I was absolutely thrilled last week when I received an invitation to teach a two day polymer clay workshop at a beautiful venue in Washington State. I took it as a perfect opportunity to finally put together a class teaching my crackle technique on canvas and under resin. I've been back burnering this idea for a few years now. I have always wanted to travel and teach. Having seen so many inspiring instructors from the US visit Canada I thought it would be marvelous to do the same. It didn't occur to me that the ease with which they visit Canada as paid instructors couldn't be reciprocated should I travel southward .
Here are the simple facts- I could accept an invitation to teach for room and board and travel expenses but no payment. If I were to try to teach a two day class for pay I would need to have the party that invited me go through a long process of completing forms as well as having to pay $325 US for the privilege- at that point I might be eligible for a Visa. I would have to go through this every time I was invited to teach.
Conversely American instructors may travel to Canada as a "Seminar Leader" with no requirement for a work permit whatsoever. They are welcome to teach for up to five days. They are eligible to receive full payment for their services.
I suppose I could put together an instructional DVD for sale but I love teaching and travelling. The way that this goal has been dashed is especially bitter with the inequity involved in a country with which we are supposed to have "Free Trade". I can't teach in the US but Americans can teach here.
When I cross the border into another country I feel most comfortable being honest about my reason for visiting. I'm interested in hearing from other artisans who may have solutions to this issue. How do Canadians or other nationals teach short term workshops in the US without "bending the truth" at the border?