This Guidelines for Teachers is currently in version 1.7.
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Thank you for teaching at The People’s Colloquium!
Table of Contents
- Overview Questions
- Education and Curriculum
- Becoming a Teaching at The People’s Colloquium
- Having the Role Revoked
- Lecture Proposal Form; Background Check; Class Contract
This document contains information about teaching at The People’s Colloquium.
New and established teachers alike should be familiar with this document’s contents and protocols, and accordingly, 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 should be reviewed.
Questions can be sent to Richard Pope, Executive Director, at ThePeoplesColloquiumPDX@gmail.com.
2. Overview Questions
2.1 What is The People’s Colloquium’s educational goal and focus?
The goal of The People’s Colloquium is to offer a structured but casual atmosphere of learning, comparable in quality to what’s found in a bachelor’s/master’s level academic program. The People’s Colloquium is a work in progress, and regularly evolves so as to reach closer to this stated goal.
Our education has two focuses:
- Mondays/Thursdays—Philosophy, with a secondary emphasis on the history of ideas and the humanities, taking the form of discussions, lectures, seminars, and open-mics.
- Tuesdays—Creative writing, including both prose and poetry, taking the form of classes, discussions, writer’s critiques, and open mics.
2.2 What is The People’s Colloquium looking for in a teacher?
The People’s Colloquium hires teachers of
- Philosophy, the history of ideas, and the humanities
- Creative writing
Teachers should have: (1) teaching experience, (2) professional degrees (masters/PhD or equivalent), and/or (3) demonstrable expertise. Of these, demonstrable expertise is the only necessary criterion.
The People’s Colloquium’s ideal faculty would be composed half of experienced academics, and half of passionate and knowledgable laypeople.
2.3 Why become a teacher at The People’s Colloquium?
- You believe there should be free and inclusive education in philosophy and creative writing.
- You want to build your resume or strengthen an application.
- You want to earn a modest supplementary income.
2.4 How often will a teacher actually teach?
It varies, and depends upon the following variables:
- How frequently a teacher wishes to teach.
- The number of active and interested teachers at The People’s Colloquium.
- The number of classes that a teacher is capable and qualified to teach.
- The number of classes that a teacher is willing to volunteer to teach.
- The number of classes The People’s Colloquium is able to fund.
2.5 What class formats does The People’s Colloquium offer?
- Discussions—where a short reading introduces a discussion question for participants to explore under the guidance of a discussion facilitator.
- Lectures—where a lecturer presents a structured introduction to a topic; current lectures focus on philosophy, with a secondary focus on the history of ideas and the humanities.
- Seminars—where a written text is carefully read and analyzed over the course of successive meetings; current seminars focus on philosophy; most are offered by groups affiliated with The People’s Colloquium.
- Creative writing classes—with a focus on the craft of poetry and prose, and publishing.
2.6 When does The People’s Colloquium offer its classes?
- 5:30pm – 7:30pm—a discussion focused on philosophy, the history of ideas, and the humanities.
- 7:00pm – 8:30pm—a lecture focused on philosophy, the history of ideas, and the humanities.
- 5:30pm – 7:00pm—a creative writing class.
- 7:00pm – 8:30pm—a discussion focused on creative writing craft and publishing, offered alongside creative writing critique groups and creative writing edits.
- Mondays and Thursdays
- Various times—seminars focused on philosophical works (The People’s Colloquium currently promotes affiliate groups that offer this, such as Nietzsche and His Children and The Portland Association of Deleuze Studies).
2.7 How does The People’s Colloquium support its classes and teachers?
The People’s Colloquium offers the following:
- An educational ecosystem for classes to fall within; details in section 3.
- Paid compensation for lecturers and creative writing teachers; details in section 5.
- Advertising for classes.
- Current advertising includes: Meetup.com, Facebook.com, networking with like-minded institutions, and word-of-mouth.
- Venue procurement.
- Classes meet at a coffee-shop or restaurant. Venues are private, quiet, and suited to giving a lecture or hosting a discussion.
- 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.
- All class resources posted online are open and freely available to the public, even to non-students.
- Supportive administration as needed and desired by the teacher.
- 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
In addition to classes, The People’s Colloquium offers:
- Open mics for ideas/philosophy—Mondays as need arises, 5:30pm – 7:30pm.
- Writer’s critique groups and editing—Tuesdays, 7:00pm – 8:30pm.
- Open mics for poetry/narrative—every other Tuesday, 8:30pm – 9:30pm.
3.2 Important notes regarding Monday classes in philosophy, the history of ideas, and the humanities
- The goal is to offer a comprehensive and reoccurring introduction to philosophy and related disciplines, while regularly going in depth on various subject matters, as our formats allow.
- Discussions and lectures should stand alone, i.e., not adhere together into a larger course.
- Explanation: attendance at our philosophy classes may vary on a weekly basis, and a participant in one part of a course may not be able to attend another part. The larger picture arises through regular attendance of a variety of offerings, not by consecutive attendance for a single course.
- The People’s Colloquium offers philosophy lectures at a ratio of roughly 2:1 compared to lectures in all other topics (the history of ideas, the humanities, and all related).
3.3 Important notes regarding Tuesday classes in creative writing
- The focus for these classes is writer’s and poet’s craft and publishing, with a secondary focus on English literature, theory and criticism, and all related.
- Classes stand alone, but can also be grouped together for up to 4 consecutive classes.
