On teaching beekeeping

As the beekeeping instructor and trainer at a few places around the Omaha metro area, I am always looking for new information, different methodologies, most current best practices and techniques.  It’s my job.  

The way I see it, by even putting myself out there as an instructor means that there will be people who see and read things in various books, magazines, videos and from other people and they are going to want more details about those things.  They often expect an instructor to be able to answer  at least most of those questions.

So I study apiculture every day of my life.  I am in many ways more a student of apiculture than an instructor because I am always seeking new and different information.

When I am in the instructor/trainer position, it is my goal to teach people how to be successful beekeepers and apiarists according to their goals, objectives, locality and means.  The very last thing I want to do is teach people to be the beekeeper that I am.  

If all I ever accomplish is having students answer beekeeping questions with, “That’s what my instructor/trainer/mentor told me to do.” then I have failed as an instructor.  I endeavor to have beekeepers I work with to be able to be self reliant.  To know what their own goals and objectives are and the general practices and techniques to reach those goals and objectives.

Beekeeping is not just local, it’s individual.  It’s local in that the locality greatly impacts the success of the hives.  Local environment, weather, forage availability, etc…   Beekeeping is individual because almost every about you as a person is part of your beekeeping experience.  Your personal, political, even religious beliefs can affect your beekeeping decisions.

Trying to teach you to be the beekeeper that I am and having you learn only to mimic what I do is robbing you of your best experience and potential for success such as you define success by your determined goals and objectives.  I can’t bring myself to do that.

Instead, I make the effort to present the facts and most common knowledge so that you can make your own, informed decisions.  I encourage students and trainees to always ask questions about how the information applies or what more specific information might apply to their own beekeeping.

Any one can read a book or watch a video and gain information.  People take classes so that they can ask questions and get first hand experience in a controlled environment where they aren’t going in alone.

So I continue to study and learn to answer your questions and I continue to work at beekeeping so that I am able to pass along experienced and informed information.

I don’t believe there is a universal right or wrong way to go about beekeeping.  I think there is usually a best way for each individual beekeeper and their bees.

3 thoughts on “On teaching beekeeping

  1. Pingback: On teaching beekeeping by BBE-Tech | Beekeeping365

  2. bigbear Post author

    Thank you. With so many great people out there doing great work and making similar efforts, it’s more a matter of keeping up with all the awesome.

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