Deaf Education Teacher
Akwaaba! (Welcome!) Volunteers in Ghana will serve in a stable democracy with a rich history and hospitable and diverse cultures. Ghana recognizes over 70 languages and tribes throughout the sixteen regions, all of whom co-exist harmoniously. Welcoming visitors is a point of cultural identity; Hosting visitors is the ultimate expression of Ghanaian culture. Acknowledging the presence of another human being by greeting them, honors their existence. In the local communities, visitors will be welcomed into families and quickly be made to feel at home. Ghana is Peace Corps’ oldest post, hosting volunteers since the Agency’s first cohort departed in 1961.
The Deaf Education program is integrated into the Education project. The goal of the Education project is for students to gain skills in math, science, and art to advance in their academic careers. Volunteers in the education sector will work collaboratively with counterparts and the communities to increase:
1. Achievement of students in STEAM (science, math, and/or art).
2. Students’ literacy skills.
3. The ability of community members to support students’ access to learning.
4. Capacity of teachers to use gender-equitable practices in the classroom.
In addition to these Education program goals, Deaf Education Volunteers partner with school colleagues to develop vocational and technical skills.
The Ghana Deaf Education program focuses on the Schools for the Deaf in Ghana. Despite a relatively large Deaf population in Ghana, there is still very little awareness about Deaf culture and extremely high levels of stigmatization. Volunteers work with students at the primary and junior high school levels to introduce critical thinking activities by instructing students in various disciplines. Volunteers also work with students in after school programs, organizing and running clubs, games and sports, and tutoring.
Teachers teach on average 24 periods per week. Each period lasts 45 minutes and each grade is expected to receive an average of 45 periods of instruction a week covering all subjects (nine periods a day for all subjects). Class sizes range from about 20 students to 45 or more. Students' ages can range from 12 to 23 years old. You will be responsible for teaching the subject assigned to you, developing lesson plans, teaching classes, giving assignments, grading homework and tests, and assisting students outside of the classroom.
Peace Corps/Ghana promotes gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. You will receive training on gender challenges in Ghana 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. Volunteers receive training on how to tell success stories and report numeric/statistical data to Peace Corps.
COVID-19 Volunteer Activities
As a Volunteer, you will be trained in how to best protect yourself from COVID-19 exposure and understand the impact of and steps to reduce stigma related to COVID-19. You may also have the opportunity to engage with your community on implementing or enhancing COVID-19 mitigation activities, such as COVID-19 prevention and risk reduction strategies including social distancing, hand washing, mask wearing, addressing myths and misconceptions related to these practices, and vaccine hesitancy. Activities will be tailored to address the COVID-19 circumstances in the communities where you will serve.
Competitive candidates will have one or more of the following criteria:
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education (general or with emphasis on hearing-impaired)
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline with state certification in special education (general or with emphasis on hearing-impaired)
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in Education with experience working with persons who are learning disabled, developmentally disabled, emotionally handicapped, physically handicapped, multiply handicapped, or hearing-impaired.
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline with experience working in classrooms or residential homes with persons who are learning disabled, developmentally disabled, emotionally handicapped, physically handicapped, multiply handicapped, or hearing-impaired.
Competitive candidates will have one or more of the following:
• Knowledge of American Sign Language (ASL) preferred, but not required.
• Experience teaching/practicing trade skills such as art, cooking, and sewing
• Experience in lesson planning
• Experience in project planning
Required Language Skills
There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position.
Peace Corps Ghana welcomes candidates who are already conversant in American Sign Language. All Deaf Education Volunteers work at Schools for the Deaf in Ghana. Therefore, Volunteers learn Ghanaian Sign Language (GSL) during their Pre-Service Training, instead of another language. Candidates who have knowledge of American Sign Language (ASL) are encouraged to apply, but ASL is not required prior to arrival in Ghana.
