Feb. 17, 2017
Teachers looking to make a few extra dollars this summer have an outlet through TeenWorks. The paid summer youth employment program is prepared to hire between 40 and 50 teachers to serve as supervisors from June 13 to July 21.
It’s a job that math and science teacher Darius Sawyers has taken on the last three years; and he’s signed up again this summer.
“The students keep me coming back,” said Sawyers, who teaches sixth- and seventh-graders at Phalen Leadership Academy at Francis Scott Key School 103. “The students at TeenWorks are like the picture-perfect teens. The average kid (in the program) is very self-motivated. …They’re just amazing scholars, really the cream of the crop.”
Supervisors oversee a team of five to 13 teenage employees, working alongside them at various job sites — from urban farms to hospitals. The program employs about 500 students each summer, from Marion and Delaware counties.
Landon Martin, program director at TeenWorks, said the organization focuses on hiring teachers for supervisory roles because they’re available during the summer but, most importantly, because they already have the skills needed for the job.
“A lot of the same skills they use during the school year, they’re using with us during the summer,” said Martin. “They’re connecting with our students as mentors, teaching them about teamwork, and forming relationships.”
For Sawyers, the program allows him to see students in a different light.
“As a teacher, I’m so used to seeing students sitting in chairs and doing work in that realm, but it’s very eye opening to see scholars become leaders in a different light. At TeenWorks, you’re seeing them in small groups, working on job sites and working hard toward something that they want.”
Martin said the draw for teachers — who range from first-year educators to those with 30 years or more in the classroom — is the program’s focus. He believes that giving educators the freedom to “step away from state standards,” even if just for a few weeks, is like a breath of fresh air. Teachers get to focus on real-life employability skills every day.
“TeenWorks is more than just a summer job. Some kids just see the quantitative aspect of it (‘I’m going to make $1,000 mindset’),” said Sawyers, “but we also help students take that next step in life, whether that’s college, the military or cosmetology or welding school.”
The deadline to apply to become a TeenWorks supervisor is March 26. Applicants must be 25 years of age or older and either have, or be working toward, a bachelor’s degree. Supervisors work 40 hours a week (7 a.m. to 3 p.m.), with a starting pay of $20 an hour.
For more information or to apply, click here.