Open Call for Teaching Writers and Artists

Woodland Pattern is seeking practicing writers and artists to serve as ongoing instructors in its Youth Literary Arts Program

Application Deadline: December 8, 2023 (to begin January 2024). Also accepting applications on a rolling basis.

Ideal candidates will have a combination of the following qualifications:

  • A genuine passion for poetry and the arts
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • The capacity and enthusiasm to support and inspire creativity in young people in grades 3 through 12. 
  • A dedicated writing, music, and/or art practice
  • Performance skills and/or experience
  • Experience working in multiple artistic disciplines
  • Skills, training, and/or experience teaching creative writing and/or adjacent arts 
  • Experience teaching or working with youth, particularly underserved youth, queer youth, and youth of color.
  • Ongoing commitment to strengthening teaching practice through feedback, professional development, and collaboration

Woodland Pattern is committed to diversity and inclusivity. Women, people of color, people with disabilities, and those who identify as LGBTQIA are strongly encouraged to apply.

As stability for our students is deeply important to us, only applicants who can commit to a full semester will be considered. Candidates who can make longer commitments of twelve months or more are preferred.

Time committment: Teaching writers and artists must be able to commit to teaching a minimum of two 90-minute sessions per week.

Duties and responsibilities:

  • Develop poetry and inter-arts workshops that honor students' voices, cultures, and experiences.
  • Teach and lead writing and arts activities that engage students creatively, while also reinforcing core reading, writing, communication skills and social-emotional learning.
  • Serve as a role model and mentor—supporting, uplifting, and inspiring students to express themselves through language, sound, and the visual arts.
  • Act as a representative of Woodland Pattern and a partner to each school site.
  • Assist with transcribing, curating, and preparing student work for publication.
  • Collaborate with the Education Director and school to facilitate a culminating event each semester.
  • Attend paid orientation and regular professional development trainings.

Compensation: $50 per hour of classroom instruction, and $25 per hour of adminstrative work (lesson-planning, professional development etc.). Poetry Camp instructors receive a flat sum of $1,000 per week.

How to apply: For consideration for next semester, please submit the following materials via our Submittable page by December 8, 2023. 

  • Cover letter
  • Current resume outlining education, qualifications, and relevant experience
  • One sample lesson plan for the age group / program you most prefer to work with
  • Contact information for two references
Teaching in Woodland Pattern’s Youth Literary Arts Program

Woodland Pattern employs more than a dozen teaching poets and artists throughout the year. Contracts are reviewed for renewal each semester, and our preference is to build enduring relationships among instructors, students, schools, and Woodland Pattern. Many of our instructors have stayed on for numerous years.

Instructors help us serve MPS students from 3rd–12th grade through three main avenues of student engagement:

  • Community Learning Center (CLC) programming
  • Milwaukee Queer Writing Project (MQWP) programming
  • Poetry Camp 

In our after-school and summer CLC programming, teaching poets and artists work collaboratively in pairs in Milwaukee Public Schools to engage youth ages 8–13 in interdisciplinary arts programming with a focus on poetry, performance, and visual arts. In a series of themed lessons and activities that build upon one another, students read, discuss, and create writing and artwork pertaining to multiple topics in the humanities—including identity, heritage, and culture. Each semester culminates in student performances, the publication of student anthologies, a special workshop with a visiting writer/artist, and/or other similar creative projects. Teaching poets and artists are encouraged to involve students in determining the focus/theme for each semester, so as to create lessons and activities that empower and meet the needs of students. 

The work of teaching writers and artists is to foster joy, resiliency, and belonging, while uplifting the creativity and brilliance of each young writer and artist they work with, with the ultimate goal of increasing students’ confidence and ability to express themselves through the arts.

The Milwaukee Queer Writing Project (MQWP) employs LGBTQIA+ identifying writers to work with LGBTQIA+ youth in partnership with Gay-Straight Alliance chapters at local high schools. Teaching writers engage students in creative writing with an emphasis on exploring queer identities and self-expression. Students write poetry and prose, read/perform their work, and have opportunities to engage with Woodland Pattern–hosted LGBTQIA visiting writers and artists. The program takes place in the fall and spring semesters, with each semester culminating in a keystone reading at Woodland Pattern.

Finally, Woodland Pattern offers two summer Poetry Camps. Poetry Camp is a five-day, inter-arts camp aimed at helping young people in grades 6–12 embrace their own stories and feel confident about telling them! Throughout the week, students write and participate in a range of creative activities, working with a core group of teaching writers and artists, but also with visiting artists. By the end of the week, students have produced various art works and created a body of new writing that is performed before the community and commemorated in print. 


After-school and summer CLC: Teaching writers and artists must be able to commit to teaching a minimum of two 90-minute sessions per week, with most sessions being held between 3–6 PM (plus corresponding administrative/prep hours). Residencies may be offered in the Fall Semester (12 weeks) and Spring Semester (18 weeks) and will follow the MPS academic calendar. Summer school (5 week) residencies are also available; days/times vary by site. 

Milwaukee Queer Writing Project: Teaching writers and artists must be able to commit to teaching a minimum of one 60-minute session per month (plus corresponding administrative/prep hours). Days/times of programming vary by site. 

Poetry Camp2021 Poetry Camps will be held online the week of June 14–18 and in-person the week of August 2–6. Teaching writers and artists must be available from 8:00 am–4 pm Monday through Friday and for an orientation meeting held prior to camp.


We acknowledge that in Milwaukee we live and work on traditional Potawatomi, Ho-Chunk, and Menominee homelands along the southwest shores of Michigami, part of North America’s largest system of freshwater lakes, where the Milwaukee, Menominee, and Kinnickinnic rivers meet and the people of Wisconsin’s sovereign Anishinaabe, Ho-Chunk, Menominee, Oneida, and Mohican nations remain present. 

We further acknowledge the grave evil colonialism introduced to these lands ​through genocide as well as slavery, and also via racist and xenophobic ​beliefs, laws​, and practices that continue to inflict harm upon Black, brown, and Indigenous lives. We honor those who have lived—and do live, now—at these intersections of identity and experience, and are committed to the active dismantling of white supremacy.

Read our statement on racial justice

720 E. Locust Street
Milwaukee, WI 53212
Phone: 414 263 5001

Hours: Tues–Sun | 12-7 pm

Closed Mon

Building Accessibility: Despite the age of our physical location, and attendant limitations to access, Woodland Pattern is committed to making its programs and facilities available for as many as possible. Please call for more information.

Events Accessibility: Woodland Pattern is able to offer captioning services for its online events and with advanced notice can provide ASL interpretation for live events. Please contact us with accommodation requests and questions.

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