Hiring Call: Poetry Teaching Artists


In-School and After-School Residencies, Chicago Poetry Center 


Position: Poet in Residence with the Chicago Poetry Center 

Deadline: Friday, August 6th, 2021 

About the Program: The Chicago Poetry Center has been an arts partner to Chicago schools for over twenty years. Our teaching artists (Poets in Residence) are active Chicago poets with teaching experience. Poets in  Residence are paired with a school to conduct a 10-20 session residency, which can range from October–May, or occur over a shorter time period during the academic year. Poets write lessons for their residencies, and in each lesson, poets read, discuss, and write poetry with their students. Poets in Residence teach culturally responsive lessons that are tailored to the students in their residency and publish student poems weekly.

Qualified applicants are: 

  • Working poets 
  • Experienced in teaching and creating lesson plans 
  • Skilled at working with young people in classroom settings
  • Open to collaborating with classroom teachers on classroom management and learning goals
  • Comfortable blogging in WordPress (weekly student publications) 
  • Enthusiastic about poetry, creativity, and teaching our students 
  • Reliable, committed, strong communicators 

Applicants who are able to conduct a bilingual Spanish/English residency, and/or with  elementary-age teaching experience, are highly encouraged to apply. 

CPC seeks to recruit persons of diverse backgrounds. CPC is inclusive of people regardless of their race,  ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, marital status, age, physical  abilities, political affiliation, religious beliefs or any other non-merit fact, so that all team members feel  included, equally valued, and supported. 

Further Details: This is an hourly paid, independent contractor position (with annual scheduled pay increases for returning poets). Poets are paid for teaching, training, and prep/blog time. Poets must be able to teach CPC lesson plans and to design their own lessons —we utilize a mixture of the two to create customized programs for each individual classroom. Poets must commit to weekly residency sessions through the academic year, attend training sessions, and commit to weekly publication of student work via the residency blog. CPC will facilitate the creation of a year-long residency schedule with mutually agreeable weekly set session times for each Poet in Residence and each Partner School. Poets may have multiple residencies within one school, and may partner with multiple schools. 

Our program boasts exceptional retention of teaching artists and school partnerships. We’re looking for people who are eager to join that community of educators, artists, students, and community-networked Chicagoans.

Compensation: First-year teaching artists earn $30 per hour (pay scale increases annually). For each hour of instruction, CPC pays for 45 minutes of prep time. Total compensation for each hour of teaching is $52.50 (1.75 hrs x $30). CPC pays for training hours, pre-semester, and mid-semester syllabus prep hours. 

How To Apply: Send a letter of interest and resume/CV to Helene Achanzar at jobs@poetrycenter.org with the subject: (Your Name): Application for Poet in Residence. Please put your name and relevant file info in your attached documents (Ex: Achanzar_Resume.pdf). In your cover letter, please clarify the specifics of your teaching experience (ages, grades, type of teaching, amount of experience), as well as your poetry experience. If you’re excited about education, if you believe in creativity in the classroom—we want to know about it. 

Position Timeline: Interviews will take place in August, and successful applicants will participate in paid training during September. Most residencies will start in October and November and will end in April or May.



“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.