Mentor and Co-train Mathematics Teachers

Activity/project background

Partner: Maths & Science Leadership Academy NPC, (MSLA) (Local NGO)

The quality of math and science education remains a challenge in South Africa’s education system.
With only about half of Grade 12 learners passing mathematics from 2017 to 2023, and a concern about not enough learners taking mathematics as a subject, many experts agree that mathematics education is in crisis. This is partially due to the lack of math teachers in South Africa and the inadequate training for teachers. With the importance of math and science skills for growing the economy, it’s vital that there are enough qualified teachers to enable this growth. The quality of training and support for educators is crucial for an improvement in school performance. Recent reports show that only 43.3% of math and science heads of department in secondary schools are equipped to offer appropriate support to teachers.

The Maths & Science Leadership Academy’s (MSLA) mission is to educate youth for a sustainable future and is working to address the crisis in math education. MSLA has been working in South Africa for more than a decade and requires support in the following areas to ensure educators are providing quality support to ensure best practices by mentoring promising teachers at MSLA and mentoring novice teachers in local schools through collaboration with the Northern Cape Department of Education. After the pandemic, MSLA transitioned to a digital access center as a response to addressing the digital divide.

MSLA requires a pool of resourceful and competent mathematics teachers who can transform the classroom using technology. In addition, there are many novice teachers in local high schools who need extra support and guidance in growing and becoming confident and competent teachers in classroom situations. Therefore, MSLA is requesting three Virtual Service Pilot Participants (VSPP) to support two facilitators (and qualified teachers) affiliated with MSLA, in collaboration with the Northern Cape Department of Education offering similar opportunities to newly qualified teachers. The VSPPs will support teachers in developing the skills and knowledge needed to become confident and competent in their specific classroom environments.

MSLA has previously worked with a Peace Corps Volunteer. They understand that the role of the VSPP is very different than a two-year volunteer.

Virtual service engagement and tasks

The VSPP will engage in the following tasks, in collaboration with their Host Country Partners:
• Co-develop an assessment of teachers' competency in math
• Based upon the assessment, co-train teachers to deliver math content from the national curriculum
• Train teachers in key subjects in the national math curriculum
• Coach teachers to deliver curriculum and use of IT in the classroom

This engagement is expected to be approximately 24 weeks. VSPPs are expected to engage on the tasks listed above for an estimated 5-15 hours per week.

Meetings between VSPPs and Host Country Counterparts will take place after hours, 5:00-7:00 p.m. South African time. Specific times will be determined during orientation.

The Host Country Counterpart will have access to Teams and WhatsApp for regular communication and collaboration.

Per the Child Protection Code of Conduct, when engaging online with minors (0-18), two adults must be present.

Optional additional activities

The Peace Corps mission is to promote world peace and friendship by fulfilling three goals:

  1. To help the people of interested countries in meeting their need for trained men and women.
  2. To help promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served.
  3. To help promote a better understanding of other peoples on the part of Americans.

Goal 1 will be achieved through the VSPP's engagement and completion of the above tasks. The counterpart and VSPP may also choose to identify an activity that aligns with Goal 2. Additionally, the VSPP may identify a Goal 3 activity to implement during their engagement. See recommendations and tools for Goal 3 activities.

Essential qualifications

Education: Bachelor’s degree in education

Experience: Experience teaching mathematics to high school students

Intercultural skills and motivation: Active listening skills; leadership skills and technology skills.
Ability to build trust; being a source of support and guidance; having patience and showing respect.

Desired qualifications

Education: Bachelor’s degree in mathematics, math education, or related field

Technical Skills:
• Familiarity with virtual engagement and communication
• Using technology in the classroom

• 5-10 years’ experience teaching mathematics
• 2 years of experience mentoring teachers
• Experience in creating assessments of and for learning
• Teaching ESL students

Terms and conditions of engagement

VSPPs will be engaging with the host country partner, in coordination with Peace Corps post staff, remotely from the US. They should have access to a computer, internet, and telephone in order to enable direct engagement with the Peace Corps overseas office and the Host Country Counterpart assigned by the host country partner.

Orientation with the host country partner will be provided, within the designated virtual service hours, during the first week of virtual service via an online presentation and discussion. The host country partner will provide an overview of its organization, the local context, and how they envision collaborating with the VSPP.

The VSPP will have regular check-ins with their counterpart and bi-weekly check-ins with Peace Corps staff. Spending unstructured time with counterparts can be critical to relationship-building and is encouraged through activities such as coffee chats and informal calls within the weekly 5-15 hours.

Engagement-specific safety and security

The VSPP will receive an orientation on Peace Corps’ Child Protection Policy and how it relates to online engagement along with IT security best practices. The VSPP will be expected to follow safety and security guidelines for online engagement to ensure their safety and that of the Host Country Partner and their counterpart, and any beneficiaries of the engagement.

Supervision requirements

The VSPP will report to a designated Peace Corps staff member. The VSPP will be expected to abide by the Virtual Service Pilot Participant and Donation Agreement and Participant Principles of Engagement. The VSPP will also be expected to check in with the designated host country counterpart as assigned by the host county partner.

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