Teaching Ravenstail & Chilkat Weaving

Loooong ago, I started reading Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. My firstborn child was 22 months old, but I stayed up past 3AM to keep reading it. My husband had fallen asleep in the living room, and my toddler was snoring away in the bedroom, so all of could do was read in the bathroom. I sat on the edge of our shower stall, and devoured the book by the light of the shower heat lamp. About 1:30 AM, the ceiling opened up, and I heard the room vibrate with this message: “You will be a teacher.” I will? “You will be a teacher.” I heard again. Not a male voice, nor female. A chorus of voices. “You will be a teacher.” I set the book down long enough to send an email for my former university advisor.

The next morning I called the university registrar’s office and asked to connect with the School of Education about getting a Masters in Teaching.

Two months later, I started a seven year (part time) journey toward my teaching degree.

Life–birthing three children and adopting one–and death–of my mother–interrupted my teaching studies a few times. Right after my mother’s passing in late 2017, I thought I’d finally finish my degree. I was one class and one semester of student teaching away from graduating. I enrolled in my final class.

Again, life had other plans. January 2017, we found out we were pregnant with a surprise baby, and I couldn’t stay awake for the late evening class. I also had a Chilkat Robe to finish by that summer, and four kids to take care of. The first week’s homework took me 17 hours to complete. I knew it would likely break me and my family to continue, and try to do it all. I withdrew from class, and slept, and finished the Chilkat Robe in May. Read about my robe cutting ceremony here.

The rest of summer 2017, I spent teaching weaving. Ravenstail, Chilkat, adults, kids, mixed ages. I taught seven classes that summer, including two in Teslin, Yukon Territory, CANADA, while I was 7 months pregnant, and solo caring for four kids. My husband was doing his low-residency MFA during that same week, but I just couldn’t say no. There were a couple nights in Teslin where my eldest child had to pull open the bedsheets for me, as I had no strength left. We all slept hard in Teslin, and we all want to go back.

As the summer came to a close, and my heart swelled with joy from teaching weaving, I realized that This was the teacher I was told to be. This is the teaching I was supposed to do for the rest of my life.

I have no regrets about all my studies to become an elementary school teacher. I know it helped me in teaching weaving now.

I’m grateful to be a Ravenstail and Chilkat weaving teacher.

If you ever get a booming voice instructing you to be a teacher, before you sign up for seven years of classes, always ask “Which kind?”

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