Instructor, Science First Program

Requisition Number: 
Youth Education
Job Status: 
Reports to: 
Manager, Science Career Continuum
Students in the Science First Program
To deliver a hands-on, free summer science program for Chicago Public Schools students in grades 7 to 10. The instructor will collaborate with a co-instructor to co-deliver an informal science curriculum with emphasis on ecology and sustainability. The instructor should be available to work/teach for 37.5 hours/week from June 21 to August 6, 2021.

Science First is a free summer science program that strives to increase students’ knowledge and appreciation of the environment and how scientists study the environment. Students participate in either a three-week or two-week session that take place virtually Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Students are provided with all materials they need to participate, including a laptop loan and WiFi hotspot to use for the duration of the summer program.

Duties and Responsibilities: 

In this role you will be responsible for the following: 

  • Work with a co-instructor to design and teach a curriculum emphasizing environmental science, ecology and scientific research; appropriate for middle school/early high school level.
  • Develop and lead lesson plans in addition to youth development activities.
  • Help plan weekly virtual guest speakers series to supplement the science curriculum.
  • Guide student group and independent research investigations, which they will present to the public virtually at the end of the session.
  • Administer and analyze student pre- and post-assessments.
  • Assist with other program activities as necessary.

 Key Garden competencies/behaviors desired:

  • Communicates in a manner that gains the trust and support of others at all levels.
  • Works effectively with others despite differences of opinion and style; builds alliances.
  • Has a tolerance for opposing points of view.
  • Strives for collaboration. Works cooperatively, as a positive contributor to the team.
  • Demonstrates a positive attitude and shows kindness in all workplace interactions.
  • Makes decisions appropriate for level of responsibility.
  • Can effectively adapt to change; can shift gears comfortably; is flexible, and embraces change with a “can-do” attitude.
  • Is self-aware; knows personal strengths and weaknesses; seeks feedback and is open to negative feedback as an opportunity for improvement.
  • Is cool under pressure; can be counted on to hold things together during tough times; can handle stress; is not knocked off balance by the unexpected; is a settling influence during a crisis.
  • Recognizes problems, constructively identifies and articulates solutions.
  • Picks up garbage when it is seen regardless of position.
  • Follows safety guidelines to ensure a safe working environment and consistently demonstrates safe work behaviors.
  • Is welcoming of new hires.



Our ideal candidate will have the following:

  • A minimum of three years combined experience teaching science in either formal and/or informal education settings to high school or middle school-aged students.
  • Bachelor’s degree in environmental science, biology, education or related field.
  • Knowledge of student development theory, particularly as it pertains to first-generation, low-income, students of color.
  • Previous experience integrating STEM topics in lesson plans and culturally responsive curriculum development.
  • Familiarity with e-learning and virtual classrooms.
Physical Demands: 
Indoor and outdoor classroom setting. Frequent standing, walking, bending, listening, and speaking. Some use of office equipment. Some requirements for lifting, pushing, or pulling items less than 30 pounds.
Why Apply?: 

Come work in a setting that is like no other as you support our mission: We cultivate the power of plants to sustain and enrich life. Take the first step toward being one of the employees who make the Garden one of the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Apply today. Please note that applicants who do not meet the required qualifications will not be considered.

Disclaimer: The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this classification. They are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities and qualifications required of personnel so classified.

The Chicago Botanic Garden is a M/F, Disabled, and Vet EEO/AA Employer.

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer and do not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, sex, age, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, status as a veteran, and basis of disability or any other federal, state or local protected class.

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, the Chicago Botanic Garden does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its programs or activities, including in employment or admissions. Please call (847) 835-8264 to contact our Title IX coordinator should you have questions or concerns.