Since the second grade, Larissa Huff knew she wanted to teach. When she graduated college as a certified math teacher in 2012, she thought she knew the formula that led to her future.
After moving to Philadelphia, a random craigslist ad for a woodworking apprentice/teaching assistant job threw something unexpected into the equation. With no experience in woodworking, she went in for the interview.
“I taught a 5 minute lesson on Pi to two bearded men in a dusty wood shop on a farm 30 miles outside the city. They offered me the job and I fell in love with everything about it from day one,” she explains.
Larissa then received a crash course in the trade from Jeff Lohr, the founder of the JD Lohr School of Woodworking.
“I knew instantly that this was the combination of creativity, practicality, hands-on activity, problem solving, math, and teaching I didn’t know I was looking for,” she says, “When I got hired as an apprentice, the fact that the job came with the expectation that I’d have to teach people about woodworking some day was just motivation for me to master the trade myself quickly and extensively.”
In time, Larissa not only became an instructor at the school but also a part-owner. She also handcrafts furniture in their studio. Her career may have brought her many skills and roles she never knew she wanted, but at the root of it all, Larissa still loves to teach.
“The thing I love about teaching woodworking students is that typically they come to us because they want to learn…These are the students that, no matter their age, are willing to try and try again until they find that ‘ah-ha’ moment,” she shared.
When asked what she’d like to see more of in woodworking, her answer was accessibility.
“I found this craft by happenstance and would have never assumed it was something I could actually do if I hadn’t been an adult in a situation where I could afford to take a leap of faith. I would like to see middle school, high school, and college students in all parts of the world, and in all socioeconomic situations, see that woodworking exists in many forms,” she says.
Larissa’s personal work and perspective can be found on Instagram at @larissa.huff or you can contact her via email firstname.lastname@example.org.