Deaf Education Teacher

Project Description

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 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.

The goal of the Education project is for students to gain skills in math, science, and art to advance in their academic careers. Deaf Education Teachers 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.

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.
All Deaf Education Volunteers work at Schools for the Deaf in Ghana. Therefore, Volunteers will learn Ghanaian Sign Language (GSL) during their Pre-Service Training

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. Some examples of appropriate gender activities include clubs, camps, and sports teams for girls or boys. 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.

Required Skills

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 in visually- or hearing-impaired)
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline with state certification in special education (general or with emphasis in visually- or 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, hearing-impaired, or visually-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, hearing-impaired, or visually-impaired

Desired Skills

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.

Although English is one of the national languages, Ghana is a country with a plethora of local languages. Volunteers will learn Twi, Dagbani, Ewe or Ghanaian Sign Language during PST based on the local language of the region where they will be serving and will continue to build on their language skills at site. Volunteers need local language skills to live and work in rural communities. Speaking a local language is a sign of respect and is essential to integration, safety, and security. Acquiring a local language will endear the Volunteer to community members as well as other host country nationals. While English may be sufficient in professional settings, many community members may be more comfortable in their local language. Developing a deep understanding and proficiency in local language will make it easier for a volunteer to navigate and work in the local culture and community. More than a third of volunteers end up acquiring a second local language when living at their site.
At the Junior High School level, courses are taught in the English language, however, student proficiency in English will vary.

Living Conditions

Volunteers (PCVs) live in rural communities and are expected to live at the same socio-economic level as the people with whom they serve. PCV sites vary widely due to factors including geography, amenities available at each site (electricity, water), distances to travel, proximity of other PCVs, and remoteness. Some PCVs live in self-contained concrete houses while others have one or two rooms inside a family compound or nurses’ or teachers’ quarters.
Peace Corps requires the community to contribute housing that meets the minimum standard of at least one room with a porch/sitting area. Housing will be ventilated with a roof, solid floor, walls, secure doors and windows, and access to year-round water supply (boreholes and wells). Some PCVs have private latrines and bathing facilities (bucket bath). Others share latrines and bathing facilities with not more than 6 people in the household. Volunteers are issued a cook stove. Peace Corps and communities will ensure that you have a safe cooking environment and equipment.

Pre-Service Training (PST) PST ensures Volunteers are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed for a successful service. PST will be community-based. Each volunteer will live with a host family in a training village. Volunteers will receive training in their technical area, language, personal health, and safety and security, as well as a practicum within their training village. Outside of formal training there will be opportunities for PCVs to interact with community members to provide an immersive approach to understanding Ghanaian culture.

Climate: The climate of Ghana is tropical. The dry season is 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 improving, however, the level of reception, clarity, and speed of internet (where available) varies greatly. Peace Corps will provide each PCV with a cell phone. Cell phone coverage is inconsistent in rural areas so PCVs may need to walk to find a place near their home or work with a good connection to make calls and send texts. Peace Corps also provides an allowance which can be used to buy data for phones.

Transportation: Transportation to and from your 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. Travel often requires long hours on rough roads in buses and minivans. PCVs generally walk or bike around their community. Peace Corps does not provide bikes; however, volunteers will receive a move-in allowance which can be used to purchase a bike. Volunteers are not permitted to drive or ride on motorbikes.

Dress: Ghanaians are meticulous about their dress and personal hygiene in the workplace. Cleanliness is a sign of respect. PCVs are expected to dress and behave accordingly. During PST, the dress code is business casual. Following PST, PCVs need to dress appropriately for work situations in the community. Dressing appropriately will help you gain respect in your community, facilitate integration, and increase your credibility and effectiveness. Take cues from your Ghanaian colleagues, and dress to their standards of professionalism.

PCVs with visible body piercings or tattoos may need strategies to conceal them. Staff may ask you to be flexible regarding personal appearance to facilitate integration in training & during your service. Being flexible includes covering up tattoos and body piercings that are not culturally acceptable. Female volunteers should not wear dangling earrings. Male volunteers should not wear earrings. If a male volunteer has long hair, it should be tied up and neat in professional settings.

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.

Couples Information

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/.

Medical Considerations

Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the medical clearance process.


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