Early Childhood Literacy Teacher

The Peace Corps continues to monitor and assess the COVID-19 pandemic domestically and internationally. The locations and timing of returning Volunteers to service will be determined on a country-by-country basis. The positions and projected departure dates listed below are subject to change.

Project Description

The Ugandan Ministry of Education has identified literacy as a national priority and is eager to improve the English literacy teaching and learning capacity in Ugandan primary schools (a primary school is the equivalent of an elementary school in the United States). Volunteers in this project focus on building the capacity of students, teachers, and community members in literacy.

As part of the Early Childhood Literacy Project (ECL), Peace Corps Uganda Education project seeks to support the Ministry of Education and Sports to realize its strategic objectives through focusing on interventions that aim at improving access to quality Early Childhood Literacy. Volunteers will support teachers to increase knowledge and the application of effective techniques and methods for teaching reading and early literacy skills. Additionally, Volunteers will work with pupils to increase literacy levels and support the development of teaching and learning materials and resources that teachers need to provide high-quality literacy instruction. Finally, Volunteers will further engage parents and community members to encourage children’s literacy and to promote a reading culture within the community. It is important to note that this cohort of Volunteers will be the pioneer cohort to implement this new framework.

Volunteers will be assigned to serve as an Early Childhood Literacy Teacher for pre-primary (pre-school) and primary grades. The day-to-day activities of the Early Childhood Literacy Teacher include:

1. Working with teachers to build their capacity for literacy instruction by leading professional development on teaching phonemic awareness, alphabetic principle, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.
2. Support/Guide Ugandan counterpart/local teachers in the use of techniques for promoting gender equity in the classroom.
3. Collaborate with head teachers to create a positive school culture and staff climate.
4. Develop resource rooms/libraries that enables access and utilization by the learners.
5. Design positive behavior systems and alternative disciplines.
6. Develop instructional materials using locally available materials.
7. Implement school-based reading intervention programs for early readers.
8. Utilize approaches to capacity building that include model and co-teaching, assessment, sharing resources, local teachers.
9. Volunteers are also expected to become involved in their community and support school-based projects for instance working with schools to establish after-school programs, such as book clubs and readers’ theater etc.
10. Engaging parents and other community members in national-level literacy initiatives, such as national Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) Day, My Language Spelling Bee, and promoting a safe and friendly school.

Peace Corps Uganda promotes gender awareness and girls' education and empowerment. You will receive training on gender challenges in Uganda, and you will have the opportunity to implement gender-related activities that are contextually appropriate. During your service, you will be expected to look for ways to work with community members to promote gender-equitable norms and increase girl’s sense of agency. As part of your work, you will also report on these efforts and their impact.

COVID-19 Volunteer Activities

In the past year, the world has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 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 a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline and a strong desire to teach English

Desired Skills

The most Competitive candidates will have one or more of the following criteria:

• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in Preschool, Early Childhood, Middle School or Elementary Education

• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline with Elementary Education state certificate

• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline with 1 or more school year classroom teaching experience at the Early Childhood, Middle School, or Elementary level. Montessori (full-time) teaching experience also acceptable

• 3 months, 10 hours/month, or 30 hours of English or literacy/tutoring experience with primary, middle, or high school students, or adults

• Experience in the following areas: teaching literacy; teaching large multi-level classes; classroom management

Required Language Skills

There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position.

Trainees will receive 4 weeks of training in the local language used in their assigned community. Each Trainee must attain an Intermediate-Low rating on the Language Proficiency Interview (LPI) before swearing-in as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Support, such as structured instruction and extended tutoring among other accommodations are in place to help each Trainee achieve the language proficiency needed for community integration and effective work. With the new project framework, however, each of the identified activities will require some level of language. Volunteers are therefore required to continue to improve their language skills throughout the course of their service.

Living Conditions

During service, Volunteers live in rural or semi-urban communities in accommodations provided by the host schools or in a homestay. While housing may seem modest by US standards, it is provided at great expense to the host school or community, given their often limited means. Housing conditions vary according to resources, though it will meet basic Peace Corps standards. Most rural Volunteers are likely to have no running water and some will not have electricity. Volunteers in rural communities will likely use private outdoor bathing areas and pit latrines. The situation varies from community to community.

Cell phone service is available across the country especially where Volunteers live. Wi-Fi and internet is not common in rural areas and usually unreliable. Cyber cafes and internet connectivity are available within urban areas. USB modems and smart phones are available for purchase and can be used for internet access in some places. Mail generally takes a long time, but Volunteers can readily communicate through cell phones and app-based messaging services.

Trainees stay with host families for 11 weeks during Pre-Service Training (PST). A private, lockable room will be provided within the host family accommodation. Trainees will share common areas with the family. A homestay provides an opportunity for Volunteers to be familiar with cultural norms. Some Volunteers will also live with home stay families during their two years of service after PST.

Volunteers may be a 2-3 hours’ drive from each other in some areas, while others are much closer. The site placement process will enable staff to determine whether Volunteers prefer to be clustered or more distantly placed from other Volunteers. Getting around will be by walking, riding a bicycle, or public transportation. Public transportation is available near most communities and allows for transit to and from the nearest urban areas or trading centers, though it is likely to be crowded, uncomfortable, and unreliable. Volunteers are provided funds to buy a local bicycle. Due to safety risks, Peace Corps Uganda prohibits the use of motorcycle taxis by Volunteers.

Although polite, warm and welcoming, Ugandans have a conservative culture compared to what Americans may be used to. As outsiders and leaders in their communities, Volunteers are often scrutinized and held to high standards. Living and working productively in Uganda means being able to adjust to different cultural norms which will impact community integration and credibility.

Education Volunteers in Uganda are expected to adhere to the Uganda Teacher Code of Conduct, which specifies dress code, and generally aligns with standards of professional dress we are familiar with in the U.S; knees and shoulders covered for women, button up shirts tucked in, and closed toed shoes for men. While teaching, women should be prepared to wear dresses or skirts, as that is the cultural norm. Dress, in Uganda, directly reflects the level of respect you give to others and others give you.

Peace Corps Uganda provides support to a diverse group of Volunteers of various faiths, identities, and sexual orientations. It is important to note that Uganda has restrictive laws that target certain sexual acts. Volunteers need to be mindful of cultural norms and country-specific laws, and use their best judgment to determine how to approach topics related to sexual orientation and gender identity in their communities and host country. Please refer to the Local Laws and Special Circumstances of the U.S. Department of State's travel page for more information on Ugandan laws (https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/uganda.html).

Uganda can be a challenging cultural and physical environment, but the majority of Volunteers are able to adjust and find great satisfaction in their work as teachers, build meaningful friendships with host country nationals, and feel rewarded by their service.

Serving in Uganda

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Uganda: 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

Peace Corps Uganda welcomes couples. Your partner must apply and qualify for one of the open positions in Uganda.

Couples will live within the same host family and community during Pre-Service Training (PST), but can be separated for certain technical training's throughout PST.

During service, couples can expect to periodically attend project-specific trainings, medical appointments, committee meetings, and other programming meetings separately as needed. Couples can be placed in separate schools/community-based organizations within the same/nearby community. However, they should also be open to the possibility of serving within the same school/organization with separate job assignments, as this does occur in some rare cases.

Medical Considerations

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

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