Early Childhood Literacy Teacher

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 collaborating with students, teachers, and community members to build their capacity 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.

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

1. Work 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/host 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/computer labs 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. Become involved in their community and support school-based projects (e.g. working with schools to establish after-school programs, such as book clubs and readers’ theater etc.)
10. Engage parents and other community members in national-level literacy initiatives, such as national Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) Day, My Language Spelling Bee, and promote a safe and friendly school.

Peace Corps Uganda promotes gender awareness and girl’s 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.

Following the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic, education Volunteers shall contribute to the global fight against COVID-19 by leveraging its unique structure and reach to complement interagency and host country efforts to enable children impacted by COVID-19 to return to learning safely and recover from educational disruptions. Some of the activities will include: co-training teachers in effective distance and/or digital learning instruction to mitigate school disruption resulting from COVID-19; teaching remedial groups or tutor students whose education has been disrupted by COVID-19 in literacy, English, math and/or science; guiding teachers to develop, adapt and/or pilot educational resources that mitigate educational disruption resulting from COVID-19.

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

Qualified candidates will have a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline and a strong desire to teach English

Desired Skills

Competitive candidates will have one or more of the following criteria:
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in Preschool, Early Childhood, Elementary or Middle School 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, Elementary or Middle School level. Montessori (full-time) teaching experience also acceptable
• 3 months, 10 hours/month, or 30 hours of English or literacy teaching/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 120 hours 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. Structured instruction and extended tutoring among other accommodations are in place to support each Trainee achieve the language proficiency needed for community integration and effective work. It is important to note that 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. The set language benchmark at Close of Service (COS) is Advanced Low level, and soon the benchmark at Mid-Service Training (MST) will be established and communicated accordingly.

Living Conditions

Volunteers usually live in a rural or semi-urban community in accommodations provided by the host organization or a homestay. While housing seems modest by US standards, it is often provided at great expense to the host agency or community, given their limited means. Housing conditions vary according to organization resources, though it meets basic Peace Corps housing standards with some basic furnishings that may be supplemented with a modest settling-in allowance provided by Peace Corps. Most rural Volunteers are likely to have no running water and electricity, use a lantern or solar lamp for lighting and a stove for cooking. Outdoor bathing areas and pit latrines are likely in rural areas. Volunteers should come with modest expectations and a willingness to happily accept what your community has to offer.
Trainees stay with host families for four weeks during Pre-Service Training (PST). A private, lockable room will be provided within the host family accommodation. Trainees will, however, share common areas with the family. The homestay accommodation provides an opportunity for Volunteers to be familiar with cultural norms in Uganda. In addition, some Volunteers will also live with home-stay families during their two years of service at site.

Cell phone service is available across the country. Wi-Fi and internet is not common in rural areas and usually unreliable if available. 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 and post generally take a long time, but Volunteers can readily communicate through smart phones. Volunteers are encouraged to bring a laptop which will enable them to complete assignments off-line and upload them at a later date. Please note that tablets and smart phones are not an effective alternative.

Volunteers could be a 2-3 hours’ drive from another Volunteer in some areas, while others are much closer to each other. The site placement process will enable staff to determine where Volunteers are best suited based on their skill set and the organization needs. Getting around will be by walking, riding a bicycle for a distance of about 10 kilometers (about 6 miles), or using local 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. Many of the community members use this mode of transportation, too. Due to safety risks, Peace Corps Uganda prohibits the use of public motorcycle taxis by Volunteers.

Uganda is a very conservative culture. As outsiders, Volunteers are often heavily scrutinized. Living and working productively in Uganda means being able to adjust to different cultural norms, as that can deeply impact community integration and credibility. Ugandans are interested in visitors and are welcoming and open when they feel mutual respect and understanding.

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, 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 accepts couples. Your partner must qualify and apply for one of the following positions:
• Agribusiness Specialist
• Business Development Advisor
• Health Extension
• Health Specialist

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.

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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