Guidelines for Teachers

This Guidelines for Teachers is currently in version 1.6.

Future versions will be powered by your input, so please suggest the changes you believe appropriate.

Thank you for teaching at The People’s Colloquium!

Table of Contents

  1. About
  2. Overview Questions
  3. Education and Curriculum
  4. Becoming a Teaching at The People's Colloquium
  5. Compensation
  6. Having the Role Revoked
  7. Lecture Proposal Form; Background Check; Class Contract

1. About

This document contains information about teaching through The People’s Colloquium.

New and established teachers alike should be familiar with this document’s contents and protocols.

This document should be reviewed for updates before the start of each new class offered through The People’s Colloquium. (Comparing version numbers is a good way to determine if this document needs to be reviewed.)

2. Overview Questions

2.1 What is The People’s Colloquium looking for in a teacher?

The People’s Colloquium is looking for scholars and intellectuals who are passionate about the arts and humanities, and who are looking to share their knowledge in a structured but casual atmosphere of learning.

A teacher should ideally have: (1) teaching experience, (2) professional degrees (masters/PhD or equivalent), and/or (3) demonstrable expertise. Of these, having demonstrable expertise is the only necessary criterion.

2.2 Why become a teacher at The People’s Colloquium?

  • You're passionate about your subject matter(s) and wish to share your knowledge.
  • You believe there should be free and inclusive alternatives beyond what colleges and universities provide for practicing creative art and studying in the humanities.
  • You want to build your resume or strengthen an application.
  • You want to earn a modest supplementary income teaching at The People’s Colloquium.

2.3 How often will a teacher actually teach?

It depends on the following variables:

  • How frequently the teacher wishes to teach
  • The number of active and interested teachers at The People’s Colloquium
  • The number of classes/class series that a teacher is capable and qualified to teach
  • The number of classes The People’s Colloquium is able to fund

2.4 What does a class consist of?

A single class may consist of:

  • 1.5-hour lecture
  • 1.5 or 2.0-hour discussion

Generally speaking, our teaching schedule is:

  • Mondays, 5:30pm - 7:30pm, discussion
  • Mondays, 7:00pm - 8:30pm, lecture
  • Tuesdays, 5:30pm - 7:00pm, discussion (with a focus on literature and literary theory)

2.5 How does The People’s Colloquium support its classes and teachers?

The People’s Colloquium offers the following:

  • Paid compensation; details in section 5.
  • An educational ecosystem for classes to fall within; details in section 4.
  • Advertising for classes.
  • Venue procurement.
    • Note: classes meet at a coffee-shop or restaurant. Venues are private, quiet, and suited to giving a lecture or hosting a discussion.
    • Please note: students and teachers are encouraged but not mandated to purchase food and drink as they participate. This is how we're able to procure venue space without paying a fee for its use.
  • Hosting class resources on The People’s Colloquium’s online forum system.
    • Note: all class resources posted online are open and freely available to the public, even to non-students.
  • Additional administration, including discipline, when necessary.
  • Optional meetings to discuss how to be successful as a teacher at The People’s Colloquium.

3. Education and Curriculum

3.1 The People’s Colloquium’s Educational Ecosystem

The following comprises The People’s Colloquium’s educational ecosystem:

  • The People’s Ink—a writer’s workshop, offering critique groups for the written word.
  • The People’s Stage—a stage-based workshop, for those who want to share either ideas and art (Mondays) or poetry and narrative (Tuesdays).
  • The People’s Lectures—lectures in the arts and humanities.
  • The People’s Dialogue—discussions in the arts and humanities.
  • People’s Colloquiums—social events for artists and thinkers.

A teacher may make use of the educational ecosystem:

  • by encouraging written assignments to be critiqued within The People’s Ink, a writer’s workshop.
  • by encouraging spoken word assignments to be performed at The People’s Stage, a stage-based workshop.
  • by harmonizing lectures and discussions with those offered by other teachers and/or with our quarterly theme.

In the case of written assignments and spoken word assignments, the participant or student will demonstrate their grasp of class materials by incorporating them into a larger intellectual framework—an essay or a speech. When presenting to the workshops, participants and students are beholden to a group of peers to be informative, convincing, enlightening, inspiring, and more.

3.2 Curriculum

Each quarter, The People's Colloquium organizes its educational offerings according to a theme. Examples include:

  • Summer 2018, "Speculative Narratives and Philosophy"
  • October 2018 - March 2019, "Theory, Criticism, and Culture"
  • (planned) "Ancient Wisdom in the Modern Context"
  • (planned) "Modernism and Postmodernism"

Generally speaking, The People's Colloquium strives to offer lectures and discussions that are:

  • Arts and humanities focused, in the broadest sense of those terms.
  • Taught by local teachers and scholars, or those traveling through Portland. (We encourage local, but welcome all applicants.)
  • On topics that teachers are not only knowledgable regarding, but also passionate.

