How do you plan a class schedule?

How do you plan a class schedule?

Mar 05, 2024Dana Chadwell

Planning, scheduling, and teaching classes is one of the most challenging things I deal with. First, I love teaching classes more than anything. I get a chance to get to know people and they become more than just customers who come in, buy, and leave.  It really gives me a chance to build the community, and I love that, plus I've always loved sharing "the knowledge" and teaching people the tricks that make everything easier.

But making a class schedule? Pure hell! I first have to figure out which of my awesome staff is available to teach and what they want to teach.  I have to look at ideas for projects and techniques we haven't offered before.  I have to match patterns and techniques to yarn options and make sure I've got all the needed tools in stock at appropriate levels.  And then I have to sit down with my nemesis, the calendar. 

I'm limited by Northgate Mall hours, which really hurts my ability to offer classes for people with 9-5 jobs.  I have to close at 7, so in order to get a 2 hour class, I have to start evening classes at 5. It's the biggest frustration about Northgate Mall -- we get no communication about when they'll change mall hours until the last minute, and they don't accept any feedback from the merchants about hours. My hands are absolutely tied on that issue.

I offer Saturday classes as often as I can, but Saturday staffing is always difficult (HEY, WOULD YOU LIKE TO WORK SATURDAYS? CALL ME!), it's a busy day in the shop, and after working 6 days a week for the first full year the shop was open, I'm actively trying to schedule 1-2 Saturdays off per month. But I'm dedicated to continuing to offer Saturday classes for as long as people continue to sign up, so don't worry -- there will always be Saturday classes offered if you keep taking them. 

I've also been teaching and knitting for long enough that I seek a bit of novelty in the classes I teach.  I like to find projects with novel construction, interesting design, or a lot of techniques in a small package.  I also like to offer classes for items I want in my wardrobe, as it ensures I'll finish the project!  I always try to knit a project at least once before the class begins so that 1) I'll have a model, 2) I'll be familiar with any techniques, abbreviations, etc that the designer uses in the pattern and 3) I can find and fix any mistakes in the pattern. Sometimes I rewrite the pattern entirely so that it's more clear for teaching or has better divisions for a week-by-week syllabus. 

And I have to always keep in mind that Chattanooga Yarn Co is a business. Unlike some other craft and yarn stores, I have to make a living here in order to stay open.  This shop is my paycheck. So if a class is offered and doesn't fill up, I'm less likely to offer it again. If a class does well but doesn't turn the students into returning customers, I'm less likely to offer it again. It has to make sense for the business. 

I'm always looking for instructors, so reach out if you have an idea you'd like to teach.  I ask all potential instructors to give me an overview of the class, a list of skills required to take the class, a list of skills students will learn in the class, a list of required materials to complete the class, how many class hours it will take, and how much money the instructor needs to make in order to teach the class.  Knit, crochet, needle felting, and other crafts are all welcome!

I've got a wish list of classes that stretches a mile long, but I'm always open to new ideas. 

Just know that I'm listening when you ask about classes, schedules and instructors. As always, I'm a work in progress and so is Chattanooga  Yarn Co.




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