CHOCOLATE CAKE & BASIL LEMONADE

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It's been over 6 months since I started teaching and let me tell you guys, I love to teach.

I love that I get to share with others what I know and to see how much it helps them grow. I love to build community and see each student interact with each other. I love the relationships that lasts after the class - I've made so many friends and clients from teaching!

One of my favorite things lately, that I love about teaching, it how the small little things like fresh home-made basil lemonade, chocolate cake and flowers from my garden can welcome and celebrate the students and the class. It celebrates their commitment to learning and growing. Making it feel more like a gathering, an event, a celebration.

If you're thinking about teaching your own class, check out these 10 easy steps.

The cake I made was simple and so delicious - it was also gluten, dairy and sugar-free. The basil lemonade was so fresh and summery.

Sugar-Free Chocolate Cake

  • 1 1/2 cup of almond meal
  • 1/2 cup of cocoa powder
  • 1/2 ts of baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 cup of pitted dates
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 Tb of coconut oil
  • 2 ts of vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Mix together all dry ingredients (almond meal, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt) in a bowl and set aside.
  3. Place the dates and water in a food processor or strong blender and blend until it forms a smooth paste.
  4. Mix the date paste with the wet ingredients (eggs, coconut oil, vanilla), and mix until smooth.
  5. Add the wet to the dry ingredients and stir until smooth.
  6. Grease an 8" round cake pan and pour in batter.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for at least 10-15 minutes before serving so that it has time to set.

Strawberries & Chocolate Glaze

  • 1/2 cup of cocoa powder
  • 4 Tb of coconut oil, melted
  • 4 Tb of maple syrup
  • 4-5 strawberries
  1. Slice strawberries thin and cover the entire top of the cake.
  2. Mix the first 3 ingredients well in blender.
  3. Drizzle over cake. Let cool in fridge for more a hardened chocolate glaze.

 

Basil Lemonade

  • 6-8 lemons
  • 8-10 cups of filtered, cold water
  • agave or maple syrup
  • hand full (8-10 sprigs) of fresh basil leaves
  1. Roll each lemon to release the juice.
  2. Cut lemons in half and squeeze into pitcher.
  3. Fill pitcher with water till it tastes slightly tangy. You can always add more water afterwords.
  4. Add sweetener to taste. I usually add 1/4-1/2 cup of agave sweetener.
  5. Chop basil and mix in.
  6. Slice a few lemons, coin style, to garnish.
  7. Serve over ice and keep chilled.

HOW TO TEACH A CLASS

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Are you thinking about teaching a class in your community and want to know how to get organized and prepared to do it? Say no more.

Teaching has helped me promote my business and build confidence in what I do. 

This January I taught my first calligraphy class. I had a little experience teaching - a few years back I taught some art classes to children and a few hair cutting/styling classes when I was in cosmetology school. But this felt different.

I had to come up with a description to sell the class so people knew what to expect, I had to create a step-by-step process to follow so my class had a good flow, I also had to source and order the materials in order for each student to participate. Basically, I was on my own to teach this class and that's what made it different.

I was excited to teach, especially to adults who were really passionate about learning, but a little nervous because this was a big step for me. 

I don't know if I would've known to prepare for the class without the help from The Skillery, a co-working community of classes and workshops for and taught by creative entrepreneurs. They helped me organize my ideas, create a class/workshop page online, organize a space to teach in, and promote and sell tickets to the class. Because I am new to Nashville, I am certain that I would've been teaching to an empty room if I didn't have the contacts and promotional help from them.

I'm now going onto my 5th class - DIY Brush Lettering - and want to share with you 10 easy steps on how to teach a class yourself.

Step 1. Identify what you want to teach, who you want to teach it to and why. Consider your skills and what you know how to do really well. What are those things? Maybe you're a photographer and you want to teach beginners how to use their first DSLR or maybe you're a songwriter and you want to teach how to write a song to children. Whatever it is you want to teach, consider who you want to teach it to and why you want to teach it. As Stephanie mentions in this article,

the best courses weave together four distinct areas -core skills or information, a strong sense of purpose, the creative process or philosophy of the instructor, and a great finished product or end result – to create a one of a kind course that is truly distinctive

Step 2. Write a brief description of the class.  In 3 paragraphs or less, write out what your students can expect, how long the class will be, what they will be given (worksheets, materials) and what they will leave with. Think about the materials that will be used and if they get to take them home or if they are theirs to use during the class only. Students will want to know what they're paying for. So try to be as specific as you can but keeping it simple so they can imagine themselves at your class, enjoying it, loving it and finding value in it.

Step 3. Decide if you'll be teaching it alone or through an organization. If you're just starting out, I recommend teaching your first or several classes through an organization. The reason why is because these organizations/businesses makes money through your class so naturally they want you to succeed. They will help guide you through each step and will also help you sell the tickets. If you're going to teach it alone, know what you're doing, how you plan to sell the tickets and be prepared. The upside to teaching alone is you get to keep all of the ticket sales.

