Director of Instructional Design, Lauren tell us, the Joy in the Work is in the Connections you Make

Here at Citizen Schools, the work that we do everyday would not be possible without our amazing employees. All who go above and beyond their everyday call of duty to ensure that our young people, schools and communities get the best that they deserve. Each month, we are going to spotlight one amazing Citizen Schools employee. Here is our first one, Lauren Chamberlain

Lauren with her adorable son Sam

Lauren with her adorable son Sam

What is your role at Citizen Schools? *

I am the Director of Instructional Design, which means that I lead our national training and ongoing support development work at Citizen Schools. Right now, my work focuses mostly on building out training and support structures for classroom teachers and volunteers in our Catalyst pilot. But in previous years here, I've worked a ton with regions to build out training for Teaching Fellows, Campus Directors, and Citizen Teachers.

Before working at here, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?

In college, I served as House Manager for Hoyt Hall, a housing cooperative I lived in for 3 years in Berkeley, CA. The 3-story building housed 60 women, all of whom had to contribute at least 5 hours of work to the house in exchange for reduced rent. In other words, we cooked the meals (in a huge industrial kitchen), mopped the floors, ripped out and replaced bathrooms, ran health workshops, and organized epic games of spoons and capture the flag. As house manager, I welcomed new members, ran monthly house meetings, unlocked people's doors when they left their keys in their rooms, and mediated conflicts that arose between members. As a Peace and Conflict studies major with an emphasis in conflict resolution, it was a great way to build my chops as a mediator while also learning a ton about what it takes to help teams learn from one another and work effectively together.

What do you like most about your job now?

I love getting to work with a diverse group of individuals across the country to strengthen our program offerings for students. Whether I'm leading a coaching call with a classroom teacher in Durham, North Carolina, supporting MDPs (Managing Directors of Program) and EDs (Executive Directors) in preparing for summer training, chatting with CDs (Campus Directors) about an upcoming training, or brainstorming in meetings with fellow National Team members, I feel tremendously privileged to have the opportunity to learn from so many people in different roles across the country.


What is one song that describes your personality?

When I'm feeling down, or overwhelmed, or especially joyful, I listen to this version, performed by Joan Baez and Nano Stern. The beautiful lyrics (written by Violeta Parra) connect to my sense of wonder at the world and gratitude for the complexities of life. That may sound sappy or cheesy, but, well...I'm kind of sappy and cheesy :)  

Here's one of my favorite verses:

Gracias a la vida que me ha dado tanto
Me ha dado el oido que en todo su ancho
Graba noche y dia, grillos y canarios,
Martillos, turbinas, ladridos, chubascos,
Y la voz tan tierna de mi bien amado

Thanks to life, which has given me so much.
It gave me hearing that, in all of its reach
Records, night and day, crickets and canaries,
Hammers and turbines, bricks and storms,
And the tender voice of my beloved.

What are five words (or less) of advice for others at Citizen Schools?

Seek out opportunities to listen.