Hello there! Thank you for your interest in teaching at Echoes in Time. We are honored to host so many talented instructors, representing countless years of study, rediscovery, and rewilding. As a service to this community of generous teachers, we hold a high standard for new instructors. Though we already work with a solid volume of committed teachers, we do welcome a limited 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 we offer.
Please read through the following information, which describes the two teaching options that we offer: instructor staff and volunteer community class teacher. “Community classes” serve two functions: as a gateway for future instructor staff, or as an opportunity for those who want to come as students and share some skills. Generally we ask that potential instructors register as students the first year and offer a volunteer community class or two so that 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, or who are already full instructors at similarly vetted ancestral skills events (especially in an underrepresented field).
Any student is welcome to teach a community class but will need to have the proposal approved by us prior to or during the event. If you aspire to be a full instructor in the future, feel free to send us a simple proposal stating your intentions and what volunteer community class(es) you would like to teach this year. Be sure to also register for the gathering in June. Then, at Echoes in Time, 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.
Regarding a time frame—the sooner we get this information from you the better. April and May 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 Echoes in Time instructor staff:
1) Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org that includes the following:
Portfolio. 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 (2.5 days/half of the class time). Please also let us know what other topics you would feel qualified to teach (or where you could offer solid support). See “More Details” below.
Please include the following information in your proposal:
2) If you have applied as instructor staff and not heard back from us by this year’s registration date (see www.echoes-in-time.com), 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. Echoes in Time 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 a solid teaching background who can help us improve the quality and depth of our event. Every year is different. As the schedule fills out, we may find ourselves heavily represented in one field or track but lightly represented in another and looking to fill those spaces.
Community Classes. There is a specific space in our morning circle to announce these classes. This exploratory process gives applicants a chance to get to know us, lets us observe your teaching style and skills, and also allows us to get feedback from participants.
The Trade. Instructor staff and their immediate family (children, spouses, and parents) receive complimentary attendance as well as meals during the gathering (breakfast and dinner). 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 and 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 and living skills. We have inherited our structure from our parent gatherings offered by Backtracks (Winter Count and Rabbitstick), and this 25-year-old community has a distinct character that we strive to maintain.
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 (9 am–noon) and afternoon (1:30–5 pm) blocks, Monday morning through Friday morning. Monday morning focuses on the basics (string, fire, and cutting edge), and Friday afternoon 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 9 am–5 pm and take a shorter lunch break. There are also 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 (fewer than eight students) 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 prerequisite intro class open to all at the beginning of the week, and a limited advanced class later in the week.
Youth-Friendly Classes. Our kids and youth programs aim 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 are invited and encouraged to teach kid- or youth-specific classes, especially designed for kids (5–8 years old), youth (9–12), and/or young adults (13–16). Many of our youth, especially those 9 years 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 understand and support the need to either limit the number of youth in one class or require parent co-attendance.
Materials and 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 and 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. These 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.
Diplomacy. Echoes in Time is a cross-cultural experience. Everyone who attends, especially teachers, should come to the event thinking of themselves as a kind of cultural ambassador. This event is not meant for just one demographic or type of person. This means people should bring their best selves and be on their best behavior. Cultural ambassadors understand that cultural competency or diplomacy helps to bring people together through mutual respect. A joke, for example, that you might find funny at home could offend or fall flat in a more diverse setting. Cultural competency means not only understanding what actions may not be appropriate in a group setting, but also showing that you care about this. Anyone making racist, sexist, homophobic, prejudiced, or discriminatory remarks will be asked to leave.
Representation. Echoes in Time’s mission is to to unite people from different demographics, communities, and backgrounds, through the sharing of common traditions of place-based ancestral living skills. In order for us to fulfill this mission, priority is given to new teachers who represent underserved or underrepresented communities at our event. We want to bring lots of different groups together, and this means intentionally making space for diversity within our staff, teachers, and participants.
Class Content and Awareness Around Cultural Appropriation. An important question that we continually ask and reevaluate is: what is the difference between appreciation and appropriation? The answer seems to stem from the impact of colonialism: does the way I am teaching this technology continue the legacy of erasure and/or marginalization of a people, or does it accurately represent them and give back in a life-giving way? The fields of study represented at Echoes in Time are as diverse as the instructors themselves, and classes reflect each instructor’s unique background, beliefs, cultural heritage, and experience. The majority of classes offered share skills that are pandemic and universally human. In other words, most of the skills we teach were, and still are, found all over the world. We as a community recognize the importance of respecting and acknowledging traditional and native people and cultures that are very much alive, especially when sharing anything that is culturally specific, like a traditional song, story, ritual, or ceremony. If there is a specific cultural piece of technology (a particular style of weaving or pattern, for example), we prefer that a member of the contemporary culture teaches it, or someone who has been granted permission to teach it.
Here is a list of things teachers at Echoes do to make sure we are being appreciative and not appropriative:
Commitment. Teaching is a time and energy commitment. Instructor staff are expected to fulfill a minimum of 20 hours of class instruction during the week (2.5 days). 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 to 25 years. We are a tight-knit community that supports and represents one other; we work together to keep these skills alive. We are always excited to expand our community with other dedicated and passionate folks.
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 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 that 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 and staff meals.
Thanks! We look forward to hearing from you!
The Echoes in Time Crew
(Thanks to the Buckeye Gathering team for putting a lot of this together)