The teacher's preparation for the lesson consists in doing each exercise before presenting the lesson to the class. It will take some time to do so, but it will save hours of time and much worry in the end, and the teacher will thus discover how best to present the difficult points of the lesson. A well finished piece gives to the child a complete mental picture of what she is undertaking, and acts as an inspiration; she will work quicker, easier, and better because of it. This impulse and a clear demonstration of the method of doing, will enable her to work far more independently of the teacher than would otherwise be possible, and will give more satisfactory results. Consider the year's work as a connected whole, not as detached lessons.
What are designated as "electives" in this book are designed to meet the needs of classes or individuals doing the work a second time or of teachers who find the regular work too difficult.
Large classes can be handled with less wasted energy by dividing the class into groups that are doing the same work. This saves endless repetition and enables the teacher to give better general supervision. This is the most vulnerable point in class work. A teacher may work laboriously and still waste her own and the children's time by too close an adherence to the individual method of instruction. Those children whose turn comes toward the end of the line will have lost much of the value of the lesson. Children require constant supervision. It is not teaching to examine the work when finished and order it ripped out. The fault is then with the teacher and not with the child. Each successive step should be inspected and corrected before the next one is taken. I would go still farther and have every pupil, even in the advanced grades, submit a sample of her work on every stitch to be used in each exercise. Children are always eager to begin a new piece, and if required to practice until the result is satisfactory will very soon do good work. You then have this to refer to and can hold them to their best.
There is absolutely no value in poor, careless, puttering work. Unless the child has a high ideal and strives to reach it, the time of the lesson is wasted. Encourage self-criticism. Work should be done to one's own satisfaction whether it is to be seen by others or not.
Do not allow pupils to take their work home unless it is some required practice work. It is not the object to cover a certain amount of ground, but to inculcate high standards of excellence and some technical skill. They cannot accomplish this by themselves. I would prefer that classes do not complete the entire course rather than have good work sacrificed to quantity. There is a difference between careful, painstaking effort, and the puttering away of valuable time.
Avoid delay in distributing supplies.
Be sure that every member of the class understands clearly the object of the lesson.
Do not encourage waste by a too liberal supply of material.
Too much stress cannot be laid upon the careful preparation of the cloth to be used. Trim all edges neatly before hemming, facing, gathering, etc. Do not allow children to sew without basting. The time required for careful basting is well spent.
It is not expected that the various pupils of the class will advance with the same degree of proficiency. Some will require a much longer time on an exercise than others. As it is greatly to the advantage of the class in the end, and saves time and tiresome repetition to give each new exercise or stitch as a class lesson, the average pupils should regulate the time for taking up new work. A teacher of resources will find ways and means of bringing up the work of slow pupils, and profitable "busy work" for those who work more rapidly. For the former, a little extra time each day - not as a punishment, but as an opportunity to catch up - would be all that is necessary. For the latter, there is a great variety of interesting, useful work.
It is a pedagogic truism that every teacher, consciously or unconsciously, imparts to her class her own inclinations. An enthusiastic class indicates an ardent interest on the part of the teacher, and a distaste for work and a lack of zeal on the part of the pupils are equally indicative of the teacher's attitude. Bear in mind that an unprepared teacher or a poorly presented lesson can make almost any exercise difficult and distasteful to the class. Do not blame pupils for poor work for which you are yourself responsible.