Buckeye Gathering Instructor Application
Hello! Thanks for your interest in teaching at Buckeye this year. We are honored to host so many talented instructors, representing countless years of study, rediscovery and exploration. As a service to this community of generous teachers, we hold a high standard for new instructors. We welcome a certain number of new instructor staff (especially when their offerings fill obvious holes in the tracks of our curriculum) and strive to keep raising the bar for the quality of instruction that is offered, but at the same time already work with a solid volume of committed teachers.
Please read through the following information which describes the two teaching options that we offer: instructor staff or volunteer community class teacher. The ‘community classes’ serve two functions: as a gateway for future instructor staff, or for those who want to come as students and share some skills. Generally, we ask that potential instructors register as students for the first year and offer a volunteer community class or two so we can get to know one another. The community class requirement may be waived for individuals with exceptional experience, who come highly recommended by another instructor, and/or who are already full instructors at a Backtracks event (especially in an underrepresented field).
Any student is welcome to be a community class teacher, and doesn’t necessarily need to run the proposal by us. If you are aspiring to be a full instructor in the future, feel free to send us a simple proposal of your intentions and what you would like to teach as a volunteer community class(es) this year. Be sure to also register for the gathering in March. Then, at Buckeye, ask us for feedback forms to give students in your class. Once we have the completed feedback forms we can get a fuller sense of how your class was received.
Timeframe – The sooner we get this information from you the better. February and March are usually the best times to find us in the office.
We hope you want to join our community in some capacity!
To Apply as Buckeye Instructor Staff:
1) Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org that includes the following information:
Let us know your resume of skills, where you learned them, who you learned them from, and your experience teaching (in private classes, for established institutions or at other skills gatherings).
- Instructor Staff Class Proposal(s).
If you have taught a community class or are asking us to waive the community class requirement, please submit a detailed proposal of what you would like to offer. Instructor staff are asked to teach at least 20 hours during the gathering. Please also let us know what other topics you would feel qualified to teach (or where you could offer solid support). Please read “More Details” below.
- (or) Community Class Proposal
It’s helpful for us to have the following information included:
1) type of class – instructor staff or community volunteer class
2) format of class – lecture, discussion, hands-on workshop, etc…
3) short title of class
4) brief content description – for office use only (not given to participants)
5) your estimated class length – include preferred day or time if you have a preference
6) class repetition – do you want to repeat the same class? how many times?
7) participant number or age limits and/or experience requirements – if any. Also, details about what ages of youth are welcome, and if they need an adult with them.
8) estimated materials fee(s) – if any
9) your name and contact information – email address, phone number
2) Instructor staff applicants who have not heard back from us by this year’s registration date (see www.buckeyegathering.net/registration) should be prepared to register as a student in order to guarantee a space. If spaces have sold out, be sure to get on the waiting list. Sending us an instructor application and class proposal DOES NOT automatically register you. In the event that you are accepted as instructor staff after registration, your registration fee will be refunded.
Portfolio – Buckeye is looking for instructors with a high level of expertise in either one or a variety of skill areas. Experience in doing something does not necessarily translate to being skilled at teaching that topic, so priority is given to those with solid teaching background who can help us improve the quality and depth of our event. Every year is different and as the schedule fills out we may find ourselves heavily represented in one field and/or track but lightly represented in another and be looking to fill those spaces.
Community Class(es) – There is a specific space in our morning circle to announce these. This exploratory process gives applicants a chance to get to know us, lets us observe your teaching style & skill and also allows us to get feedback from participants.
The Trade – Instructor staff and their immediate family (children, spouses, and parents) receive complimentary attendance at the gathering, meals during the gathering (including staff lunches) and staff meals during instructor pre-camp. Aside from scheduled teaching time, the rest of the week is open to learn and enjoy. Instructors receive premium recognition and exposure to a large, focused population of potential future students & customers through their classes, during announcement circles, at ongoing trade tables or blankets, through submitted publications sold at the self-serve bookstore, on the instructor section of our bulletin board, and through links on our website.
Class Topics – We are continually expanding our fields of instruction, but our priority is to focus on Ancestral Technology. While we support other fields of learning related to healthy and sustainable living, our schedule is jam packed even staying within the specific focus of Ancestral Knowledge & Living Skills. We have inherited our structure from our parent gatherings offered by Backtracks (Wintercount & Rabbitstick) and this 25 year old community has a distinct character that we strive to maintain.
Check out our current range of classes for more detail: http://buckeyegathering.net/home/welcome/.
Class Details – Classes range from an hour to multi-day or week-long workshops and can be lectures, discussions, demonstrations, hands-on workshops, walkabouts, etc. Hands-on workshops often include a “craft” project, but those for which materials are simply supplied and participants quickly assemble an “item” that does not require acquisition of a skill are discouraged. The more a project starts with raw materials and requires participants to learn technique and be involved in a process the better.
