Friday, December 16, 2011

Passing the torch

Tonight I said goodbye to two students who have been at my side almost continuously for the last two years.  Tamami and Ariel are the founders and have been the officers of Knitwise, the Honors knit and crochet society, since its inception.  They've been my teaching assistants in the handcrafting class.  I supervised both of their theses, which were about knitting.

And now they've both gone and graduated on me in the same semester, in the middle of the year no less.  Only a dozen Honors students finished their undergraduate degrees this December, but two of them were Tamami and Ariel.  I feel somewhat unfairly targeted, I must admit.

What Tamami and Ariel have done, however, is spread their enthusiasm and taught the next generation so that there are many students ready to take their place.  I've remarked to everyone I know that this was the year yarn-crafting exploded in our community.  We hit some kind of critical mass where people started teaching their friends who started teaching their friends, and where there were enough people knitting in classes or meetings that other closet crafters felt emboldened to take it public and non-crafters wanted to get in on the action.

Now I feel a responsibility to keep that community nourished.  Without Tamami and Ariel taking on the responsibility of creating and expanding it for the last few years, there'd be little more for me to nourish than the two or three knitters who showed up early on.  Now it's not uncommon to have a dozen or more every week, with new folks arriving to tell me excitedly about their learning process, and novices stopping by for lessons.  The circle is self-sustaining, and that means Tamami and Ariel can take their incredible teaching talents and enthusiasm elsewhere.  I am in their debt both as their teacher, their colleague, and their group's faculty sponsor.

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