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Mentoring
By Tim Pace
Posted on 3/15/2020 2:46 PM

: The President’s Turn

     The process of learning a craft or a trade usually has some-thing to do with one who has a degree of proficiency teaching one who is willing to learn. Woodturning is really no different. One of the best ways to learn the discipline of woodturning is to learn from someone else who's skill set has progressed further than yours. One has to be thoughtful, though, in entering the process of being mentored. You don't want to learn bad habits that will haunt you forever until you can retrain yourself to do better. It's better to learn the proper procedure at the outset. So, with this in mind, I would like to make a few suggestions that might make the process less painful.

      1) Locate someone who can teach what you want to learn. This sounds simple enough, but not every turner can teach. They might be most capable of demonstrating at a club meeting, but that is different from teaching a student one on one. While they may be able to turn a thin bowl, they may not have a clue as to how to show you to do it. They are going to have to possess the ability to teach, which includes being patient with the student.

      2) The teacher should start with the necessary skills needed to turn safely and efficiently. This includes how to properly sharpen and maintain the tools. Some skills are essential to our art form. Learning how to make a cut by rubbing the bevel is often taken for granted. However, many still are not able to get a clean cut because they are not using the proper technique.

      3) Remember that the teacher is usually donating his/her time to teach you. Many times the teaching takes place in their shop. With that being said, show appropriate respect for their tools. Be respectful of their time. If they say that they are willing to spend three hours with you, arrive on time and don't wear your welcome out. Be committed, and they will be committed to you.

      4) Our club is in the process of developing a mentoring program for the benefit of the newer members. We want our club to stand by its original mission, and that is to teach. We have several who would love to teach outside of the monthly meetings. We will begin to set up a list of those who would like to open their shop for teaching. Not everyone will be asked to instruct at first, but that's not to say that a new member can't progress to the point that they too can pass on the skills taught to them. That's the point of teaching, is it not?

     Until next month...Tim

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