Daily Schedule – Class times are during morning (9am-noon) and afternoon (1:30-5pm) blocks, Monday am thru Friday am. Monday am focuses on the basics (string, fire & cutting edge) and Friday pm is the barter fair. Many hands-on workshops are officially scheduled during the morning block, with the instructor being available for follow-up assistance during the afternoon block. Ongoing offerings where participants can “drop in” are usually “open” during those blocks. Multi-day and full day classes generally run 9am-5pm and take a shorter lunch break. There are some early morning offerings before breakfast and evening presentations after dinner.
Participant Numbers – We fully support and understand the need to limit participant numbers in classes that require more personal attention. Hands-on workshops that strive to use only non-metal tools for complicated processes are a good example of such a class. Proposing numerous workshops with low participant limits (less than 8), may unfairly place an excessive load on other instructors with no participant limits. Diversity of offerings is key to keeping anyone from feeling overburdened.
Participant Experience Requirements – We generally prefer to have classes open to all interested parties, but also understand the need to sometimes exclude children and/or youth or to require some sort of prerequisite experience from participants. We respect instructors’ judgement in such matters and appreciate the value of advanced level classes for returning students, but also ask that such strict limitations be avoided where possible. A preferred approach in this situation is to offer a pre-requisite intro class open to all at the beginning of the week and then offer a limited advanced class later in the week.
Youth Friendly Classes – The goal of our kids & youth programs are to incorporate young people into the community as much as possible. Our Family camp works with the instructors each year to find creative ways to include youngsters. Instructors who are so drawn are invited to teach “kid or youth specific” classes, especially designed for kids (5-8 years old), youth (9-12) and/or young adult (13-16). Many of our youth, especially those 9 yrs and up, are already fairly skilled and attentive and prefer to simply attend regular classes and workshops. Classes that accommodate both youth and adults are usually well received, however we fully understand and support the need to either limit the number of youth in one class or require parent co-attendance.
Materials & Supplies – Instructors are expected to provide their own teaching materials, supplies, tools and shelter. Assistance with certain supplies may be made in special situations with advanced arrangement. We appreciate natural materials and whole-process classes that convey an awareness of source, history, seasonality, context, etc.
Steel & Non-Metal Tools – The tools used in any particular class, especially a hands-on workshop, greatly affect participant experience. We request that teachers minimize the use of pre-manufactured, complicated or expensive tools and strive towards using simple steel hand tools, (such as knives and awls) and non-metal tools (stone, bone, antler, shell, wood, etc…. ) whenever possible. If the class can include participants learning to make &/or use their own tools, even better. In proposing a class using non-metal tools, please be sure that you have solid experience using those tools effectively, that you have adequate materials to provide participants with functional tools and that you feel confident teaching students how to efficiently and safely use those tools.
Class Materials Fees – Class materials fees are charged to the student by the instructor and cover the cost of actual course materials only. Instructors do not charge for instruction and inflated materials fees are not to be used to make extra money. Any materials provided must be of good quality and materials fees must be realistic, comparable to similar fees charged by other instructors and directly applied to the resource materials provided. Classes that have no materials fee are encouraged.
Class Content & Awareness Around Cultural Appropriation – The fields of study represented at Buckeye are as diverse as the instructors themselves and classes reflect each instructor’s unique background, beliefs, cultural heritage and experience. We all come together or a week and strive to foster an environment of respect, understanding, acceptance and personal growth. Each person takes personal responsibility for what they present and the organizers prefer to minimize intervention into that expression. The majority of classes offered share skills that are pandemic and universally human. We as a community recognize the importance of respecting & acknowledging traditional and native people & cultures that are very much alive……… especially when sharing anything that is culturally specific, like a traditional song, story, ritual or ceremony. A “Cross Cultural Dialogue” discussion takes place at Buckeye each year. We recommend that if you want to share something that is specific to a particular culture or tribe, ask yourself how you acquired that knowledge, whether you also possess the qualifications to teach it and whether you would feel confident sharing it with a group that might include modern living people of that same culture or tribe? If the answer is yes, please remember that although we all know our own personal stories, others do not; so it is very important to briefly explain to participants (and to us) your background and why you feel confident sharing something of such a specific nature.
Commitment – Teaching is a time & energy commitment. Instructor staff are expected to fulfill a minimum of 20 hours of class instruction during the week. Our instructors are skilled and committed educators who are excited to share their skills and often teach more than their allotted time. We are not interested in a simple trade of tuition for teaching and want future regular instructors. Most of our staff have been with us for multiple gatherings and many have taught at similar gatherings for the past 10-25 years. We are a tight-knit community that supports and represents one other; we work together to keep these skills alive.
Essential Assistants – The number of teaching staff that facilities can support is limited and we often need to make hard decisions regarding new instructor staff in order to both keep our curriculum balanced. For this reason, we do not normally offer assistant spaces. If an instructor feels that an assistant is necessary, please contact us well beforehand and explain why, so we can discuss it. Approved assistants will be expected to fulfill the same 20 hour commitment that we request from you; that does not include sales time. Assistants are invited to eat at instructor & staff meals.
Thanks ~ we look forward to hearing from you!
The Buckeye Crew