get from 65 to 100 people together, get paid to teach, paid for travel, meals and lodging and still have the opportunity to sell your wares. At a Workshop you have maybe only 13- to 16 students that you might be able to sell something to. There is a difference and you should be compensated more for that reason. And at least in most places in XXXX you will also receive a tip and a lot of very kind words if you are a good teacher. If you are not a good teacher you will not be asked to come back and like a restuarant or other serive provider may receive a penny for your tip. There are a lot of teachers that no longer travel unless they want to. But they started at Rug Schools to get their name or product out there. It serves a good purpose. This is the place for newcommers to get recognition. You can be the best teacher in the world but if no one knows about you then you serve only you! I have watched some of the comments on the welcome mat and was surprised at all the students that have met you. Not through the internet but had to be in person and I believe not all of them have visited Wiarton. So you went to them. That was your choice.
I do believe that the XXXX Rug School is not the normal. We have worked very hard to keep prices down so people could afford to come to camp. There are not so many people in this area that can plunk down $500-600. ( think I am low) to come to a camp and learn how to be a rug hooker. That is not including what your kit or supplies will cost. So now we are talking over $1000.00 for 4 1/2 days at best. You seem to have forgotten to mention that people who organize rug schools work a good portion of the year to organize, plan, send out brochures, advertise and then never know if they cover their expenses. Only after a few years of hard work do they also get to the point that they make more money. Why is that different than you training yourself? Don't think we haven't had our problems also? Rug Schools get people who might not go on further to keep participating and learning. In the mean time they are buying wool, patterns or taking even internet classes from teachers that they have met a rug schools. Neither XXXX or I take anything more from the profits of rug school other than classes and a couple of meals. I am not patting ourselves on the back but could be making more. We turn this money over so more people in our area can learn about this great craft. We hold a fall workshop where people that can't afford the camp experience get to come and join in. We used some of our funds to have a catagory put in at the fair that was only rug hooking. We are trying to get people to pay attention to this beautiful are form and bring awareness to the community.

Wanda here again, I just have one thing to refute. People don't "know "me from going to teach at rug schools. They know me because of my long time work on Padula and RHM. They've met me at the OHCG Annual, or heard about me from others at teacher's workshop. I have rarely taught at rug camps compared to others on the circuit. AND I'm afraid all the lurid tales written on bathroom walls about me has helped enormously too.

AND two things to add:
I'm also interested in the general assumption I'll be selling stuff when I'm with a bunch of rug hookers because you know what .... you really can't count on it. On the record I'd much rather use mostly what you have because it gives you a good feeling to use up what you have on hand and I like that.

Despite what I wrote about being properly paid I'm not very focused on money in my life. I neither feel a need to grasp for it nor feel it is of any real importance. When I accept any job I know my compensation and I weigh the "cost " before I say yes and then I never think about it or begrudge it again. I've said yes for much different reasons, to be with friends, to enjoy meeting new people, to have fun. My eyes are wide open as is my heart.

Anyway as noted this is an extremely hot topic. But one I think needs aired out.
I welcome any and all comments on this topic, we can all do well to walk a minute or two in the other fella's shoes.

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