Theme: Youth at Risk
Session(s): April 27 - May 15, 2020 (Secondary)
City Central Learning Centre is an alternative school for 16+ year old students who have not been able to be successful at a mainstream high school. We are in Whalley/North Surrey and, frankly, our population of students are some of the most at-risk in our district. Our students sometimes struggle with street/crime life, drugs and alcohol, significant mental health problems and emotional regulation. That said, our students are rarely aggressive or inappropriate at school. The regular day-to-day challenges typically have more do to with managing stress, anxiety & depression, difficult home lives, instability, poverty and disengagement with school. This is all done through having strong teacher-student relationships. We have very high absenteeism and work hard as a staff to get students to attend as much as possible. About 50% of our students are aboriginal.
In the Spring, I teach three different styles of classes. The first is the simplest, I teach English 10-12 and World History 12 in a one-on-one format. It is more similar to group tutoring and my main role is student mentor. Most candidates would find this very easy to be apart of. The second is boys PHE 10-12. We are a team sport based class that focuses on work ethic, commitment, discipline and respect. High energy is required to teach it well. Class can be a bit rowdy and we talk frankly about health issues young men in our community face. Being good at sports is not important. Have guts to try and fail is. The third is my City Stories Cohort. For three hours each day I teach a group of about 12 students (1) English 12, (2) Urban Studies 12, and (3) Housing & Living Environments 12. These courses are blended together. This is where creative and interesting teaching is really appreciated. It is an exceptionally flexible program and forward thinking pedagogy which is dynamic, hands on and responsive to the groups interests is the priority.
The ideal candidate (one candidate is preferred but I think we could make two work if needed) is someone who knows how to build relationships with students quickly. Everything we do at CCLC is centred on strong student-teacher relationships. If the three weeks are going to benefit the students, the candidate has to be able to connect with students. Our students are not particularly difficult to build relationships with.
The candidate also needs to have a humanities background and feel comfortable delivering a few lessons to the group. The lesson topic will be of their choice as long as it is connected to English, Cities or Housing (very broad so very easy). Creative or passionate teaching would be really appreciated. In PE, the candidate needs to be comfortable breaking a sweat with the students and leading or playing a variety of team sports. Being good at sports is not required. Being bad at sports is preferred.
Above all, the candidate needs to be mature enough to handle complex students with complex needs. It is likely that situations will come up which will challenge the candidate and their ego. The candidate needs to be both professional and fun at the same time and that is difficult. They also need to be looking to learn and improve as a teacher.
The candidate will learn a lot about school structures that are different than typical mainstream schools. We are unique in our school goals and tone, in how we schedule students and meet as a staff, and in how we approach education here at CCLC. There will be contrast between CCLC and a mainstream school that will be interesting for a thoughtful candidate. The candidate will also be challenged to deliver curriculum in exciting ways. I think this is a particular strength of mine and it is something I am passionate about. If the student is at the level where they can critically think about something like "backwards design" of curriculum, I would be eager to discuss another approach like "experiential design" for instance. This is a perfect environment for trying new styles of teaching and experimenting. The candidate will appreciate the low pressure environment where our staff has more professional autonomy and flexibility than at other schools. We are an excellent staff and we are trusted.
As long as the teacher candidate has heart and works hard, I will make sure they have a worthwhile experience.
Skytrain Station is 10min walk away.