There are over 70 languages spoken in Ghana, but English is the official language. Since you will be taught GSL during PST, it is important that applicants are aware they will need to take initiative to learn the local spoken language(s) in their community as well to interact and integrate with the community at large.
Volunteers are placed in rural communities that are safe and secured and are expected to live at the same socio-economic level as the people with whom they serve. Volunteers’ sites vary widely due to several factors including geography, amenities available at each site (electricity, water), distances to travel, proximity of other Volunteers, and general remoteness. Some Volunteers will live in self-contained concrete houses while others will have one or two rooms inside a family compound or nurses’ or teachers’ quarters.
Peace Corps/Ghana requires the community to contribute housing that meets the minimum standard of at least one room with a porch/sitting area. Housing is to be adequately ventilated with a roof, a solid floor, walls, secure doors and windows, and access to year-round water supply (via boreholes and wells). Some Volunteers will have private latrines and bathing facilities (often a bucket bath). Others will share latrines and bathing facilities with not more than 6 persons in the household. Volunteers will be issued a cook stove to be used in a designated cooking area and all housing will maintain the high standards of household safety. Peace Corps and Host communities will ensure that you have safe cooking environment and equipment.
Pre-Service Training (PST) PST is an 11-week training that is intended to ensure that Volunteers are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed for a successful service. PST in Ghana will be community-based. Volunteers will receive training in their technical area, language, personal health, and safety and security, as well as a practicum. Volunteers will be held accountable for competencies in each of these areas. Outside of formal training there will be opportunities for Volunteers to interact and/or live with community members, to provide an immersive approach to understanding Ghanaian culture.
Climate: The climate of Ghana is tropical, with two main seasons. Generally, the dry season is from November through April and the rainy season is May through August. It is hot and comparatively dry along the southeast coast, hot and humid in the southwest, and dry in the north. During the dry season, the Harmattan winds are most extreme in the five northern regions with days of continual cool air, haze, and fine dust.
Communication: Communication systems have been steadily improving throughout Ghana. The level of reception, clarity, and speed of internet (where available) varies greatly throughout the country.
Transportation: Volunteers live and serve in rural underserved communities. Transportation to and from your permanent community is primarily via public vehicles, which, depending on the remoteness of the site, can have irregular schedules and may or may not be well maintained. Often, travel requires long hours on rough roads in buses and minivans. Volunteers generally walk or bike around their communities. Volunteers are not permitted to drive or ride on motor bikes.
Dress: Ghanaians are very meticulous about their dress and personal hygiene in the workplace and cleanliness is a sign of respect. Volunteers are expected to dress and behave accordingly. During PST, the dress code is business casual. Following PST, you will need to dress appropriately for work situations in your community. Dressing appropriately will help you gain respect in your host community, facilitate integration, and increase your credibility and effectiveness. It is advised to take cues from your Ghanaian colleagues, and dress to their standards of professionalism.
Volunteers with visible body piercings or tattoos may need strategies to conceal them. Peace Corps Ghana staff may ask you to be flexible regarding personal appearance to facilitate integration in training & during your service.
Serving in Ghana
Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Ghana: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, health, and safety -- including health and crime statistics -- in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.
Peace Corps Ghana welcomes couples. If one partner of a couple applies for the position of Deaf Education Teacher, the other partner must apply and qualify for Junior High School Math/Science Teacher.
Couples live with the same homestay family during Pre-Service Training and live in the same accommodation during their 2-year service at site and will teach in the same community, but not necessarily at the same school, depending on the community’s size.
The Peace Corps works to foster safe and productive assignments for same-sex couples, and same-sex couples are not placed in countries where homosexual acts are criminalized. Because of this, same-sex couple placements are more limited than heterosexual couple placements. During the application process Recruiters and Placement Officers work closely with same-sex couple applicants to understand current placement opportunities.
For more information please visit: https://www.peacecorps.gov/faqs/lgbtq/.
Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the medical clearance process.
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