Teach

Think you might want to teach a class? We’re taking class proposals for our February 2015 session. Get in touch, or submit a course proposal. Deadline: December 5, 2014.

Anyone can teach anything anywhere — that’s our thing. (Within reason. Please don’t propose “Self-Cannibalism: Did You Really Need Two Arms?” or something.) You don’t need to be a formal expert in your topic of choice. Just really into it.

How to Propose a Class

We love all classes, but in particular we love:

One more step: Check out what classes we’ve offered in the past. If you want to teach a class on leeches and we already had one, that’s fine — put a different spin on yours. If you’re looking for ideas, we’ve had requests for specific classes.

On average, our classes run between 90 minutes and two hours. That’s not enough time for a complete history of unicycling or to weave a replica Bayeux tapestry. Think short story, not novel, and choose a specific task or topic to highlight. “How the Dewey Decimal System Can Reorder Your Thinking” is going to be easier to teach than “Book Classification Systems: Thirty Centuries of Meaning.”

Also: Multi-week classes, in which each successive class requires knowledge from previous classes, are historically not well-attended.

Time to write! Here’s where you do it.

Wait! Show me some examples first!

Description: “Short” is the watchword here. Try to keep the description of your class under 200 words. If that’s not enough, write till your heart’s content and we’ll help you compress.

Crowd: Who would get the most out of your class? Everyone? Everyone under 8? Senior citizens? Otters? Let us know.

Resources/Support: What might you need for your class? A projector, screen and speakers? Number 2 pencils? Tables and chairs? Extra volunteers? We can acquire such things for you.

Location: We can help you find a spot to teach, but give it some thought on your own, too. What sort of location would complement your lesson? What would take advantage of D.C.’s diversity of spaces? A Metro car? A museum? A ruined factory? (If it’s safe and not trespassing, that is.)

You: Keep your bio blurbage under 100 words. You can be as silly or as serious as you desire.

How to Plan Your Class

After you propose a class, a KCDC organizer (we call them “wranglers”) will contact you and help you find a space, hone your proposal, plan your lesson, etc.

Before the Class

Give yourself time limits. Rehearsing is a good way to banish nerves. KCDC organizers are happy to help you plan and practice! Just ask your wrangler.

Do you want a co-teacher? Have one! If you want a co-teacher and don’t have anyone in mind, KCDC organizers can help you find someone. Ask your wrangler.

Gather materials. If you are spending money on supplies for the class to make something, you can ask for a materials fee of $10 or less per student.

Test your equipment. Try out exercises with a friend.

During the Class

First off, have lots of fun! If your topic is somber, be unconventional in a tasteful manner.

Have your students tell the class their names and perhaps some other bit of information, such as profession, or most embarrassing secret.

Get them interacting reasonably early in the class. This will loosen them up and banish blank stares. Have a discussion, take questions, do an activity together. If applicable, get them moving around.

Consider combining types of class. For example, start with a lecture-style history of Zapf Dingbats, then split into groups to design a new dingbat, then discuss.

After the Class

Students love follow-up! Send an email containing whatever assets you promised — digital copies of the handouts, a fact you said you’d look up, recommended reading, etc.