Saturday, 28 August 2010

Let's have a little chat

about the word 'lie'.

"an intentionally false statement"
but a joke can then be a lie, a harmless story intended to cause amusement can be a lie. So let's look a bit further.

"A lie is a type of deception in the form of an untruthful statement, especially with the intention to deceive others, often with the further intention to maintain a secret or reputation" for once, Wiki, that's a pretty good definition.

Apparently I tell lies - as do all those who have posted similar comments on this blog. Apparently I  - we - are also 'mean'. But this in itself is a lie. Because my comments about a certain class are true - please, prove to me that inappropriate comments about guns and shooting were NOT made.
Prove to me that the tutor did NOT constantly go on about health issues, and used these repeatedly to excuse poor organisation.
Prove to me that she was NOT rude to people, did NOT humiliate people, did NOT make sarcastic comments, did NOT make inappropriate comments about visas.
Need I really go on?

I told the truth. Sometimes the truth is very hard to accept. Sometimes the easy way to deal with it is to shout out 'liar! meany! nasty nasty person!'.

Now, let us move to examples of 'lies'.
To post repeatedly and openly about heading to a country to teach. Then when entering the country without the necessary paperwork in hand to teach, to deliberately choose not to mention said teaching plans.
Lies by omission are still lies. To then post about having a holiday at the expense of the organisation is, well,  ill judged at best.
But let us move on.

'Anonymous and untruthful gossip'
1. Rumor or talk of a personal, sensational, or intimate nature.
2. A person who habitually spreads intimate or private rumors or facts.
3. Trivial, chatty talk or writing.
4. A close friend or companion.

No problem there - most definitely the spreading of facts.

But the key word is 'untruthful' - so we are back to 'lies' again. Full circle.
As the bulk of comments are in the first person - not rumour, not hearsay but first person experiences (and I have had many more messages on exactly the same lines) well - folks, you are being called liars. And quite possibly meanies. Come and sit on the naughty step with me and look suitably ashamed.

'Writing mean stuff is just mean' - can't argue with that. So - people are only supposed to write nice things? Despite the TRUTH being less than nice?

Big Fat Meany Liar, that's me. Allegedly.

But that's it from me on this subject, because it's rather boring.
I am planning on a day knitting, sleeping and reading - might even do something domesticated like the washing although it is so windy out there that they might all blow off the line and end up in the canal. And we all know what happens after the washing is dried - yes, it's back to ironing again!

Have a good weekend everyone - yes even you in the cheap seats at the back - and you, and particularly YOU.


Anonymous said...

I love your blog. However, I really feel your comments about the class you attended would have been less prone to argument (or offense) if you had stated them differently. I definitely do not think you are mean, but I think your comments on the class and teacher were. "This class is shite" is an arguable opinion with very little merit for debate. "I found this teacher's style irritating, and I found her jokes inappropriate" is perhaps less interesting than "this class is shite," but it is definitely not arguable.

Rebecca said...

Read the post that originally caused the stink. i for one who sat right next to you can confirm the exactitude of all you put forth. i was was glad to have learned how to seam correctly and how to cut off rows of knitting to add on to or what have you. but the class itself was as you said. i found it disagreeable, the atmosphere sucked, and i myself was personally offended by the way she accused me of interrupting her when all she was doing was moving a board that was in the way and should have been moved before when i dared lean over to WHISPER to you how excited i was ot have learned that new technique she just showed us! whatever! and her comment that we chatted the whole time??? we most certainly did NOT! after her little comment!
i agree X 1000, so there ! ;)

Anonymous said...

@Rebecca, I've read the post in question. In face, I've read the entire blog. I love Sulky, and read her regularly. :-)

I don't disagree with the sentiments expressed on the class in question; how can I? I wasn't there; she was. But what I have a (small) issue with is the use of arguable and insulting language (again, calling a class or a teacher's style "shite.") I take issue with it mainly because it diminishes Sulky's point rather than bolster it, and it also minimizes the chances of the teacher in question taking it seriously and adjusting her style. Sulky's comments are interesting reading! But they are not bound to be very productive in working toward a solution (i.e. the teacher taking the comments seriously).

Twelfthknit said...