Step 4. Name your price. Consider your time, how long it takes to not only teach the class, but to organize the class, set up and break down the class. Price out the materials you will need for yourself and for your students. Now combine your hourly rate with the material costs and divide into how many students you want to attend. For example, if you're hourly rate is $75 and the class is 2 hours long, that equals $150. Add 2 hours of class prep, promotion, organizing, etc that equals $300. Now add materials costs - let's say $200, that equals $500 in total costs. Now divide that price into how many students you want so in this case lets say 10 students. That would be a ticket price of $50. Now don't forget that when you work through an organization, they will take a cut of that or charge you a fee. Let's say they take 50% - this would mean my total profit would be $250. So again the ticket price would be $50, total profit would be $250.

Step 5. Nail down a date and place. When choosing a space to teach in, consider your audience and what they might like, think about logistics (is there enough space for me to walk around in), ask if they have equipment essential to class (do they have a blackboard to use, projector screen, etc), think about lighting (is there enough lighting for people to see what they're doing), pick a time of day that's best for your students, and so on. When considering a date, do some research. Check out what days other successful classes are being taught and do the same. For example, The Skillery suggests I teach on Tuesday or Thursdays because they have the best turnouts those days.

Step 6. Order materials. You've already done a rough estimate of what materials will be needed in Step 4. Now order/buy those materials making sure to give yourself enough time to have them shipped to you in time or to pick them up from the local store.

Step 7. Promote the class. Create a Facebook event, talk about it on your blog, tweet it, whatever you can, announce your class and all of the details that make the class great. Be sure to not sound too salesy, you want your potential students to find value in this class. So mention what they'll get if they come, why you love this class so much, how long you've been doing it, etc.

Step 8. Create a syllabus and checklist. Now that you've launched your class and people are buying tickets, create a step-by-step outline of exactly what you'll be teaching so that when your class comes and you're standing there you don't blank. For example, the first thing I do when I start a class is introduce myself and share why I teach, why I am passionate about teaching and how long I've been doing it for. Once you have your class plan down, create a checklist of things to remember to bring with you. For example, if you're teaching a painting class, you not only need paint brushes, paper and paint, you also need cups, water and rage to wash their brushes.  Try to really envision the class from start to finish and jot down everything you need to remember to say and bring.

Step 9. Show up and crush it. Now all you need to do is show up. Keep in mind you might need to show up a half hour or 45-minutes early to set up. And a tip from The Skillery Teacher's Handbook is to surpass your students with something. So every class I come up with some way to surprise them. My last class, I surprised the students with a blank envelope with a stamp on it, challenging them to write a hand-written note to someone they know. Other times I've shared cookies or cheese and crackers with them.

Step 10. Build relationships. One of the most important things I like do when I teach is share my story, how I got to where I am today and then ask the students the same. Some are a bit shy at first, but once a few people break the ice, most join and share what they do, why they do it, how they heard about time and my class, and more. I do this not only because I selfishly want to learn all about them, but

I also do it to help build a community. I want these students to be friends with each other.

My last class, I jotted down any websites or blogs that the students had onto the chalkboard for everyone to check out. I encouraged them to stay in touch the other students and to email me anytime. I also put my social platform info on the chalkboard for them to share any photos they may have taken during class. This step was a gift that I was not expecting and is now one of the major reasons why I love to teach.

What's your experience teaching a class? Do you have any steps or tips to share for us? Have any classes you want to share? Wanna take a class with me but not sure if I teach it or will travel to where you are? Email me to see meredithcbullock@gmail.com

TEACHING | MY FIRST CALLIGRAPHY CLASS

TEACHING-Calligraphy Tomorrow I teach my first calligraphy class. I am both excited and nervous. Excited because ever since I was little I wanted to be an art teacher. I am nervous because this is my first calligraphy and my first adult class.

I have experience teaching cosmetology classes and art classes for children, but never adults. There is so much left to wonder - like will they like the class, will they leave the class feeling inspired and feel like they actually learned something, will they like me, will they have fun, will they love calligraphy, the list goes on.

So as the day approaches, here are some things I am doing to prepare for my class:

  1. Decide on a location - I will be holding my class at Fort Houston, an amazing industrial style space full of creatives from woodworkers to printers to photographers to metalworkers.
  2. Choose a price - I had some help from The Skillery (the organization I am teaching through) with pinpointing a price that fits the class offering, time and end deliverables.
  3. Plan ahead - I have written 2 or 3 check lists that have everything I need to bring, to what I still need to get for refreshments.
  4. Promote it - Share your class on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and on your blog. Create a Facebook event and mention it to friends.
  5. Write out a detailed agenda - Down to the 15 minute mark, I have my class planned out from the moment I walk in and set-up to the moment I clean up and leave.
  6. Create worksheets - Some people learn from seeing, others learn from hearing it. Be sure to have worksheets for those that need to see it.
  7. Surprise them - A great tip suggested by The Skillery was to give them an unexpected surprise. From snacks and refreshments to a bonus activity at the end of class, I am ready.

How about you, have you taught a class? If so what steps to you take to prep? What classes are you teaching?

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