DJ, Hip-Hop Dance, Spoken Word Instructors – Words Beats & Life (WBL) – Washington, DC

Words Beats & Life Academy

Teaching Openings: Hip-Hop DJ, Hip-Hop Dance/Choriography & Spoken Word instructor.

REPORTS TO: Executive Director

PURPOSE: As part of the Academy Staff, Teaching artists provide instruction and exposure to their craft, employ positive youth development principles and encourage the development of skills, knowledge and outlook of their students. The duties and responsibilities of the teaching artist allow her/him to build meaningful mentoring relationships with Academy students to promote skill mastery, the pursuit of post-secondary education, employability and mastery of self.

PROCESS: Members of our teaching staff each work as independent contractors. Contracts are renewed every session, approximately every 3-4 months. Pay raises are determined annually based on performance and available funding.

THE WORD BEATS & LIFE ACADEMY: The Academy is a pre-vocational arts program, offering free Hip-Hop classes to young people ages 14-23 in DC. Classes include DJing, B-boying/B-girling, Hip-Hop Choreography, Emceeing, Graffiti, Fine Art, Street Art, Beat production, Spoken Word and Chess. We believe Hip-Hop can serve as a wedge between hope and despair for the youth of DC. WBL is committed to producing learning journeys through hip-hop that lead Academy students to succeed in our five (5) focus areas: Skill Mastery, Pursuit of a Post-Secondary Education, Employability, Community, and Self Mastery. Each Academy Apprentice will learn to connect art, commerce, and social change.

OUR VISION: The Academy utilizes hip-hop culture as a vehicle to develop knowledge of self to foster a new generation of students and scholars who see the value in preparations, mastery, and extended learning. Through the development of intergenerational relationships rooted in hip-hop culture, the staff of the Words Beats & Life Academy works closely with the students as mentors and coaches. These relationships allow the teaching artists, to share their skills as a means of increasing the students cognitive, communication, and interpersonal skills. .


To promote youth development through the arts and specifically hip-hop culture
To promote the pursuit of a post-secondary education for all our students
To create a positive community of young scholars and artists
To develop an appreciation for the history, techniques, and evolution of the elements of hip-hop
To promote the study and evaluation of hip-hop culture in a non-traditional learning environment
To expose the DC community to the talent and contributions of its young people

PRINICPLE DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITES:All Teaching Artists in the Words Beats & Life Academy are responsible for the development of lesson plans, instruction and general class facilitation, from concept to cleanup. Lesson plans are developed for each session of classes, approximately every 3-4 months for designated class(es) based on the established theme or based on a specific work product. Teaching Artists on staff with the Academy will:

1) Develop and submit lessons plans, with related materials/activities and a supply list necessary for class facilitation to the Executive Director, including the following components:

Identification of possible speakers, and guest artists to participate in programs
Identification of potential fieldtrips for students within your element

2) Design and facilitate group ciphers/discussions and activities with students to foster healthy group dynamics and an engaging, productive, healthy learning environment

3) Create an achievable timeline to guide students in skill development and work product creation. Students from your class will be expected to have some sort of work product to present at the end of each class session

4) Play a leading role in the Words Beats & Life Academy’s growth by facilitating and ensuring accurate daily attendance, evaluation and data collection and adhering to Academy policy and procedures

5) Arrive on time to and participate in the following mandatory job elements:

Scheduled Classes (arriving 1 hour before class start time to set-up for class)
Monthly Academy Staff Meetings
Supervision Sessions with Executive Director
Academy /Youth showcase
Annual & Mid-Year Staff Retreat

6) Maintain open and timely communication with Executive Director in order to efficiently and adequately leverage resources for class execution, guest teachers, field trips, etc.


1) Group Facilitation and/or formal teaching experience with youth is preferred and may be required under certain programming conditions

2) Must provide leadership and direction while, at the same time, being able to follow through on multiple projects/deadlines with minimal oversight

3) Must be committed to instilling positive values, personal identity growth, and community connectedness in young people

4) Is flexible, adapts easily to changing demands and is a team player

5) Experience with curriculum development, lesson planning and/or activity design


1) Teaching artists must personally and/or professionally engage in the element they are teaching

2) Must be willing and able to meet mandatory staffing requirements:

Current Government-issued Photo ID
Negative TB test results (results within one year are acceptable)
Child Protective Register Clearance via Children & Family Services Agency
FBI Clearance
Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) Clearance
CPR & First Aid Training Certification

3) Must complete any trainings deemed necessary to the fulfillment of job responsibilities

4) Teaching artists are expected to be willing and able to talk about Words Beats & Life, the Academy and their specific work using appropriate language and accurate descriptions of our organization & programs

5) Teaching artists will be issued a WBL T-Shirt/apparel and are expected to wear WBL apparel during Academy Events

COMPENSATION: Compensation is commensurate with experience and is based on the established Academy teaching levels: Interim/Substitute, Intermediate, Advanced, Master. The pay for instructors ranges between $15-$35 depending on experience.

ACADEMY CLOSINGS: The Academy follows both the DC Public Schools (DCPS) calendar and the federal government for closings. If schools or the government is closed, WBL classes will be canceled.

ABOUT WORDS BEATS & LIFE, INC: Words Beats & Life (WBL) began as a Hip-Hop conference at the University of Maryland, College Park in 2000, as project of the Black Student Union. WBL became a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization in 2002, founded by four University of Maryland alumni. Over the years, WBL has developed a multi-pronged approach to community and youth development. WBL transforms individual lives and whole communities through the teaching, convening and presentation of the elements of Hip-Hop culture. Our programming is rooted in four priorities:

Education: Hip-Hop is a powerful teaching tool because it engages people intellectually, creatively and socially.
Opportunity: Educators, artist, activists and scholars in Hip-Hop require access to the tools and information necessary to transform their skills, knowledge and experiences into tangible individual and community change.
Ownership: Artists and communities should by the primary owners of cultural artifacts they produce, archive and present.
Creativity: Educators, artists, activists and scholars develop and protect environments of innovation.

See the Acdemy in action and hear from our students:

How to apply

Submit you resume, coverletter, and work sample to with the subject “Academy Teaching Artist Position”