Slightly more specific guidelines for such topics include:

  • Philosophy—the history and contemporary expression of western philosophy and philosophy from around the world.
  • Criticism and Theory—the history and contemporary expression of criticism and theory.
  • Noteworthy Individuals—examples: Albert Camus; James Baldwin; Frida Kahlo; etc.
  • Narrative and Poetic Theory and Technique—covering the "why" and "how-to" for writing.
  • Histories—examples: Ancient Greek History; American History; Chinese History; etc.

3.3 Discussion Syllabi

Note: our discussion syllabus format may soon be updated. (9/11/18)

A discussion syllabus should contain, in the following order:

  • A 150 - 300 word introduction and description of the discussion and its purpose
  • Relevant questions for the discussion group to address.
  • 2-4 "levels" of suggested readings or viewings.

Example discussion syllabi:


3.4 Lecture Syllabi

A lecture syllabus should contain:

  • A 150 - 300 word introduction and description of the lecture and its purpose.

Suggested readings and viewings are welcome but not necessary.

Example lecture syllabi:


4. Becoming a Teacher at The People's Colloquium

This section outlines the necessary steps to teach at The People's Colloquium.

Please send all materials and questions to Rich, executive director, at

4.1 Understanding the role

In addition to understanding these Guidelines for Teachers, the following should be reviewed and understood:

  1. Guidelines for Participation
  2. Guidelines for Facilitation

Those who wish to lecture must first attend a lecture at The People's Colloquium, and those who wish to facilitate a discussion must attend a discussion at The People's Colloquium. This requirement may be waived if the teacher is coming from out of town.

4.2 Providing The Colloquium with information about the Teacher and Lecture(s)

The teacher must:

  1. provide a resume.
  2. provide a proposal. Please discuss your proposal with the executive director before submitting. A proposal should be a several hundred word description about the lecture(s) and/or discussion(s) that the teacher wishes to provide at The People's Colloquium. Please keep in mind the following:
    1. Our quarterly/semesterly theme
    2. Curricular focus
    3. Educational ecosystem
    4. Note: there is a strong preference that lectures and discussions stand alone, i.e., please do not pair lectures and discussions or envision them as a series. The rational for this request is that attendance at our seminar may vary on a weekly basis, and a participant for one part of an offering may not be able to make it to a follow up part.

Materials will be reviewed after they have been received.

  • If approved, the teacher will proceed to the next step in this process.
  • If not approved, the executive director will respond with an explanation why. If appropriate, this explanation will include advice about how to transform the proposed lectures and discussions so that they are in line with The People’s Colloquium’s educational mission.

4.3 Providing The People's Colloquium with proof of identification and a background check

The teacher must provide:

  1. Proof of identity, either in the form of a state ID, driver’s license, or passport.
  2. A background check, which is to be sent To The People’s Colloquium at the teacher’s expense. Please see section 7 for a link to our preferred platform for background checks.

The background check will be reviewed after it and the proof of identity have been received. If accepted, the teacher will proceed to the next step in this process. It is The People’s Colloquium’s imperative to only hire teachers whose background checks reveal conscientiousness and good character.

4.4 Lecturers must demonstrate a lecture / discussion facilitators must co-facilitate a discussion

  • A lecturer must demonstrate a lecture.

Those participating in the demonstration class will be The People’s Colloquium’s executive director and other teachers. This demonstration needs only happens once, and should last around 2o minutes.

If necessary, the executive director will provide feedback about the lecture, which may culminate in the teacher having to improve the style of their delivery or the quality of their class materials before their proposed class or class series may commence.

Experienced lecturers are encouraged to view this requirement as a way to help novice lecturers develop their own style of lecturing.

  • A discussion facilitator must co-facilitate a discussion.

This co-facilitation needs only happens once, and should last the full duration of the co-facilitated discussion.

If necessary, the executive director will provide feedback about the teacher's discussion facilitation, which may culminate in the teacher having to improve the style of the quality of their facilitation before their proposed discussion series may commence.

4.5 Signing the Class Contract

  • The teacher must sign a Class Contract Form. A copy of this form can be found in section 8.

5. Compensation

The People's Colloquium compensates its teachers at the rate of $50/hour for lecturing. Unfortunately, we currently do not have funding to compensate discussion facilitators, but hope to procure it in the future.

The People’s Colloquium does not compensate for any of the following: corresponding with participants and students; preparing class materials; travel-time; taking part in the workshops; or anything else besides providing lecture.

Important: teachers are also welcome to teach as a volunteer for The People’s Colloquium if they wish. While this is in no way expected, it is always appreciated.

6. Having the Role Revoked

This decision is up to the discretion of the executive director with guidance provided by the board of directors, as either the board of directors or executive director deem necessary.

Some reasons for having the role revoked include a breach in the code of conduct or general inability to perform one’s responsibilities as a teacher.

7. Background Check; Class Contract

Background Check

Class Contract