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Job Opportunity Academic Field Officer at Bridge International Academies

Who We Are

Bridge International Academies is the world’s largest and fastest-growing chain of primary and pre-primary schools with more than 400 academies and 120,000 pupils in Kenya and Uganda. We democratize the right to succeed by giving families living in poverty access to the high-quality education that will allow their children to live a very different life. We leverage experts, data, and technology in order to standardize and scale every aspect of quality education delivery, from how and where academies are built to how teachers are selected and trained, and how lessons are delivered and monitored for improvement. We are vertically-integrated, tech-enabled, and on our way to profitability. Bridge expects to continue rapid expansion in East Africa, and will be launching operations in Nigeria in September 2015, with India to follow in 2016.

About the Role

A Field Officer is a former (or current) schoolteacher who is very good at observation.  Each day, you're at a school.  Mostly it's at one of Bridge’s many Academies, though sometimes it's at a government school or a non-Bridge low-cost private school.  You're the "eyes and ears" of the Academic Team - a mix of experts at headquarters creating teacher training, books, lessons, and so forth.   

What You Will Do

There are 5 main tasks each day:

1. Observe 10 to 12 classes per day, and give them ratings, using Bridge's particular approach to feedback.  You rate the lesson itself (which comes from "headquarters"), the teacher, and the pupils.  You write out a detailed description of what happened. 

That feedback helps two groups of people back at headquarters.  First, the Curriculum Directors learn about strengths and weaknesses of the lessons themselves, so they can make changes.  Second, the rest of the Academic Team notices patterns by reading dozens of your ratings - and then gets to make changes to teacher recruiting, teacher training, curriculum choices, etc. based on the patterns you provide through observation.

This is the most important function of a Field Officer.  

2. You also interview teachers, parents, and the school leader.  We're constantly trying to better understand what is happening, and your interview notes help our team to make decisions.  

3. Third, you observe little things that may be unique to a single academy.  

For example, perhaps one school leader has organized a well-attended revision session that happens early each morning, and parents really like it.  Or another academy recently had a robbery - and you realize that there's a procedure which could help all of Bridge such as packages of books should be opened immediately by school leaders, lest thieves think something valuable is inside like a television and steal it.  

4. You notice problems like pupils who don't have the right books, or teacher computers that don't work properly.  

5. Finally, you sometimes shoot photos or video.  

That's a typical day.  However, a Field Officer might also: 

1. Be asked to administer test or grade tests 

2. Escort a visitor and explain how Bridge is different from other schools

3. Observe a new procedure - just to gauge if the new way is better than the existing way.  For example: What is parent reaction to our redesigned Parent-Teacher conferences? Teacher reaction? Academy Manager reaction? What are ways to improve it?

In sum, you gather both quantitative and qualitative feedback that will help drive Academic team decisions.  Your daily visits, when combined with those of other Academic Field Officers, help us improve the academic program at Bridge, a little at a time.  

Each day, you send all of this back to the Academic Team (via email, Skype, etc).  

What You Should Have

We're looking for a former teacher with a keen eye for observing others.  But that's not enough.  The very act of visiting schools and noticing "What works and what fails" must be intellectually interesting to you - a daily puzzle you want to solve each day.  Otherwise, the work would get tiresome.  

You also must be an effective writer, able to communicate what you see and hear.  And, you must be an effective interviewer - able to get teachers, parents, pupils, and academy leaders to speak honestly to you. Sometimes they will be nervous that if they share problems with you, it could cause trouble, so you need to be reassuring.  

You’re also:

  • You must be a self-starter.  That means you don't need a manager to motivate you. You're always early to work, work hard, no excuses, that sort of thing.  


  • You need to be willing to receive professional feedback on how to get better. In fact, you need to want that.  Some people don't like when managers or colleagues tell them how to improve.  That's not a good fit for Bridge culture - at Bridge you need to actually seek out and ask people "How can I do my job better?"  


A Field Officer is usually based near the national headquarters, and probably 80% of visits are straightforward - leave early in the morning, take transportation, return home that night.  Perhaps 20% of the visits require travel outside your immediate area.  

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