Teaching at Achieve Learning Center Bellingham
How Achieve Implements Its Vision
At Achieve we understand that it is the parent who, with God’s guidance, leads and directs a child’s education. Our role is to offer options that can augment the child’s home-based education. Most Achieve students are homeschoolers, and should have filed the paperwork required of home-schooled students at their local public school. Most have parents who are actively teaching their children in several subject areas while using Achieve to provide coursework for areas in which they feel less competent. Some choose Achieve instruction for their older children, enabling them to focus on the younger children in the family.
All Achieve instructors are committed to biblically-based teaching. Free to use the best curriculum they can find, whether or not it is from a Christian publisher, our teachers continually integrate scriptural truth in their use of curriculum.
Tips for New Instructors
We encourage staff to think of each student and their unique needs. What do your students need to really learn the topic? We want our staff to flex their creative muscles, glean resources, and give themselves permission to pivot when needed. Some classes require adding to the curriculum, other classes need to slow the pace. Our students’ needs drive our content, rather than us driving our students through our curriculum.
You will need to be entrepreneurial; we will advertise on our site but we also encourage you to market your own courses. Because we are not a “school,” we cannot prescribe to our students what they must take; we can only suggest and recommend. Each year is different in what we can offer and the schedule changes based on our staff’s offerings.
Achieve offers you freedom to teach the best way you know how. Your curriculum does not necessarily have to be from a Christian source. We encourage you to take advantage of community resources, field trip, etc. Include the cost of these things into the materials fees, or inform parents early of your intent to attend an event that involves additional cost.
This is perhaps the most difficult part about teaching with Achieve. Teachers must be flexible, resourceful, and creative, transporting much of their teaching materials in and out every day. There is limited storage space at our current site. Achieve’s white boards, projectors, and video equipment stay in the facility.
Protect yourself from accusations of misconduct. NEVER work alone with a student in a room where you cannot be observed from the hallway or by someone else. If you must have a disciplinary conversation with a student, be sure to inform the parent. Whenever possible, have another adult present. Document the conversation. This can include the phone log that a call was placed to either the parent, your administrator, or another instructor, but a written record to your administrator, such as a note or email is especially helpful, even after the event.
A general rule of thumb is that a semester credit involves about 75 hours for the student, of which 45 hours is spent in our twice-weekly classes. Plan for your students to spend at least another 30 hours outside of class doing homework or projects. Some classes require 5 – 8 hours of homework per week. Because our classroom hours are less than most formal school settings, the student accepts the responsibility of investing significant learning time at home. For some students, this is their first classroom experience and the first time they are accountable to an instructor outside their family.
Evaluations/grade reports are provided for every student at the end of every term for classes for which those are appropriate. A sample evaluation sheet is available on request and may help you decide what kind of data you need to gather throughout the term. Achieve does NOT maintain records for transcripts.
Most teachers provide mid-term reports to each student/parent. It can be less formal than the end-of-term report and is intended to give the student/parent an indicator of how the student is doing, any missing assignments, or problems that need attention.
Parents are advised to keep a portfolio of all work completed which is often used to show/prove to an academic counselor at their subsequent school that the appropriate amount and content of work has been completed.
All students on the premises not waiting for parent pickup will either be in class or in a supervised study hall. NO EXCEPTIONS! Our study hall is set up for two reasons: To provide a quiet place for your child to complete homework, and to assist you so that you do not have to pick up your children in between classes.
We ask that clothing be clean, modest and respectful of our Lord.
Responsibility for the Student
Our students represent the whole spectrum, remedial to gifted. Among them we find variations in learning style, motivation, and readiness. Achieve’s small classes, parent support, staff support, and prayer all serve to facilitate the teacher’s success in meeting each student’s needs and maximizing each one’s potential. Finally, remember that our focus is to prepare students for God’s work throughout their lives. This demands excellence, persistence, honesty, and just plain hard work on the part of the student, the instructor, and the parent.
Freedom to Work Elsewhere
Most Achieve instructors have another job or tutor privately. If you are offered another position that you can do concurrently with your Achieve classes, feel free to take it. If it is a school setting, please know that we value the connections we have with other educational institutions that are in the area. You may become that connection.
How to Apply
Potential Achieve Instructors should contact Achieve staff administrator Sue Likkel at 360-815-0112 for additional information about Achieve and how to apply to become a Achieve instructor. The process begins with a phone interview about what the instructor would like to teach. We also share what we’ve learned about working with the homeschooling community, which can influence how the instructor chooses to design and present his/her classes. Here’s the process:
- Submit a cover letter
- Submit a résumé focusing on the experience in the field in which you wish to instruct as well as on your experience teaching and/or working with youth.
- Write a paragraph about your Christian faith. What do you believe?
- Write a paragraph about how you are growing in your faith.
- Tell us how your Christian faith informs your teaching. What do you do differently with your subject matter because you are a Christian?
- Provide three references that we can call. At least one should be personal. At least one should be professional, someone who has seen you teach. The third may be either.
- Include any other information you deem pertinent.
- Call those references.
- Perform our own background check or hire someone to do that.
- Perform a records check with the Washington State Patrol.
- Invite you to teach a 20-minute lesson to our board of directors and other instructors.
- Ask the board to meet concerning your appointment. We will notify you as soon as possible.
Additional information is available by contacting Achieve’s staff administrator, Sue Likkel.