Teaching Fellow Opportunity
Dan Bergner, a New York Times bestselling author, spoke to FSW students about researching his book, “Sing For Your Life.”
NWS TEACHING FELLOW Guidelines and Application
The National Writers Series (NWS) offers a teaching fellowship in Traverse City each year. The program, Front Street Writers, is a collaboration created through a rare instance of a nonprofit coming together with a public school—the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District—to help young people learn the art of expressing themselves in fiction, narrative non-fiction, essays, poetry, business writing, journalism and technical writing. We begin our job search in late January and make an offer, usually by late March.
This position involves co-teaching two classes of high school writing students in a rigorous and creative environment. Each 2.5-hour class session enrolls from eight to 24 high school juniors and seniors, who have proven in ninth and tenth grade to have an aptitude for and love of writing.
While students receive high school and college credit for FSW, the program differs from the traditional high school academic course, both in structure and rigor. FSW is a workshop-centered writing program.
Both the teacher and the TF strive to instill in students the desire and the means for their development as writers. FSW rigorously challenges emerging authors to write across genres, and to become adept and sensitive critics of their own and others’ work. Internships are available in the second year of the program.
The Front Street Writers program is based on craft lessons and writing workshops, as well as master classes with visiting professional writers. The instructor and teaching fellow are professional writers, which imparts an important perspective to the curriculum.
The TF and classroom teacher work together to help students:
▪ Identify and master the craft of writing.
▪ Learn the discipline and critical rigor required to submit their work for peer and teacher review.
▪ Respond in a helpful and thoughtful teaching manner in discussions about classmates’ writing.
It is the responsibility of the TBA-ISD classroom teacher to manage the advisory board; oversee student scheduling; and maintain grades. Both the classroom teacher and TF track attendance, teach craft lessons and lead cohorts of student workshops.
FSW students will complete coursework to earn direct, transcripted English credit to Ferris State University. Additionally, they will be eligible to sit for the Advanced Placement Language and Composition Exam at the end of their junior or senior year.
Owing to this unique model, it is essential that the TF embrace the spirit of working collaboratively with the classroom teacher and the NWS executive director.
The TF also works with an NWS mentor, the National Writers Series liaison. The mentor serves as a sounding board and academic advisor. The mentor will observe FSW classes and meet monthly with the TF, the NWS executive director, and the classroom instructor. The mentor will also provide documented feedback to the TF at least once a semester.
Collaboration with the FSW affords the teacher and the TF a special opportunity to design a writing curriculum. In addition to the creative genres, Michigan’s Career and Technical Education requires 12 segments of instruction: technical and trade; business and marketing; social media and digital media platforms, and journalism and broadcasting. In addition, instruction around producing and publishing is also required.
Because this is a two- year program, the model for each of these segments considers returning students. Moreover, the curriculum builds on the existing skills of second-year writers while remaining accessible to first-time entrants.
The 2019-2020 school year is scheduled for 8/26/19 to 6/6/20, a 9.5-month time period. The first semester focuses on poetry, playwriting, fiction and creative nonfiction. The second semester focuses on journalism, broadcasting and publishing.
THE NWS/CAREER TECH COLLABORATION
NWS runs a year-round book festival and several other youth programs. In this unique collaboration, NWS invites its nationally renowned authors to speak and conduct master classes in the FSW classroom during their visits to Traverse City. Additionally, the NWS showcases student writing in the annual NWS Literary Journal and on the FSW website, overseen by the TF. Selected FSW students also read their work at NWS author events. NWS also provides internship, volunteer and scholarship opportunities.
As a Career and Technical Education (CTW) program, the FSW program is guided by an advisory committee comprised of current professionals in the field. The advisory commitee meets about twice a year.
Bachelor’s degree in English or the equivalent; MFA or comparable degree is preferred. Publication is also a requirement. Applications should include a cover letter, resume, summary of teaching experience, and published writing samples. Contact information should be provided for three professional references, including one in the writing/journalism field.
Candidates must be willing to learn and teach in a variety of genres, be comfortable in a collaborative work environment, and be prepared to adjust and respond to student needs. This program sets high standards for students at the same time that it shores up missing writing and technical skills.
The ideal candidate for the position will be a published writer in both fiction and nonfiction, and have a record of proven excellence as a writing instructor. The desired candidate is flexible and open-minded; invigorated by working with high school students; energized by the prospect of leading the development of a new, emerging program, and self-motivated. Experience as a journalist is a significant plus.
An NWS/TBA-ISD interview committee will review applications and resumes. Highly qualified candidates will be interviewed in Traverse City, either in person or via Skype. In that interview, they will be expected to communicate ideas and a vision of how she/he would contribute to this innovative program.
Responsibilities and Duties
1) Collaborate with Career Tech Center instructor to develop the FSW program including a scope and sequence for the course, unit plans, and lesson plans.
2) Provide daily instruction in writing. The classroom schedule is Monday-Friday, five hours each day plus prep. The TF will teach on days to be determined with the classroom instructor to ensure the NWS Fellow works no more than 30 hours per week.
3) Instruction will include lectures, workshop sessions, one-on-one tutorials, and project work.
4) Collaborate with the NWS executive director to provide readers at NWS events and to facilitate classroom sessions with guest authors. In addition, the TF will work with the executive director to provide student volunteers for NWS events, organize FSW student submissions for the literary journal, oversee student submissions/cover design for the NWS Literary Journal, and oversee student writing and blogging for the Front Street Writers website.
5) Meet with CTC and FSW staff as scheduled for program evaluation and discussion.
6) Participate on the advisory board to ensure relevant curricular experiences are implemented.
Teaching Fellow Selection Process
The National Writers Series staff and members of TBA-ISD will review applications and CVs. The top five candidates will be selected by February 22 and interviews held March 11-March 13. A final decision will be made by March 29 or sooner. Remuneration for this 9.5-month position is $30,000 with a two-bedroom apartment and utilities provided.
HISTORY OF NWS and THE FRONT STREET WRITERS PROGRAM
NWS was founded in 2010 by Doug and Anne Stanton and Grant Parsons. This year-round book festival is considered by writers, publishers, and readers to be one of America’s premier literary events. NWS has hosted 140 authors to date, including Pulitzer Prize winners, New York Times bestselling authors, and McArthur “genius” award winners. You can find out more at www.nationalwritersseries.org.
FSW took shape in 2012, inspired by Doug Stanton’s private school experience as a student at Interlochen Arts Academy, where Stanton majored in creative writing and theater. A benefactor funded his last year at the Academy.
“Having such an experience when I was a teenager,” says Stanton, “literally changed my life. I’ve never forgotten how fortunate I was to be taken seriously by practicing writers at such a young age.”
Motivated by a belief that “we can pitch in and make our public education a richer experience for all,” Stanton worked with public school officials to create the Front Street Writers partnership. The name was chosen with the belief that rigorous instruction about the most basic and essential human skill of all—the ability to communicate clearly—should be practiced on life’s main street, amid the joyous scrum and challenging hubbub of life. Since 2013, some 130 students have graduated from the FSW program.
The TBA-ISD was established in 1976 as a secondary career and technical education center that now serves more than 25 public and private high schools and approximately 1,100 students in the five-county Traverse Bay region. Students receive training and education in 21 occupational programs utilizing cutting-edge technology and state-of-the-art equipment. The CTC mission is to prepare students with skills and learning experiences for employment and life-long learning. CTC students are prepared for job placement or additional educational opportunities in colleges, universities, technical schools and the U.S. military.
A Year Round Book Festival
1200 W 11th Street, Suite 231
Traverse City, MI 49684