Teaching Artist

Teaching Artist
Personal Essay Writing Workshops, Grades 8–11

PEN/Faulkner is hiring dynamic, experienced Teaching Artists to lead short-term writing workshops in DC public and charter schools for students in grades 8–11. Our writing workshops are centered around the personal essay and are tailored to meet the needs of our partner school districts. Workshops vary in length from two to four sessions ranging from 50 minutes to 120 minutes per session. 

Teaching Artists will have placements throughout the year based on schedule and expertise. PEN/Faulkner retains a roster of Teaching Artists and reaches out as schools request workshops. Due to variations in school scheduling, we can never guarantee Teaching Artist placements. 

Position Overview:
PEN/Faulkner’s Personal Essay Writing Workshops bring professional writers to classrooms to help students practice writing in the personal essay genre, whether they’re writing to tell their own story or writing for a college application essay. Teaching Artists lead students through the creative process, from brainstorming to drafting to revision and editing, with possible opportunities for peer support in small group workshops or one-on-one conversations with the Teaching Artist.

Educators choose the schedule that works best for them, which might mean all sessions occur in a single week or are stretched out over the course of several weeks. The end goal is for students to have a solid draft of a piece of writing they’re proud of: one that has helped them find a new way to tell their personal story. 

Who Should Apply:
Applicants should be writers and be passionate about literacy education in under-resourced public schools. Prior teaching experience in K–12 schools is a must.

We value individuals with diverse talents, backgrounds, and experiences. If hired, candidates should be prepared to work collaboratively under the direction of our Writers in Schools Director; to provide an inclusive and engaging lesson; and to encourage young writers to explore creative risk-taking and “failure” throughout the creative process. 

Terms of Employment:
This is a limited-basis contract position with no benefits. Pay is $60/hour in the classroom, plus $30/hour paid time for mandatory training. Available hours depend on school schedules. Most workshops occur between 8 am and 3 pm. 

Mandatory Background Check:
All candidates who are hired must be able to pass a required background check within three weeks of hiring. Background checks include proof of a negative TB test and fingerprinting at the DCPS Central Office. 

Major Responsibilities:

  • Use PEN/Faulkner’s existing curriculum OR design your own an age-appropriate, developmentally appropriate writing curriculum in the personal essay genre
    • Curricula must align with district and school-level writing standards and also meet the needs of the individual classroom educator. 
  • Facilitate each in-class session. 
  • Communicate regularly with the Writers in Schools Director. 
  • Oversee in-class volunteers and interns who might be present to provide additional support to students.
  • Adhere to submission deadlines for lesson plans, timesheets, reports, data collection, and other administrative documents. 
  • Adhere to PEN/Faulkner policies supporting positive youth development, embracing creative risk taking and failure, and developing an inclusive community. 
  • Be able to work with and support the writing of students from diverse cultural, linguistic, and developmental backgrounds, including low-income students, non-native English speakers, students of color, LGBTQ students, and students with IEPs.
  • Adhere to a strict privacy policy regarding student self-disclosures, unless it requires Mandated Reporting. 


  • Bachelor’s degree or relevant experience.
  • Artistic excellence in writing, with preference given to demonstration of excellence in prose writing.
  • Prior teaching experience with high school or middle school students.
  • A willingness to take risks, accept direct feedback, and grow.
  • Comfort with travelling around Washington, DC to various schools.

Application Process:

To apply, you will need to submit the following:

  1. A cover letter explaining your relevant experience as a writing professional and your experience working with young people.
  2. A resume demonstrating your experience as both an artist and an educator in K–12 settings.
  3. A brief (no more than one-page) bullet-point outline of a four-session writing workshop for any grade 8–11, planning for sixty minutes per session. This outline should include activities and learning goals that touch on the main elements of the writing process: brainstorming, drafting, and revision/editing. Please be explicit about the grade level for which your lesson plan is intended.
  4. Two professional references.

Submit your application materials to Please put “Teaching Artist” in the subject line. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis until we are full.

About Our Education Programs:
PEN/Faulkner’s education programming offers dynamic experiences for young people to experience the personalization of the literary expression through enriching conversations with professional writers, writing workshops, and book donations, in English and in Spanish. We believe that through literature and writing students develop self-confidence and imagination; come to see reading as both an act and an identity; view writing as self-expression and self-narrative; experience the personalization of literary expression; and develop a sense of global citizenship and community. 

About PEN/Faulkner:

The PEN/Faulkner Foundation celebrates literature and fosters connections between readers and writers to enrich and inspire both individuals and communities.

Contact Information

Lacey Dunham, Director
Education Programs
641 S Street NW
3rd Floor