Guidelines for Teaching for the TLA Network
The TLA Network seeks experienced transformative language artists to teach online classes for us. We currently offer 8-10 classes each year, and will be expanding offerings over the future. We envision our online classes as one way we can support TLAers making a living and cultivating Right Livelihood – creating work of meaning that serves the community. At the same time, the classes greatly serve the TLA community, which is rather dispersed, by allowing people to make community while learning about TLA.
Here’s some information to consider if you’d like to apply to teach a class:
Teachers need to be seasoned TLAers, which means they would have some or all of these qualifications:
- Ample experience facilitating TLA workshops and classes in the community, at colleges or other venues, at conferences, etc.
- Education (in academia or in the school of hard knocks) specifically related to TLA, such as advanced degrees in TLA, Expressive Arts, Arts-Based Activism, etc.
- Active teaching experience, specifically related to the topic of the class or the audience for the class.
- While we don’t require that teachers be certified in TLA foundations from the TLA Network or have a MA in TLA from Goddard or other colleges, preference is given to people who have studied TLA.
We want to diversify our teachers, and we’re actively looking for people of color, men, people with a social change focus to complement all the healing- and health-related classes, internationally-experienced teachers, and others who could help us grow TLA for many populations and communities in the world.
Timeframe: Classes may be one-time only, or 2-, 4- or 6-week sessions.
Online Platform: We use Moodle as our main platform, which allows students to work on the class at any time, day or night, and which allows you a lot of flexibility as to what you post. Moodle is very flexible and, once you get the hang of it, user-friendly.
Conference Calls: You are also welcome to do phone conferences (we have a phone conference number you can use) or, if it works for you, Skype or Google Hang-Out, although we strongly encourage teachers to make the bulk of the class on Moodle.
Setup: Our staff will orient you and provide technical support for you and the students — you’ll be oriented to Moodle through a video call with our staff, able to contact us for help (especially when getting started), and students will be oriented and have an email to write to if they run into issues. We’re not available to upload your class for you, provide daily assistance, or setup too technically complicated structures. We can also help set up conference call lines, Dropbox, etc. Once your class is approved we can give you a “sand box,” a Moodle page on which to play with building your class way in advance so to put together the class with greater spaciousness and less stress.
Grading: We don’t require grades to be assigned, however there are some requirements for people doing the TLAN certification (see below).
Class Focuses & Certification
We actively seek classes on a variety of TLA genres – writing, storytelling, theatre-making, expressive arts, etc., as well as mixed-mediums (such as storytelling and writing) – and on a variety of topics, such as health and healing, social transformation, right livelihood, engaged spirituality, and ecological literacy.
Past classes have included:
- Creating a Sustainable Story: Self-Care, Meaningful Work, and the Business of Creativity
- Claiming Your Erotic Story
- Making the Leap into the Work You Love
- Integrally Informed Writing to Know the Self
- Writing From the Root and Through the Body
- Your Calling, Your Livelihood, Your Life
- Songwriter’s Playground
- Not Enough Spoons: Writing About Disability and Chronic Illness
- Shapeshifting: Writing Our Beautiful Motherbodies Back
- Adventures in Songwriting: Fearless, Fun & Soulful Ways to Write Your Own Songwriter’s
- Writing as a Way of Healing: Ourselves and Others
- Diving & Emerging: Finding Your Voice and Identity in Personal Stories
- Seasons and Cycles: Sense of Place, Writing, and Healing
We also teach the class “Changing the World with Words: TLA Foundations” twice annually.
Our introductory certification, TLA Foundations, requires people to take 2-4 classes (depending on whether they attend the annual conference). For people counting a class as part of fulfilling their certification requirements, teachers must assess whether students have completed at least 80% of the assignments (we have an easy way to do this that requires minimal work).
Building and Running a Class
Setting an online class up is most of the work. Really! Designing what you want for each week in terms of assignments, images, links to videos and other sources, instructions and reflections you share, etc. takes a lot of time. If you’ve never taught an online class before, you might find that it takes more time than you imagined it would. The good news is that once the class gets going, it tends to be far easier for the teacher. So what are the elements involved? Here’s some very common ones:
- Title for each week’s focus
- Description of the week’s focus
- Short essay-ette or reflection by you – some people choose to make a video or audio of themselves sharing these reflections, then share the link.
- Summary of writing and other exercises, plus boxes for each prompt so that people can respond in a threaded discussion.
- Resources for students to consider or to look at carefully, or even homework for the week to read, view and ponder.
- Images! A class is far more attractive if you add a photo or graphic for each week.
- A discussion question for students to write about.
- Groundrules – very important for all classes (we also have guidelines for participating in online classes loaded into each class).
We can also share with you some samples of previous classes.
We recommend STRONGLY that you design and paste in all the elements in a Word doc (or whatever word processing program you use first), and then upload what goes into each week. This gives you a record of all you have in case there’s a technical glitch (like you add a bunch of stuff and forget to save it), and it’s also just easier to upload the whole shebang in one (or more) well-caffeinated stretch.
Once the class is up, you need to read all students’ responses each week, and respond with a few sentences or few paragraphs to each, commenting on what the student shared, suggest resources, tell related stories, ask questions, point out directions to consider, etc.. Since responses are always due when the clock strikes midnight on Sunday (and it’s now Monday), we recommend reading everything Monday and/or Tuesday of each week, then checking back on Friday or Saturday to remark on any stragglers.
Money & Marketing
Marketing: If you want to teach for us, you need to participate strongly in helping market your class. We meet you half-way: we will promote your class through Mailchimp emailings, our newsletter, our website and facebook page, and we’ll even meet with you to brainstorm ways you can reach your audience. But what we’ve found is that successful classes always have one major thing in common: the teacher is cultivating a solid following through regular outreach (via facebook, website, twitter, other social media, in-person presentations, word-of-mouth, etc.). We require a marketing plan in which you can list your ideas for getting started on outreach. We also find that teachers who teach successful classes often then get a following among our people for future classes.
Money: After extensive research into pay scales of other non-profits that offer online classes, and after looking at how we can use the classes to both enhance our teachers’ right livelihood and sustain the TLA Network, we came up with a simple formula. We split all proceeds for each class with the teacher. This comes out to be the same amount as many organizations offering on-line classes with more complex formulas (such as $13/week per student). How this works out is that if you’re doing a 6-week class, for which we charge $210 members/ $230 non-members, and 10 people register (8 of whom are members), you will make approximately $1,070. Checks are issued within two weeks after the class is complete.
To Apply to Teach a Class
Please submit this form, Teach for the TLA Network, and email your resume or CV (no more than 4 pages) to email@example.com. The form will include areas for:
- Proposed title of class
- Class description (limited to 250 words)
- Primary audience, such as who would benefit from this class? (limited to 250 words)
- Length of class (2 weeks, 4 weeks, 6 weeks, one-time only).
- Top three starting dates.
- Format, which would include Moodle, and if you’re also considering some phone and/or video conference meetings.
- Marketing plan, including how you’ll reach prospective students via social media (facebook, twitter, linkedin, etc.), web presence (such as blogs and/or websites), media (newspapers, magazines, radio, etc. if appropriate), other classes or workshops or events you do that would work well to share news of the class, and/or word-of-mouth ideas (how to get out the word among people in your community).
- Teacher bio
Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you!