Deaf Education Teacher
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The Deaf Education Program will be located in Western Kenya, a region with specific needs that align with Peace Corps Volunteer’s experience in Deaf Education, both at the primary and secondary education level. Recently, the Kenyan primary education syllabus was translated into Kenyan Sign Language (KSL) and KSL was declared an examinable subject, requiring a specific teacher to student ratio be achieved.
Peace Corps Volunteers working in Deaf Education will work to enhance teacher skills to teach and prepare deaf children for the national examinations. The purpose of the Deaf Education project in Kenya is to support Kenyan Deaf students and youth and to encourage their participation in learning and becoming independent productive members of their communities and families.
The project has three goals:
1. To build the capacity of teachers by expanding their range of educational approaches
2. To increase the academic achievement of students by improving problem solving and critical thinking skills while improving student enrollment and completion
3. To develop the life skills of students by inspiring them to become responsible, productive citizens who encourage gender equality and HIV/AIDS prevention
Volunteers work with education offices, schools, and local teachers, focusing on methodology, individualized instruction, classroom management and resource development for teachers of students with special needs. Volunteers also work with parents and the community to develop projects to raise public awareness and understanding of people with disabilities. The Deaf Education program in Kenya places candidates in special schools for the deaf (both primary and secondary) to teach using the standard national curriculum. If teaching at the primary level, PCVs may also work to increase student achievement in literacy and numeracy. The language of instruction will be in Kenyan Sign Language.
As with all Volunteer positions, flexibility and a positive attitude will be important for this project. Volunteers may be asked to teach a variety of subjects aside from the one which they were invited to teach. Volunteers will teach in the classroom and do activities to build capacity among their counterparts and co-teachers. Activities might also include the broader community and things like math competitions, science fairs, camps and clubs, and school improvement projects.
Peace Corps Kenya promotes gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. You will receive training on gender challenges in Kenya and you will have the opportunity to implement gender-related activities that are contextually appropriate. During your service, you will look for ways to work with community members to promote gender-equitable norms and increase girls’ sense of agency. As part of your work, you will also report on these efforts and their impact.
Corporal punishment is illegal in Kenya. While the government has regulations regarding corporal punishment, these rules are not always followed or enforced at the local level. Volunteers will often encounter different levels of corporal punishment. Many Volunteers find this aspect of life very challenging, particularly when as it is necessary to develop good working relationships with colleagues. Peace Corps Kenya encourages open dialogue between Volunteers and their colleagues, and exploring culturally appropriate and acceptable alternatives to corporal punishment.
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education (general or with emphasis on deaf or hard of hearing)
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline with state certification in special education (general or with emphasis on deaf or hard of hearing)
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in Education with experience working with persons with disabilities or who are deaf or hard of hearing
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline with experience working in classrooms or residential homes with persons with disabilities or who are deaf or hard of hearing
• A willingness and commitment to learn and use Kenyan Sign Language;
• Prior teaching experience;
• Ability to teach large classes (50+ students);
• Experience designing educational content;
• Ability to adapt and use different classroom management techniques;
• Familiarity with American Sign Language;
• Classroom experience teaching deaf children or youth;
• Experience in school and/or community presentations with children, youth, or adult learners;
• Interest and/or familiarity with HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention;
• Interest or experience working with primary and/or secondary school age children ;
• Experience with graphic design, T.V. captioning, filming, editing or creativity in developing HIV/AIDS educational materials; and
• Experience with youth development, particularly life skills development, promotion of healthy lifestyles, camps, youth clubs, scouts, etc. Candidates should be prepared to cope with cultural differences and engage in discussions for positive change, especially on corporal punishment in schools
Required Language Skills
Volunteers will be placed primarily in underserved and underdeveloped rural communities of the Lake Region in Western Kenya. These sites will generally be within a few hours of County capitol, with banks, a variety of shops, markets, local restaurants and guesthouses. Travel to Kisumu can take anywhere from 20 minutes to five hours by road. Volunteers will use public buses/mini-vans as a main mode of transportation.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) Volunteers are welcomed within the Peace Corps Volunteer and staff community, and many LGBTQ Volunteers have served here successfully. However, it is important to note that same-sex sexual activity is illegal in Kenya and punishable by imprisonment. Culturally, LGBTQ are not well accepted by many Kenyans, and LGBTQ Volunteers cannot safely serve openly. Please refer to the Local Laws and Special Circumstances of the U.S. Department of State’s travel page for more information.
Personal appearance is of great importance in Kenya. Female Volunteers are expected to wear modest dresses and long skirts (well below the knees, with upper arms and shoulders covered) and modest shoes or sandals in their communities. Male Volunteers should wear slacks, collared shirts, and loafers or other closed toed shoes when presenting themselves professionally. Hair should be neat or tied back. Volunteers’ professional appearance, work habits, and positive attitude towards colleagues and community members will go a long way towards helping them gain the respect of their community.
Volunteers are strongly encouraged to bring a laptop as this enables you to complete required assignments.
Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Kenya: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, and safety in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.
Deaf Education Teacher;
Secondary Education Science Teacher; or
Secondary Education Math Teacher
Couples live and serve together throughout their service. This includes living with a homestay family during the 11 week Pre-Service Training. Housing requirements for couples are the same as those for single Volunteers because it is uncommon to find houses that are much larger than the standard small house. While couples will live together in the village for their 2 years of service, they will work at different schools.
Due to Kenya’s expectation that whenever a man and woman live together they are by default married; unmarried couples should be prepared to present themselves as married throughout their service
Medical Considerations in Kenya
All Volunteers receive necessary and appropriate health care during service. In every post where Volunteers serve abroad, the Peace Corps maintains a health unit staffed by one or more health-care providers, called Peace Corps Medical Officers. After a 6-year hiatus, the first groups of Volunteers to return to Kenya will be subject to strict medical clearance requirements in order for staff to fully assess local healthcare resources and infrastructure. After arrival in Kenya, Peace Corps provides, and Volunteers are required to have, an annual flu shot, to take daily or weekly medication to prevent malaria, and to receive mandatory immunizations.
Please visit Peace Corps’ Medical Care During Service page for more information.
Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the clearance process and other health conditions that are difficult to accommodate in Peace Corps service.
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