Hello - welcome to the Loft! We're happy you're here. Thank you for your interest in teaching with us.
First, please familiarize yourself with The Loft's Teacher's Guide if you are a new teaching applicant, always available at loft.org/about/workwithus; it's a comprehensive guide to getting many of your questions answered, including questions about compensation, our class cancellation policy, and much more. Please note it is a living document and is always a work in progress. Some of what is outlined in it is also stated below under "Terms of Agreement."
Second, whether you're a new or returning Loft teaching artist, please consider attending one of our quarterly learning and support sessions: Adapting Our Teaching Habits and Tools for the Anti-racist Creative Writing Classroom, and Disrupting Student Bias in the Classroom. The former is scheduled to take place on June 7, 5-7pm CST; the latter is scheduled to take place on June 23, 5-6:30pm CST.
Register for the June 7 session Adapting Our Teaching Habits and Tools for the Anti-Racist Creative Writing Classroom here.
Register for the June 23 Disrupting Biased Student Behavior here.
We'll have more sessions scheduled this fall; stay tuned for information.
And now, on to the rest of it:
The Loft will deliver classes in three formats for the fall term, 2022
In-Person Classes take place at Open Book, in downtown Minneapolis, in a Loft classroom space. Multi-week (12 weeks, 6 weeks, 8 weeks, 4 weeks, usually meeting for 2 hours once per week for the duration) or single session classes (typically 3 or 4 hours, but can be longer) are offered.
Online/Live Meetings are the most similar to face-to-face classes. Classes online with live meetings, via Zoom, at a scheduled time. Teachers of these classes may also use Google Classroom to make materials available to students for multi-week classes only. We prefer not to utilize Google Classroom for single session classes. If you have questions about why, please get in touch with the education director.
Online/Flex/Asynchronous Classes have no live meetings and are a good option for teachers with variable schedules, and perfect for students with unusual/variable schedules and/or unreliable Internet access. These classes take place on the Wet.Ink platform. Classes run week to week but students can sign in any time during the week to participate in message-board style discussions, read lectures, respond to writing prompts, etc. Because Wet.Ink is optimized for creative writing classes with tools to annotate and comment on documents, it is also a great choice for any classes with an extensive feedback or workshop component. These classes should have no scheduled live meetings with the entire class.
For this round of proposals we will ask you to pick ONE preferred format for your class.
Loft teaching artists must have a reliable and high speed internet connection and a computer, as well as basic knowledge of computer use, Zoom and Google Classroom, or WetInk.
What We're Looking For
Toni Cade Bambara said, "The job of the writer is to make the revolution irresistible." From September 2022 until August 2023, the Loft will invite class proposals and program events that explore how narrative power can lead movements for social change.
For our classes, we invite teaching artists to consider class offerings that equip writers across and beyond literary forms to exercise the power of the word to challenge the status quo, craft compelling change narratives, explore and articulate alternative visions of the future, amplify the voice to the oppressed and exploited, and to cultivate joy, healing, wisdom and compassion necessary for sustained struggle and peace. These classes will advance the skills of writers to tell stories about power, problems and possibilities in realms that are personal, public, and planetary. For upcoming events, we invite community artists to connect with us around possibilities that would advance and explore themes of narrative power or the role that writers and artists play in movements for social change.
A diverse group of teaching writers from all walks of life, who provide many different perspectives on approaches to teaching craft, the writing life, the (self- or traditional) publishing experience, etc. There are no required degrees or publishing credentials to teach at the Loft, just an active writing life and a desire to share your unique knowledge and experience with a curious student community. Please note, we do tend to prioritize teaching experience and some publishing credentials in those who want to propose "intermediate" or "advanced" classes in creative writing; in these offerings, students are often seeking the expertise of writers who have experience and accomplishment in these areas.
Diverse and inclusive reading lists and approaches to teaching craft. Proposals that include the names of 2-4 writers or a book/book excerpts likely to be read or studied as examples of strong writing craft are considered stronger proposals than those without. They must be from a diverse perspective - representation matters.
A strong, considered statement on how your class plan and teaching strategies will align with the Loft’s goal to be equitable, inclusive, and anti-racist in its classrooms and with its programming. If you need time to understand what the Loft means by this, or are simply curious for more information, please visit loft.org/About/EquityandInclusion. And, here are some suggested resources—especially if you need help leading and navigating classroom discussions of student work as they relate to these topics:
How to Be An Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi
A Good Time for the Truth, edited by Sun Yung Shin
Craft in the Real World by Matthew Salesses
Anti-Racism Writing Workshop: How to Decolonize the Creative Classroom by Felicia Rose Chavez
Appropriate: A Provocation by Paisley Rekdal
Online Learning Resources:
For an idea of how the Loft continues to build knowledge and capacity on this, please visit Team Dynamics.com and IDIInventory.com
National SEED Project (Seeking Educational Equity and Diversity)
These are just a few of the many resources available on creating an inclusive learning environment in your classroom; if you are unsure of how to do this, or don't understand how to articulate how your lesson plan and teaching strategies will create this kind of environment in your classroom, feel free to connect with the Loft's education director before you propose your class (firstname.lastname@example.org).
