Employment / Volunteering / Internships
Staff, full or part time – Staff are selected by democratic election. To be eligible the applicant must have spent time in the community so an informed decision can be made on both ends. See below for a detailed job description.
Intern – An opportunity to experience and learn how children develop in a free and democratic environment. If you are an education student, this might be a window into a world you didn’t know was even possible.
Substitute – Be on call to be a responsible adult present in case of staff absence.
Volunteer – If you have time available that you wish to share with our community, volunteering can take many forms. If you have a project or academic based skill to share, we will inform the community that your skill set is available and if there is an interest, we can coordinate for scheduling. The business aspect of the community is always welcoming of hands and minds for construction, repair, gardening, landscaping, IT, bike repair, grant writing, fundraising, corporate law…
Note that a background check is required for any long term engagement with the school.
Job description – It’s complicated, but in a good way. We are looking for a well adapted, open minded adult who can be part of a community and help maintain it, while keeping in mind that the purpose of this community is to be an environment for the students, by the students. Staff are here for support and to help bridge with the culture of the world at large.
Democratic self directed schools are founded on the wired-to-learn instinct of the human being. They provide an environment where students have the freedom of time and space to get to know themselves, within the context of others, and the world in general. The school’s leading philosophy is that the individual is ultimately the best one suited to determine the course of their own education. Students here determine their own schedule and activities. There are no established classes, tests, homework or age separation. You could view this as if it were a small village where the citizens move about freely with full domain of their choices as long as they’re within community standards of coexistence.
As a staff member your job is to be a part of the team of staff and students in determining and making happen the maintenance and development of the school. All adult skills that you have developed to this point are useful in a community, be it artistic, technical and/or academic. Daily tasks have a wide scope that range from routine to random and unexpected. You might be helping repair a bike, troubleshoot computer issues, clean, play a board game if invited to fill a spot, take meeting minutes, help to search online for the weird bug found outdoors, fundraise, draft grant proposals, explain the quadratic equation, deal with the bureaucracy of the city council, help edit, have a philosophical discussion, or help innovate on our business structures so as to stay cutting edge in today’s quickly changing world.
All this is done in a democratic environment where each community member (staff and students) has equal rights with one equal vote in all aspects of running the school including rule making, budgeting, and hiring of staff.
Wage is $20/hr with all holidays paid including Thanksgiving, Christmas, a week for mid winter and a week for spring break. Summers off, but not paid. No medical insurance. There is a $15/hr one month required trial period so that you and the community can get to know each other before an informed employment decision can be made on both sides of the equation.
We are not looking for teachers. Although a teacher background will not exclude you, we are not searching for the traditional teacher skillset. It would be the other skills you have developed and are developing as a human, that would make you an asset.
Unpaid internships, with a small stipend for food and travel, or volunteer positions are also available if you wish smaller scale involvement to experience the school on your own terms. This will not only allow you to be a part of the environment with the purpose of learning, but will also allow you to fulfill the trial period so that you may be considered for the ballot for the following school year’s staffing which is elected democratically each year from existing staff and applicants.
A quote from Daniel Greenberg, one of the founders of Sudbury Valley School:
“The starting point for all our thinking is the simple, revolutionary idea that a child is a person, worthy of full respect as a human being. These are simple words with devastatingly complex consequences, the most important of which is that the child’s agenda for their own life and learning takes priority over anyone else’s agenda – parents, family, friends, or the community.”
If this sounds like your cup of tea, shoot us an email at email@example.com to let us know about yourself, your background, areas of interest and skill sets. Let us know what you understand about the school, if you are looking for part time or full time employment, and why you would like to work here.