Thu Sep 06, 2012 4:08 pm
Thank you Eamon,
Believe me, I do not intend to make anyone feel uncomfortable and walk away from the lesson wondering what the heck they are doing at the school in the first place. I've got a lot of teaching experience through the military.
In fact, the method you speak of is exactly the way we teach a new subject to anyone, build layers of confidence while getting the basic teaching points across and making it fun during the process. I get to talk to the same group of people in their second year so that is where I will have the opportunity to get more technical and introduce different techniques like the sweeping motion, which I love.
In my last class, I was lucky enough to have one particular individual who was extremely interested and jumped at the opportunity to take a dull knife to a level none of them, including the senior chefs had ever seen, so it just worked for that particular day, I may not have that chance this time around.
Thank you, I don't take any of these good points for granted. Inspiring, motivating, building confidence, teaching the basics and making them smile while doing this is my goal.
I will let you know how it goes next week.
Fri Sep 07, 2012 1:22 am
The first thing is to teach passion. Start off with 'Why do you want to have a sharp knife?' Explain that a sharp knife changes the taste of your food. Be ready for the instructors to challenge you on this point. They will learn something too
Use a coarse stone. Show what a sharp 220 grit edge is.
Instead of just teaching the exceptional ones, get this basic concept of shaping the geometry correctly. Have one sharpen and another evaluate. Then switch so each 'gets' what a burr is. Then go on to a 1k edge if you have time and make them hungry to go higher. Teaching this passion is what will let them continue onward.
Fri Sep 07, 2012 4:38 am
Passion is one thing I have, great stuff, thanks so much, I was hoping you'd respond too.
Fri Sep 07, 2012 8:17 am
Sat Sep 08, 2012 4:08 am
Peter you DO have great passion. Passing that gift to your students is what I was trying to say. I have complete confidence in your success!
Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:27 am
Well I got through the lesson last night. It was not 90 students and a 2 hour time frame, it was 30 people with a 45 minute lesson, which I stretched to 1 hour. (This was a much better scenario)
All good though, got through the lecture portion quickly then brought them all down to gather around me so they could see, feel and hear the stones at work. Luckily, the students all seem quite interested and even some of the older Chefs came down and asked questions. On my way there, I got a call from a customer to sharpen her knives, so I took those to the class with me thinking it would be a good test, i.e. an actual dull knife that has seen years of neglect going from that stage to what I hoped would be a beautifully sharp edge that easily slices telephone book paper.
The glass stones worked extremely well, I had 4 very eager students who each took a turn with the knife on the stones after I demonstrated the process and the first fella was able to raise a burr very quickly so after that, it went really well. (I had a knife that I brought in with a burr on it so they knew what it felt like). After 20 minutes or so they took that 8 inch Wusthof chef knife from shockingly dull to extremely sharp, easily sliced the paper and the senior, older, crankier, "you can't teach me nothing" chefs admitted that it was the sharpest knife in the building now.
All good fun, had a great time doing it. Thanks so much for all your input, it helped and was always in the back of my mind as the lesson progressed.
Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:33 am
Congratulations. Teaching something you love is a great experience. In fact, I'd like to take your class.
You might ask students to bring in their stones or knives they want sharpened so they can sharpen their own knives. They could get immediate return for their time which everyone loves. Having people bring their stuff to the class will give you a lot of examples to discuss without needing to provide it yourself or take from a class budget.
Do you have a small sharpening set for the students to take with them when they graduate? Maybe as an added item for students to buy if they want to. It seems after taking a class people are apt to buy the tools they learned on instead of having to learn a completely different type of stone, tool, etc. If I'm not mistaken Apple computers put tons of them in schools many many years ago hoping the kids would get their parents to buy a computer and of course they would want what they had already learned on.
Congrats again. I'm sure you will have fun. Hope you don't post too many stories of students (or instructors
) cutting themselves.
Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:36 am
A small lesson on applying bandaids, using super glue to seal arterial bleeding, etc. might be applicable.
Wed Sep 12, 2012 5:29 am
None of these students own stones, YET, in fact, the majority of them had never seen a Japanese Water Stone, so the first thing I did was pass them around and let them get familiarized with them. However, I do have a plan for that and I always offer 1 on 1 lessons for anyone who wants to follow up and I'll help them with their stone purchase too.
I go through the basics quickly, get them comfortable with the process and show them how to get the work done and explain that the sharpening itself should be part of their daily routine and not a chore, it's something they need to embrace. For those who are really interested, discovering the passion, we get together and go beyond the basics and I bring out the high tech gear we all have, the Sharpie for example.
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