Commitment to Accessibility & Diversity:
We strongly encourage people of color, LGBTQ+ community, veterans and active-duty military, parents, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from all cultural backgrounds to apply. Shedd Aquarium is an equal-opportunity employer and welcomes everyone to our team.
We recognize that it is highly unlikely that someone meets 100% of the qualifications for any role. If most of this job description describes you, then please apply. If you need a reasonable accommodation at any point in the application or interview process, please let us know at email@example.com. In your application, please feel free to select which pronouns you use (For example – she/her/hers, he/him/his, they/them/theirs).
The Learning Programs Department develops and delivers learning experiences outside of or in addition to a regular visit and provides opportunities for learners to dive deeper. We serve a variety of audiences across Learning Programs including students, teachers, teens, youth outside of school and families. This programming includes, but is not limited to, camps, school experiences, teacher professional development, out of school time programming for youth and teens and family engagements both at Shedd Aquarium, in off-site locations as well as in online environments.
The Learning Specialist uses creativity, promising instructional practices and evaluation data to design, implement and authentically evaluate programs that support various levels of Shedd’s learning framework. Learning Specialists utilize learner-centered teaching strategies to encourage learners to think critically about the natural world and their place in it, actively seek out relevant content knowledge and evaluate learning using authentic and formal assessment techniques. The Learning Specialist demonstrates ownership and autonomy in each program cycle while contributing to a culture of collaboration. They actively participate in reflective activities as it relates to their instructional quality. This position is primarily responsible for developing and facilitating learning experiences at Shedd, in the field, in local communities and in online environments.
- Approximately 40 hours per week.
- The schedule for this position may be Monday-Friday, Sunday-Thursday or Tuesday-Saturday. Schedules often change seasonally dependent on programmatic needs.
- This position must have the ability to work evenings, weekends, overnight hours, and holidays as required.
- This position must be able to work at Shedd Aquarium and in offsite locations.
- Starting salary at $47,000 annually
Essential Duties and Responsibilities
Other duties may be assigned. To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
- Develop engaging programs aligned to programmatic goals and outcomes
- Facilitate learner-centered programs
- Stay current on relevant best practices (instructional strategies, content areas, etc.)
- Utilize resources such as live animals, local natural areas, technology and other tools
- Demonstrate flexibility and adaptability
- Work with various audience groups on teams or independently
- Maintain resources, materials and programming spaces
- Continually incorporate assessment data in program planning and facilitation.
- Participate in project-related and skills-based trainings
- Collaborate with internal and external partners
- Actively participate in your own professional development.
- Use diverse, equitable, accessible, inclusive and justice (DEAIJ) practices in lesson design
- Demonstrate leadership in accordance with Shedd’s mission, vision and values
- Fulfill other duties as required
To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
- Bachelor’s degree in education, life science, environmental science, museum studies or a related field, or equivalent experience detailed in resume and cover letter
- Minimum 2 years of experience teaching in either a formal or informal setting
- Minimum 1 year of experience designing learning experiences
- Strong written and oral communication skills
- Strong organizational and time management skills
- Willingness to be trained to handle animals for education programs
- Willingness to implement programs aboard research vessels, in water and/or in wilderness settings for multiple weeks
- A valid driver’s license or ability to obtain a valid driver's license
- Read, write, speak and comprehend English
- Communicate professionally with various audiences
- Understand basic mathematical relationships and formulas
- Understand basic budgeting
- Solve problems using available information and resources
- Experience and comfort using a computer and basic writing, presentation and spreadsheet applications
- Learn new technology and new computer applications
- Willing to be CPR and first aid certified (advanced wilderness/outdoor training required in some situations); Shedd will provide these trainings as needed
- Experience working with students, teens, youth and/or families from Chicago communities or other urban areas
- Experience with culturally relevant science education practices and instructional strategies
- Experience facilitating and/or creating environmental education and conservation-based programming
- Experience working with diverse audiences
- Bilingualism (Spanish/English preferred)
- Experience facilitating outdoor program activities such as canoeing, hiking, snorkeling, camping, kayaking and other water-based experiences, etc.
- Comfort working in team-based environments.
- The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. If these physical demands present a barrier to your application, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can discuss possible accommodations.
- This is an active position. Staff will be required to move around the aquarium to various exhibits and workspaces each day. Stairs and elevators are available.
- Able to facilitate program activities, including but not limited to: using a tablet or computer, using common laboratory equipment, recreation equipment, and field related gear and equipment.
- Applicants must be comfortable in deep water and must be able to pass a swim test within 6-months of being hired. The swim test must be administered by a certified lifeguard. This test will be scheduled by the applicant.
Swim Test Components:
- Swim 200 meters without difficulty (any stroke, no time limit)
- Tread water for ten minutes without difficulty (deep water, no touching sides or bottom of pool)
The work environment may include the following sensory triggers: large crowds, unusual smells, unusual noises-which may be loud, low or moderate, temperature changes, changes in lighting, staff may get wet or dirty, and outdoor elements.
Shedd Way Charter:
- As ONE SHEDD, the Learning & Community team is expected to deliver an exceptional experience for other team members, staff, volunteers and internal and external guests. Each team member should demonstrate the Shedd WAY charter qualities including, but not limited to:
- Professional appearance
- Positive body language
- Seeking learner engagement
- Listening and responding to others’ needs
- Taking pride in Shedd
- Delight in the animals in our care
- Learning about and respecting those you work with
We are all learners, teachers and have connections to our animals. Whatever the position, we do it with a sense of stewardship, quality, integrity and respect. In Learning Programs, we strive to create a strong team that represents the diversity of our learners.
We strongly encourage people of color, LGBTQ+ community, veterans and active duty military, parents, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from all cultural backgrounds to apply. Shedd Aquarium is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes everyone to our team. If you need a reasonable accommodation at any point in the application or interview process, please let us know. In your application, please feel free to select which pronouns you use (For example – she/her/hers, he/him/his, they/them/theirs).