Become a Teacher
Thanks for your interest in teaching at Buckeye this year. We are honored to host so many talented instructors, representing countless years of study and dedication to their craft. 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. There are two teaching positions that we offer: Staff Instructor or Volunteer Instructor.
VOLUNTEER TEACHER Guidelines
This is a volunteer position – please be sure to register for the gathering.
Generally, we ask that potential staff teachers register as students for the first year and offer a ‘volunteer community class’ or two so we can get to know one another. This allows us to observe your teaching style and see if you are qualified for a staff instructor position. 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 other skills gatherings/schools (especially in an underrepresented field).
Any student is welcome to be a community class teacher, and doesn’t need to run the proposal by us. If you are aspiring to be a staff teacher in the future, please send us a simple proposal of your intentions and what you would like to teach as a ‘volunteer community class’ this year so we can visit your class and collect feedback from participants.
STAFF TEACHER Guidelines
The earlier you apply the better! We are generally in the office from Jan-April. Instructor applicants who have not heard back from us by this year’s registration date should be prepared to register as a student in order to guarantee a space. 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.
Instructors are not paid; instead we offer several perks that make it worthwhile to join the teaching staff at Buckeye. We offer free attendance for our teachers and their immediate family (younger children & partners). We offer meals during the gathering (including staff lunches) and staff meals during event set-up days. Aside from scheduled teaching time, the rest of the week is open to learn and enjoy. This is a chance to join a community that we treasure. We provide a venue for teaching, promoting classes, selling goods at ongoing trade tables or blankets. Teachers will have exposure to a large, focused population of potential future students and will be able to post future classes/offerings on our bulletin board.
Teaching is a time & energy commitment. Instructor staff are expected to fulfill a minimum of 20 hours of class instruction during the week. When applying to us for consideration of an instructor position, we are not interested in a short-term relationship. The idea of trading teaching for tuition is not what we are looking for. We are looking for skilled people who are committed to their craft and are excited to share it with others. We are a community that supports and represents one other; we work together to keep these skills alive. We are also really excited to expand and diversify our teaching community
We are continually expanding our fields of instruction, but our priority is to focus on Ancestral skills, grounding into ancient practices while fostering liberating and emergent culture-building. We have inherited our structure from our parent gatherings; Earthknack, Wintercount & Rabbitstick. Check out our current range of classes for more detail.
Classes can 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.
Classes generally run Tuesday-Friday in blocks from 9am – 12pm and 1pm-5pm with an hour lunch break at noon. There is camp-wide land tending most of the day Monday, but classes that require multiple days (ex. Hide tanning) may get started that day. 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 as well.
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.
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’ judgment 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
The fields of study represented at Buckeye are as diverse as the instructors themselves and the classes reflect each instructor’s unique background, beliefs, cultural heritage and experience. We all come together for 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 universally human; cordage, friction fire, hide tanning, etc. 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. 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 have permission from those people, 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.