I think you should phrase your opinions any darn way you want to. It sounded like you had a shite time.

sulkycat said...

i think part of the issue is that the readership of this blog completely exploded after / during the knit camp posts, which is incredibly flattering, and i thank everyone for it - but yes, the way i write and the words i use will not be everyone's cup of tea

that's ok with me - anon, i completely take your point and thank you for wording it as nicely as you do

if i had known this blog would then get what, over 8,000 hits since writing the sckc diary maybe i would have worded it more politely - maybe not -
'shite' is exactly how i have described that class to friends and family

in the original post i describe the class exactly as i experienced it, from the point of view of a teacher and student - i mention the better points, and go into detail - with no offensive words - about the faults
i believe i am fair, honest and completely open with my comments in the original post

the less eloquent adjective comes later in the summary of the entire week - and yes some may not like the choice of words, but this is a personal diary of sorts rather than a professional working document

tempting though it might have been several times when completing lesson observations to just write 'utter sh1te!' across the judgement section i have resisted - but this isnt such a document, and sometimes, just sometimes, i need to say it just as it is

AlisonK said...

Sulky was posting soon after the event, so that it would all be fresh in her mind but at the same time she was pretty exhausted. I am amazed that she didn't resort more to words like shite, which frankly seem to sum up admirably the attitude of the teacher whose class she attended. But she used that word only once, and it is no good for the cheerleaders to harp on about that, when plenty of people are coming out to say that, actually, they too agree that this person is a terrible teacher who has a trail of humiliated & tearful students in her wake, some of whom have been put off knitting.
And for the record, the "offending" word wasn't even in the post about Annie Modesitt's class, but if the cap fits...

Anonymous said...

None of you women know me -- I'm really just a bystander. I just wanted to say that you have no reason to feel bad for anything you've posted. They provide an accurate portrayal of your experience.
There are going to be people who say you're being mean and unfair and untrue, but the fact remains that you were there. You (and many of the others in your comments who also attended classes, not just someone who "knew someone who" or whatever hearsay. It was you and your perceptions.
She is a talented designer, of course, but talent at designing doesn't equal talent at teaching.
While I have not been a knitting teacher, I spent years preparing and presenting corporate-level training modules on tasks as simple as customer service or as complicated as navigating a new reporting database or understanding and applying certain tax situations.
We always collected anonymous comments from the end of the session, which ranged from the very good to the very bad. Instead of pouting over the negative comments, I used them to improve my classes.
I became more organized. I rehearsed different ways to present my information. Although I'm not naturally so organized, I learned how to create an outline and I would highlight sections when I had passed them. These combined made my trainings better, so that the negative comments became non-existent.
The sycophants who have sided with her have done nothing but to soothe her ego. She should not take your, very brave, very public opinions personally, but should look at them as a tool to improve. If the instructor could take anything from this (other than her hurt feelings) it would be a time to look at her classes and see what things she can do to make them smoother, not only for her students but also for herself. It would make future classes even better.
Oh, and please -- no one should joke about guns. Ever.
P.S. I'm going anonymous on this because I can't be arsed to figure out the sign-in thingy. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

My point in repeatedly bringing up the word "shite" although it was hardly used is just this: it's the only word the teacher in question will see, precisely *because* it was used. Again, I love your blog; I love the way you talk. I just think you might have made a stronger point by not straying into the realm of insult and sticking with the facts: they are damning enough just on their own. This teacher has a lot to think about and learn, and ACCEPT. By using inflammatory language, you're almost guaranteed that she will reject your sentiments and dismiss you as a crank. (And the reason I am phrasing things nicely is not just because I like you and your blog--which I do!--but also so that I have a better chance of being taken heard and taken seriously.)

On another note, get used to having a bigger readership! Many of the people who found your blog because of Knit Camp are gonna stick around, because you write a fun and interesting blog. (From Anonymous the First, who, like Anonymous the Second, can't figure out the sign-in thingy. Just call me Marie.)

sulkycat said...

marie, thank you - for the compliments and for the sense (and humour)

i have been very lucky that every person who has commented - whether they agree with me or not, including the person who was obviously annoyed (with reason) by something i got wrong - has done so in a mature stylie
(erm - except for YOU, young india ;-) )

my blog won't vanish - its the diary i keep meaning to keep but never get round to (maybe a sad indictment of the times that i can write for hours on a keyboard but not on paper)
hopefully it will grow and mature, who knows

knowing there is a wider readership out there now will certainly make me a wee bit more careful about what i write (or rather how i word it) - but i can't guarantee it will make me write anything sensible

i suspect irons will crop up again ....

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, I'd already decided never to have anything to do with the tutor in question before I read your comments on the class - her own words on her blog about how she'd lied to the immigration authorities, and general attitude on Ravelry to the whole fiasco were enough. Your experience just confirmed what I'd already decided - she's not someone I ever want to interact with in any way.

Emma said...

Sulky, darling, you say shite if you want to. It's your blog. You can write what you want.
Actually, I don't think anything you have written has been mean or nasty. It's been very balanced and fair.
If I had been talked to like that I would have asked for my money back and told her it was shite to her face. But then, I'm a mean old cow !

Anonymous said...

