Dear ASDP Board

Teaching at Conference

12/06/2015 7:54 PM | Anonymous

“Teach a class at conference,” they said. “You’ve got a lot to contribute,” they said. “It’ll be fun,” they said. And you know what? They were right!

It all started when I was at the Wisconsin/Illinois/Indiana retreat in Rockford, IL this January and the email went out announcing that there was an extended deadline for class proposals for the 2015 conference. As this was my first time at this retreat and I was just getting to know some ASDP members better, there was much talk about my shop and my business model. Through my experiences in ASDP for the few years that I’ve been a member, I’ve learned that my business is not typical within our membership. At 2080 square feet for my tailor shop, I have a relatively large store front and an average of 4 employees at any given time.

When the call for additional class proposals went out, Linda McCoy, our VP of Membership, was the first to prod me into submitting a proposal to teach a class on hiring and having employees. I’d already submitted one proposal for a sewing technique I use regularly and had some other ASDP members express interest in, but I’d never really given any consideration to teaching a business class. Just submitting that idea was scary to me. I’d never taught on this level before. The idea of teaching my peers and ASDP members that I look up to tremendously was completely daunting!  Some of my potential students have been in business longer than I have been alive. What could I possibly teach them?

By the end of the night, my retreat cohorts had me convinced that I knew what I was talking about and that people would be lining up to take my class. I was nervous but excited when I clicked “submit” on that proposal. I came home from the retreat jazzed for the rest of my year. Then prom season hit and the spring was a blur. In the midst of my 100-hour work weeks, I got the news that my business class proposal had been accepted.  Plus, assuming that the class attendance hit the minimum requirement, I would be teaching in Minneapolis. I read the email, smiled, read it again, and then it hit me. Oh no….what have I done?!

I spent the summer puttering and planning and panicking. I thought through the life of my business and my experience as an employer. I started my business when I was 22 and hired my first employee at 23. Since then, I’ve had successes and failures as a boss. I’ve had good employees and bad and I’ve learned more lessons that I can count. I’ve struggled through some of the biggest hurdles that our industry faces when hiring. Where do you find applicants and how do you figure out if they really have the skills you need? What I found when I got right down to it was that Linda and the rest of the ladies at the January retreat were right. I had plenty to talk about and contribute.

 I’m incredibly thankful that I taught on Sunday afternoon. I was already five days into conference and had plenty to occupy my mind before I took center stage in my little classroom. I also had five wonderful days to talk to several of the teachers that I have looked up to and ask their advice before I jumped into the deep end. I got to pick the brains of many wonderful conference attendees and consider all kinds of new ways to approach my material. I started my Sunday classes in Sarah Veblen’s “Becoming an Effective Teacher” Class and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. After that class, I was calmer and much more convinced that I had done everything I could and needed to do to prepare to teach my hiring class. I had just enough time to get to lunch and find my classroom well before my students showed up so that I could continue to convince myself that I was prepared.

The day I taught my class, I celebrated my 7-year business anniversary, a fact that brought me a lot of warm and fuzzy feelings. Being surrounded by my peers and largest support network is my perfect idea of an anniversary celebration. I had a cozy class of eight students, including my trusty classroom assistant. When I looked around the room as we gave our introductions, I saw familiar faces smiling back at me. My students were engaging, encouraging and best of all, incredibly inquisitive. They challenged me and validated me, sometimes all in the same breath.

They even left the classroom smiling.

Veni, vidi, vici. Roughly translated: I prepared, I babbled, I educated. I would also like to think that I succeeded. While I haven’t received any formal evaluations or feedback, my students were wonderful and I received plenty of thanks and encouragement after my adventure.

If you have ever considered teaching, please, submit a proposal. I cannot recommend the experience highly enough. Not only do I feel like my experiences have benefitted my students, but I know that it has changed me. I came out of that class feeling like a more confident teacher, more sure of my knowledge and capabilities, and ready to take on any challenge that I might face when I came home. I’m already tossing around ideas for my next proposal because as terrified as I was when my students starting filing into that room there will absolutely be a next time. I would like to thank those of you at the retreat who pushed me to submit the “How and When to Hire” proposal. Preparing for and teaching this class has absolutely changed the way that I think about myself, my business, and my participation in the ASDP for the better

Written by Cisa Kubley

2885 Sanford Ave SW #19588, Grandville, MI 49418 ~ Toll-Free (877) 755-0303 

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