- The People’s Colloquium offers prose classes at a ratio of roughly 2:1 compared to poetry classes.
- Explanation: there are currently twice as many prose writers compared to poetry writers participating in our writer’s critique groups. The ratio of classes may change in the future depending on the composition of these critique groups.
3.4 Making use of the Educational Ecosystem
A teacher may make use of the the Educational Ecosystem by:
- encouraging that written assignments are critiqued at the writer’s critique groups, or submitted to an editor.
- encouraging that spoken word assignments are performed at the open mics.
- harmonizing lectures and discussions with those offered by other teachers, of which there are two ways:
- reach out to Richard Pope, the executive director, at ThePeoplesColloquiumPDX@gmail.com, for his input and direction.
- attend a teachers planning meeting, which are held once every 6 months.
When presenting to the open mics and the writer’s critique groups, students are beholden to a group of peers to be informative, convincing, inspiring, and more; currently, this is the only evaluation offered at The People’s Colloquium.
Making use of the Educational Ecosystem is optional.
3.5 Discussion and Lecture Syllabi
Each class should have a syllabus. There are two roles for a syllabus:
- It should inform participants about what they are signing up to attend.
- It should serve as an advertisement for the class.
Generally, syllabi should meet the following:
- A 150 – 400 word introduction and description.
- Relevant questions for the students to have in mind when in attendance.
- Expectations for what will be achieved by participating in the class.
- 1-4 “levels” of suggested readings or viewings, and no more than 1 mandatory reading or viewing; generally, the higher the “level,” the more time is necessary to read or view the suggested material.
Example syllabi can be found at our Meetups.
- Mondays/Thursdays (philosophy)—https://www.meetup.com/meetup-group-Philosophy101
- Tuesdays (creative writing)—https://www.meetup.com/The-Peoples-Ink/
3.6 Covering Controversial Materials
It’s acceptable to offer discussions, lectures, and/or classes that cover controversial topics. Furthermore, it’s inevitable that some controversies will arise from time to time during an open forum that encourages investigation into the truth.
When the teacher is intentionally going to cover a controversial topic, the following actions are recommended in order to make sure the resulting offering stays on track, positive, and inclusive.
- Offer a content warning before introducing any controversial material.
- Acknowledge that the material is controversial and for what reasons.
- Explain why the material is relevant to consider even given its controversy.
If a participant has a contention with the presented materials, please consider the following.
- Allow those with feelings and/or opinions a chance to make these known. Afterward, please thank them for their contribution. It’s important to give voice to those who want to draw attention to new ways of approaching the subject matter.
- Do not take a strong stance contrary to a participant’s whereby the controversy is deepened. Rather, as necessary, re-state your stance and your reasons for holding it, acknowledge that alternative stances are legitimate, and then continue on with the planned curriculum.
4. Becoming a Teacher at The People’s Colloquium
This section outlines the necessary steps to teach at The People’s Colloquium.
4.1 Understand the role
In addition to understanding these Guidelines for Teachers, the following should be reviewed:
4.2 New teachers must observe
If the teacher is new to their role, meaning they have no prior experience as a teacher, then that new teacher should first observe what they wish to teach, i.e., if they wish to lecture, please first attend a lecture; if they wish to facilitate a discussion, please first attend a discussion; etc.
4.3 Provide The Colloquium with information about yourself and your proposed class
Please provide The People’s Colloquium with:
- A resume.
- A class proposal, including:
- What you’d like to teach at The People’s Colloquium.
- How often you’d like to teach at The People’s Colloquium, ranging from once to regularly.
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 class proposal so that it is in line with The People’s Colloquium’s educational goals.
4.3 Providing The People’s Colloquium with proof of identification and a background check
The teacher must provide:
- Proof of identity
- State ID, driver’s license, or passport.
- A background check,
- The People’s Colloquium will reimburse the teacher up to $25 for a background check, so long as that background check is specifically for The People’s Colloquium.
- See section 7 for a link to our preferred platform for background checks.
It is The People’s Colloquium’s imperative to only hire teachers whose background checks reveal conscientiousness and good character.
If accepted, the teacher will proceed to the next step in this process.
4.4 New teachers must demonstrate a class or co-facilitate a discussion
If the teacher is new to their role, meaning they have no prior experience as a teacher, then that new teacher must either demonstrate a lecture, co-facilitate a discussion, or demonstrate a creative writing class, depending on what they wish to teach.
This demonstration or co-facilitation need only happen once. Demonstration lectures and demonstration classes should last around 20 minutes.
If necessary, the executive director will provide feedback to the new teacher, which may culminate in the teacher having to improve the style of their delivery or the quality of their materials before their proposed class may commence.
4.5 Provide a one-hundred word teacher biography and a portrait photograph
The teacher must provide:
- A one-hundred word teacher biography
- A portrait photograph
Both will be publicly displayed. For examples, and to see where your biography and portrait will appear, please view: https://peoplescolloquium.org/teacher-bios/
4.6 Signing the Class Contract
- The teacher must sign a Class Contract Form. A copy of this form can be found in section 8.
The People’s Colloquium compensates its teachers at the rate of $50/hour for:
- Teaching creative writing classes.
Lectures and creative writing classes both last 1.5 hours, and so a teacher can expect $75 per class they teach.
The People’s Colloquium does not currently compensate for other form of teaching, though gladly accepts volunteers for these roles.
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.
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