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Southern Word, Inc.

Writer Mentor

Southern Word, Inc.


Job Summary

About Southern Word

Founded in 2008 based on successful spoken word youth development and education strategies; educators, youth development professionals, writers, and poets built Southern Word from the ground up without substantial institutional or investor backing at the start. We have grown to be a national, non-profit leader in the spoken word education field, serving more than 5,000 youth, 40 schools, and 8 Tennessee counties each year.

Due to our passion for helping youth develop their voices and map their own futures, we have extended programming into music production and writing of all genres. In a culture which aggressively markets products and lifestyles to youth, Southern Word equips youth with the tools to transition from passive consumers into active thinkers, creators, and projectors of their own positive identity.

From guiding and hearing the stories of tens of thousands of youth, Southern Word understands our society’s shortcomings as they relate to youth engagement, literacy, diversity, and mental health. We are responding effectively to some of our most entrenched educational and youth development challenges.

Position Description


The primary purpose of this part-time positions is to support youth in building their writing, presentation, and leadership skills through creative writing and spoken word poetry. This includes a range of genres including fiction.  Writers will work with groups of youth at schools and youth organizations to support their artistic and academic development both individually and as a group.  Writers are expected to plan student-centered, interactive lessons, activities, and curricula for sessions in collaboration with other Southern Word writers. Writers will teach workshops and evaluate their own and other mentors’ workshops in a continuous effort to innovate the curriculum and improve all mentor’s teaching skills and methods. Since mentors are a main driver of program attendance for workshops, clubs, and events, writer mentors will be part of recruiting and marketing programs and events.

We are presently looking for mentors who have experience working with elementary school students, English language learners, and/or want to support our new Writers’ Room at Stratford High School.

Positions range from one workshop a week to schedules that may be closer to full time. This is a contract position that runs between October17, 2022 and June 30, 2023. Hours and compensation vary based on schedule, level of experience, and placements. Mentors often grow their work with Southern Word over time.

Job Responsibilities


  1. In conjunction with Southern Word team, plan, execute, and evaluate writing and poetry clubs, workshops, shows, and poetry slams; primarily for youth in schools and community settings, but also for adults and intergenerational groups at times.
  2. Mentor youth in their writing projects in individual and small group settings.
  3. Assist with recruiting and marketing programs and events through marketing visits, sample performances, and communication with youth and parents.
  4. Present own writing for modeling, demonstration and inspiration. 
  5. Document and submit documentation for all workshops, residencies, shows, and activities.
  6. Research and develop new writing activities and curricula for use in workshops and residencies.
  7. Support logistical execution of workshops, shows, and poetry slams.
  8. Attend team meetings.
  9. Other duties as necessary in support of the Southern Word workshops and events.


Must have experience in educational or youth development settings teaching writing.  Must have experience writing and presenting own writing in front of an audience. Must be active in own artistic pursuits. Must possess excellent lesson planning, teaching, and classroom management skills. Must be able to positively engage groups of youth in learning as well as focus on strengths and needs of individual workshop participants. Must be flexible and positive in the face of shifting situations. Must communicate responsively via e-mail. We are especially seeking mentors with experience teaching elementary school classrooms, proficiency in a second language, and/or experience coaching students in traditional classroom writing projects. Must be willing to work a 7am to 2pm schedule if necessary to serve Nashville public high schools.

Additional Information



How to Apply

E-mail cover poem and resume to


  • Date Posted: September 28, 2022
  • Type: Contract / Temp
  • Job Function: Administrative
  • Service Area: Arts / Culture
  • Start Date: 10/17/2022
  • Salary Range: $20,000 - $50,000
  • Working Hours: Varies in a 7am - 4pm time window