What We’re Looking For, cont’d:
Classes that are responsive to current events. The Loft has become a resource for people looking to navigate life online, from ways to increase proficiency in writing for an online audience, to ways to better navigate our new way of living and connecting virtually (writing for self care, journaling through hard times, creating community online). Classes designed to teach new job skills through creative writing are also in high demand (Copywriting 101, Editing 101, Descriptive Language, Communicate Effectively in Writing, etc ), as well as learning software or digital platforms used by writers (Scrivener, WetInk, etc).
Please don't forget, people still want to learn poetry, write their novel, and start their memoir, so classes on writing craft are still essential!
We are not an academic institution; there are no grades, tests, required reading, or papers required to complete a class. "Homework" is always optional.
Multiweek classes for writers in any genre or at any level. We are always looking for creative writing classes for adults in all genres and for all levels. Our students have a range of skill levels, commitment, and interests. We hope any writer looking in our catalog will find the class that's perfect for them. Be prepared to teach students with disparate skill sets and levels, interests, and abilities in a single class.
More advanced level classes are always needed; prior teaching experience and a record of professional accomplishment in the genre you'd like to teach are typically preferred for advanced classes. For established definitions of what constitutes beginning, intermediate, and advanced, please read the Loft Teachers Guide, or the About Classes document at loft.org.
12 week classes (for fall and winter/spring only, there are no 12 week classes in summer, only 8, 6, and 4 weeks, and single sessions) with instruction on craft, engaging class discussion, in-class writing opportunities, and sharing of work with option for feedback, and clear goals and outcomes.
Strong and flexible lesson plans. Loft classes give writers opportunities to engage with their teaching artist and one another, while also providing rigorous content, instruction on craft, engaging discussion, and in-class writing activities, as well as writing prompts students can work on between class meetings. Classes that combine all of these elements usually do best.
Workshopping. Some classes also promise a “workshopping” environment, where students can get oral and/or written feedback on their work from their peers, as well as from you, the teaching artist. This is usually best in more intermediate or advanced level classes, though “all levels” and beginner level classes can also create a supportive environment where sharing of work can happen. Please be clear, specific, and intentional about how much workshopping your class plan includes; not all students are looking to share their work in class, but many are. Define what workshopping means in your class specifically; does it mean only peer to peer feedback? Does it mean you will provide written feedback on up to X pages of student work per class meeting? Will workshopping happen only during class, or will you promise to take student work home with you and return the following week with X pages of written feedback to present to each student? Students seeking in-class workshopping and feedback on their work often have very specific expectations; if you plan to make workshopping part of your class plan, be specific about what you mean by that. Define what it means (many students don’t know) and then be intentional about providing ground rules and expectations for how students give and receive feedback. How will you create a workshopping space where no one voice is centered, but rather all are welcome and supported? How is your classroom and workshopping space a place for diverse, multicultural experiences and perspectives? How do you plan to address and redirect when these expectations are not being met?
Sequential learning opportunities in all genres ("Introduction to...." that progresses to "Intermediate" and then "Advanced" term after term). This of course requires a commitment to come back and teach beyond just a single term. Please email the education program director at email@example.com with questions.
Advanced classes, especially in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction/memoir. (Again, please remember we also need beginning level classes, as well as those that are Open to All, so don't shy away from proposing those, as well as single sessions!).
Classes for Readers - these classes encourage critical thinking and civil discourse by placing great books at the center of each meeting. For Readers classes can focus on one book or a few, and they can incorporate writing practice or not. Please consider local, national, and global events currently affecting our community, and think about books that might address questions, themes, and social issues people are grappling with NOW. Books can be fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or a combination.
What we are not looking for
We have not had success with classes that feel academic in nature (e.g., assigning academic writing texts, theoretical texts, reading lists that are too long, reading classes built around classics) or are too niche (e.g., somatic writing, writing in translation). Please get to know our catalog and current offerings to see what we do. Again, reading lists should include recent works and diverse authors; reading lists should also be fairly brief. The Loft offers community based enrichment education, we are not an academic institution.
TERMS OF AGREEMENT
By continuing with this application you are indicating agreement with the following terms and code of conduct.
Teaching Artists are Independent Contractors As an independent contractor, please note that the Loft does not make deductions from your compensation for taxes. We’ll provide you with IRS Form 1099 at the beginning of each calendar year. You’ll need to indemnify the Loft against adverse rulings by any taxing authority as a result of the consulting contract or in the event that you fail to qualify as an independent contractor for tax purposes.