I love your shite blog. And I'd rather read your shite than be treated as shite in a class I had paid for at a shitely-organised event.

Rebecca said...

sorry to offend
i was replying to the post, not to your comment so my 'so,there' was not a take that! to you, just so, there b/c i'm always giving my opinion and it's kind of me making fun of myself piping up yet again.

Hreowian said...

If "shite" is the only word an instructor sees in a blog of a couple of thousand words, the I would suggest that the problem is most likely not with the *blogger*.

Don't feel you need to tidy up your blog-writing, Sulky. It's this incessant and cheerful ironing that makes us cringe. ^^

sulkycat said...

you are all so funny!

so - more shite, less ironing - somehow i think i can manage that

Twelfthknit said...

I aim to please!! Maturity? What's that?

Anonymous said...

Beneath all of her accusations of mean lies, AM knows that you have spoken the truth. There's a reason she has not been invited back to teach at many, many venues.

Anonymous said...

Every meaningful customer service survey allows for anonymity because people won't say the truth otherwise.

I am flabbergasted that the response to such brutal truth is to dismiss it all as coming from mean girls.

How does it benefit AM to deny the truth rather than to say, 'Ouch, that hurt, and I need to think about how people perceive me!"

I just don't understand the arrogance and bravado displayed by Annie and by Jo, when a little introspection would have worked wonders.

Anonymous said...

The unprofessionalism of the person you mention is nothing new, and it irks me because I'm an instructor and I wonder, "Why would any yarn shop or venue go out on a limb hiring a knitting teacher if this is what they get?"

Over the years she has, among other things: forgotten handouts; had an inadquate number of handouts; gotten lost and arrived late to a shop; shown up at the wrong time; had to bow out of classes--in France, no less!--because she didn't feel up to it; complained in class about her health and finances; said she wasn't at her best in class because she had taken on too much; etc. And these are things that she has shared on her own blog!

Any professional teacher knows that it is our responsibility to go out of our way to be prepared. That means always having extra handouts. Confirming the date, time, and content with the venue. Making sure you have enough time to reach your destination, even if it means that you get there way early. Explaining things clearly and encouraging students to learn, not yelling at them or belittling them. Being an inspiration, not a tyrant. And having the class be about THE STUDENTS, not about you!

Of course emergencies happen. Everyone understands that. These were not emergencies. They were incidents that could have been avoided with some planning and good sense.

Her pattern instructions are often lacking, too--then she's blase' about the errors. All of this is sloppy. Lazy. And it could be just enough to convince a store owner never to host an out-of-town teacher. It's bad for all of us in this field.

She's a great designer and knitter. She should knit things up and sell them to make a living. Give up the pattern-writing for publication (she complains about the magazine pay anyway, and then gives us a book with 1,000 hats but only ten patterns), give up the instructing. Stay home, take care of herself and her family, and don't inflict her larger-than-life attitude on the rest of us.

Thanks to all who spoke up here. Please know that there are many professionals out there!

Anonymous said...

Teachers should teach what they are hired to teach. If a teacher wants to talk about personal stuff, go out for a drink afterwards with the class.

Love your blog Sulky Cat!

kim in Oregon, USA

Anonymous said...

I don't know you but you go, girl. It's amazing how little responsibility people want to take for their actions; it must be some "organized response" by "a few disaffected people."

As my best friend says, if one person tells her the saddle's loose, she's going to keep on riding. Same for the second person. But when the third person tells her the saddle's loose... maybe, she says, she ought to get off the horse and check the saddle.

A new fan in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

Anonymous said...

talking of unprofessional teachers i am gob smacked that jo is teaching spinning workshops when she admits on her blog she doesn,t know what ratios are .she hasn,t been spinning very long that is obvious .posted by a professional spinner of 35 years and tutor for 25 years

Anonymous said...

Bully for you, Sulky. As someone who's been in an AM class, I just shake my head at her repeated denials of how anyone could possibly have an unhappy time in her classes. Well, since these things DO come up, repeatedly, perhaps it isn't just random students anymore, as the common denominator is Annie herself. I'm toying with writing an honest post myself about my experience, though I know it won't make a difference. A friend of mine wrote her a very heartfelt, kind note with very constructive feedback and she incurred a wrath of enormous proportions from her. Not sure it's worth my time; I just do hate the notion of yet another knitter being berated in a class they PAID FOR. And she says she's never seen a student cry - laughable. I sat opposite the woman who was in tears in her class. She even proclaimed at the start of class her goal was to make someone cry. (That's her brand of humor, there, that none of us appreciated. It's hard to laugh after you've been yelled at with The Rules and you feel like you're 12. In fact, it sounds more like a promise than a joke. Which, it turns out, it was.)