Re: Unrealistic Expectations
It really doesn't matter what you're teaching, if adult learners are involved, they don't want baby steps! Adults come to classes for a variety of reasons - because they have a need to be sociable, to gossip and talk, because 'they should' and any number of other reasons, including....because they think it's going to be easy!
For years I taught writing-related subjects at a major Uni in the UK - journalism in general, writing for magazines, proof-reading and editing... etc. My classes usually had around 20-25 people taking part. Out of them, I reckon I got about a 50% success rate, which I thought was rubbish, but after a talk with the head of dept. it seems that rate was quite high!
I learned to sort of work out over the first few weeks who could take criticism, and who couldn't - some I would treat very gently, knowing that it wouldn't take much for them never to pick up a pen again, and others I was harder on, as I knew they could take it and would improve their skills as a result. Some ppl took two years to get to the stage that others were at after 6 months.
The worst ones were those that had unrealistic expectations, just like those you mention. They wanted it NOW, no practicing, and were crestfallen when I pointed out that it wasn't that easy - either writing or getting that writing published. However, they did learn eventually, mostly by rejection from publishers that I was in fact correct and they needed to practice.
I don't know if this tale will help, but rest assured, over time you will begin to 'feel' subconsciously who will succeed with little extra help -who will fail, for whatever reason, and who you will be able to leave to practice, and who will need extra help. Whoever said 'those who can, do, those who can't, teach' should have been shot! It's extremely hard to teach adults, who come in all shapes and sizes and learning ranges.
Just have patience. Perhaps letting them play with the clay a bit is the way forwards, before they start throwing and centering. We had a session with clay at our art club for a couple of weeks, but there were no wheels there, we just learned to make things with clay, stamping it, shaping it, and generally getting the feel of it, which was them left to air dry or be fired by the teacher and brought back the next week. We all enjoyed the sessions, although most went back to whatever they were doing before, I think only one person out of 20 wanted to learn more about clay and throwing it.
Hope this helps!