If you can remember as far back as high school it won't take long to name the teachers you loved and the teachers you could have done without.
No matter what level of education you completed or what level of training you have received each and everyone of us have experienced the amazing power of a great teacher or instructor. The power to engage their audience and deliver the material as if they lived it and truly believed in it.
It is true for anyone who wishes to instruct any topic to a group of people - you must be personable, articulate, organized, experienced, passionate about the topic and above all else a humble student.
A survival or bushcraft instructor is no different. There are a great many people that I have met who possess a wealth of wilderness knowledge. People who have spent a great majority of their life playing, working and discovering the majestic beauty of the wilderness.
However, many of those people would not make great teachers. Whether it be for an inability to verbalize techniques or for a lack of patience towards the beginner.
A great survival or bushcraft instructor is an individual who believes that any great success will come from mentoring the students and not from teaching them. The general public learns a greater amount of information from a hands on approach where it is their hands completing the task rather than the instructors hands.
As an instructor I feel a great satisfaction when I observe students succeed at a task after several failed attempts from their own hands. The humbling experience from failure and the exuberance that comes from success brings with it self discovery.
That humbling self discovery helps a true instructor articulate in few words that the wilderness is not there to beat or control but rather to experience and respect. A lesson often forgotten and overlooked when people attend survival courses.
The great outdoors can be a placed filled with amazing adventures and terrible tragedy. Those who understand to respect and use what mother nature has provided often leave the bush filled with satisfaction and a great sense of self awareness. Those who attempt to tame her mighty powers are often those who leave frustrated, injured, cold wet or some who don't leave at all.
When you're choosing a survival school or instructor be sure to ask about their philosophy. In the end there are thousand of qualified people to teach you the skills necessary to survive but few who endeavour to show the way of self discovery, the survival mindset and above all else the knowledge that you if you attempt to tame her, you will get bit.