Enriching youth! …and your résumé.
Keeping on last week’s focus on youth science education, I can’t help but recall the awesome post-college gig I got as an after-school enrichment program instructor, essentially allowing me to add “science” to the teaching experience section of my résumé. With hindsight, this would have been the perfect job to have landed while in college, or even in high school. And while this boosted my all-around level of experience when on the job hunt, it would have surely helped my undergraduate college applications. Band and peer counseling are good extra-curriculars, but a job that actually got you teaching children? Even better.
The majority of after-school academic enrichment programs are run by private companies, and thus, train their own instructors. Four years of college plus a state-run credentialing program are for long-term, serious schoolteachers. As an enrichment program instructor, you’re basically hired by a private company to go out and teach THEIR curriculum to parents who prefer enrichment classes to daycare (or running wild on the playground, dissolving chalk into the water fountain until they get picked up. Anyone?).
It works like this. Elementary schools (mainly) will hire programs to come in and advertise their after-school fun-yet-academically-inclined activities, and parents will sign their kids up. These programs will send out instructors to run these sessions, usually 6-8 week classes, once or twice a week, on anything from Lego robotics, chess, sports, cooking, Lego robotics… you name it. Yes, you could teach second graders how to build robots out of Legos, and get paid to do it. And again… give yourself some teaching experience.
For some reason, teaching experience seems to be wildly impressive on an undergraduate college application. Just as “leadership experience” looks great, mentorship roles definitely highlight interpersonal strengths.
So. Looking for a job? Extra-curric to boost the résumé? Need flexible hours to accommodate your schedule? I highly recommend researching the after-school academic enrichment programs in your area and giving them a call. These programs are always looking for young, bright, energetic people (ahem… usually the same type of people looking to do well in college). Enrichment programs also tend to have a variety of different programs in their scope, so you’ll likely be a good fit to teach at least one, if not more of their positions.
I worked for a company based out of Studio City, California called Parker-Anderson Learning Centers, LLC, an enrichment program that offered a ton of great, fun-learning classes during the after-school hours at dozens of elementary schools across L.A. county and beyond. I was trained and assigned to teach classes such as “Weird & Wacky Science,” “Lego Robotics,” “Young Doctors,” and “What’s Cooking?” to name a few. I received a ton of teaching experience, a flexible schedule and a much higher hourly wage than more traditional young-people jobs. In the process, I realized that enrichment programs are a growing industry, as initiatives like STEM, which we saw last week, are pushing for kids to develop an interest in learning at younger ages.
California after-school enrichment programs to check out for employment:
ACT After-School Enrichment (Sacramento, El Dorado counties)
Outside of California? Please leave a comment with after-school enrichment programs you know of! Hide sentences that end with a preposition like this!
Bottom line? These are fantastic places to work if you’re a high school student, current college student, or recent college grad. This is a great alternative to working on campus if you’re a current college student and having trouble finding a job at your school.
If you land an after-school enrichment instructor position, you’ll thank yourself, and the cute kids you get to see each week in your class.