SpeakFirst Classroom Support Specialist Part-Time


Summary of Program: The SpeakFirst Debate program enriches the academic experience of talented and motivated students from Birmingham-area middle and high schools through participation in academic debate.  As they sharpen their debating skills, students also improve vocabulary, critical thinking, speaking ability, and language and study skills. SpeakFirst uses academic debate as a platform to support these students and guide them on a path toward excellence in college and beyond.


The high school team (consisting of 15 students) participates in two forms of competitive debate, Public Forum and Lincoln-Douglas.  Between the two styles, students focus on practical and philosophical questions surrounding current domestic and foreign policy issues, which emphasizes the ability to critically think about and convey arguments on these issues persuasively to a judge. In addition to debate, SpeakFirst provides our high school students one-on-one tutoring and mentoring, college admissions and financial aid guidance, standardized test preparation, cultural educational activities, and summer internships.


Our middle school program engages students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades at local middle schools in an extracurricular debate program.  Practices for the league are held after school twice weekly in each school and students participate in three citywide tournaments throughout the academic year.


Summary of Position: The SpeakFirst Classroom Support Specialist provides support to the middle school and high school programs, with a focus on classroom management support for AmeriCorps Member Coaches and facilitating lessons.



  • Middle School program responsibilities include:
    • Attend middle school debate practices 2 days per week (Mondays, Wednesdays) from mid-March through mid-May
    • Provide classroom management support and coaching to middle school coaches at practices
    • Provides support for Spring Middle School Tournament (tentatively Saturday in mid-May, date TBD)
    • Communicate with key stakeholders (parents, principals, etc.) as needed
  • High School program responsibilities include:
    • Attend high school debate practice 3 days per week (Tuesdays, Wednesday, Thursdays) from now through mid-March and then 2 days per week (Tuesdays, Thursdays) from mid-March through mid-May
    • Facilitate a lesson plan and/or provide classroom management support during high school practice
    • Transport students to/from practice
    • Attend 3-4 weekend high school tournaments to support students (dates TBD)
    • Communicate with key stakeholders (parents, principals, etc.) as needed


Reports to: SpeakFirst Program Manager


Location: Birmingham, AL, with some possible travel involved for weekend debate tournaments in Alabama or the southeast.


Hours: Approx. 12 hours per week, plus 3-4 weekend debate tournaments. 


Now to Mid-March

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
In Office (HS Prep) 2-3 hours, as needed In Office (HS Prep, 2-3 hours)

HS Practice (4-6pm)

HS Practice & Academic Support (4-6pm) In Office (HS Prep, 2-3 hours)

HS Practice (4-6pm)


Mid-March to Mid-May

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
MS Practice (4-6pm) In Office (HS Prep, 2-3 hours)

HS Practice (4-6pm)

MS Practice (4-6pm) In Office (HS Prep, 2-3 hours)

HS Practice (4-6pm)



  • Bachelor’s degree
  • 2-5 years of professional experience, especially in a setting working with students
  • Classroom management experience required
  • Experience with debate preferred
  • Experience driving 15 passenger van preferred


Other Expectations:

  • Positive attitude and rapport with staff and AmeriCorps Members
  • Collaborative spirit
  • Adherence to assigned deadlines
  • Attention to detail
  • Flexibility in a dynamic service environment


Compensation: Hourly Rate, commensurate with experience.


Physical Requirements/Essential Functions:  

The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an applicant to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Sedentary physical activity requiring sitting for periods of time
  • Talking and hearing
  • 50% or more time is spent looking directly at a computer


Note: This position is a temporary position that will end mid-May.  


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