Compensation You’ll be paid $6.50 per student per contact hour based on enrollment for your second class meeting (students may drop the class during the first week). For example, if you are teaching a 6-week class (meeting 2 hours per week for 6 weeks) with an enrollment of 14 students, your compensation will be $1,092. Tuition alone does not cover the cost of the Loft’s sliding-fee classes, which are made possible, in part, through grants and individual donations. Please consider becoming a member of the Loft (membership is not required to teach at the Loft). Those teaching a class for readers, which are more discussion based, facilitated book clubs, with no writing instruction involved, will be paid a flat rate of $50 per hour, regardless of the number of students enrolled. Minimums remain 7, maximums remain 12-17, depending on the max choice of the teaching artist.
For all classes, there is a possibility your class could be cancelled, and no payment received, if class does not meet minimum enrollment numbers approximately 3-5 days before the start date. Please be active partners with us in marketing and promoting your classes across all possible channels!
Multi-week classes have a minimum enrollment requirement of 7 students, a maximum of 17. Single and double session classes have minimum enrollment requirements of 7 students, maximum of 30. If you feel your class warrants different minimum/maximum enrollment requirements, please indicate this in the proposal form AND email the education director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please be prompt in all communication, whether responding to Loft staff, or connecting with students.
Please ensure you have access to all required technology needed in order to teach well before your class meets, from a reliable internet connection, a working computer, and appropriate software platforms available (Zoom, WetInk) ready to go.
Please review all communication and technical training information sent by Loft staff well before your class is set to begin. Doing so the night before is often a recipe for disaster - or at least ill preparedness.
Teaching Artist Supervision and Performance Review As an independent contractor, you truly are working independently within the parameters of your teaching contract. Our main performance review tool is student evaluations, which we also send to you. It’s a good idea to survey your students mid-way through the class in order to build upon what students feel are the most helpful elements of the class, and to proactively address any concerns students may raise. If you’re teaching at the Loft for the first time, a member of the Education Team may attend your first class meeting to provide assistance, support, and encouragement.
Class Texts, Handouts, and Copy Fees Required texts for online classes should be readily available online, in bookstores, and/or in libraries. College textbooks are often too expensive for Loft students and not a good fit for enrichment classes. When you select texts, please keep in mind that some students may have limited time available for readings and assignments outside the classroom. Often Teaching Artists prefer hand-outs to books. Copy fees for hand-outs are not included in tuition; students pay you directly during class. Please be sure to bring enough hand-outs for your students. Emergency copies may be made at the Loft for .10 cents per copy. You may not require students to purchase books you have written unless your book is an instructional text on the content you’ll be teaching. Feel free to use your own work to illustrate a lesson, but please do not use class time to promote sales of your books, and don’t sell your books to students during class.
Controlled Substances Alcohol and other mood-altering drugs are prohibited while directly engaging with students, with the exception of medically prescribed or over-the-counter drugs.
Class Cancellation Due to Low Enrollment If five or six students are enrolled, you may choose to teach the class (please be aware that enrollment may further drop prior to your second class meeting). If fewer than five students are enrolled, the class is canceled, typically 3-5 business days before the first scheduled class meeting. Classes with seven or more students are considered viable.
Class Cancellation Due to Weather The Loft follows the University of Minnesota’s lead on class cancellations due to weather. If concerned, please call us at 612-379-8999. We’ll announce cancellations via an email, on our website, and on our phone line. (Note that this is our usual policy and does not pertain to this term unless severe weather results in widespread power and Internet loss).
Class Cancellation by Teaching Artist Please contact us if you will miss a class due to illness or emergency. We’ll inform your students and work with you to schedule a make-up class. Please do not arrange for a substitute to teach your class without prior approval from Loft staff. If you cancel a scheduled class you have agreed to teach or fail to show up for your class, you will ineligible to teach at the Loft in the future.
Criminal Background Check The Loft Literary Center is required by its policies and its insurance carrier to conduct a criminal background check on anyone who will work, in any capacity, with minors. Teaching artists who refuse the criminal background check will not be eligible to teach classes for children and/or teens.
Promotion of Non-Loft Programs and Services Many Teaching Artists also offer private services, and many teach at other organizations. We’re happy to include your website address in your Teaching Artist bio. Feel free to respond to student inquiries about your services and other classes, but please do not use class time to promote your services, books, or classes you teach at other organizations.
Code of Conduct The Loft has revised and expanded their code of conduct, especially around sexual harassment. Please see the complete document here. https://loft.amm.clockwork.net/_asset/f22zpb/Loft-Code-of-Conduct-March-2018.pdf