English Co-Teacher

Before You Apply

You can only have one active Peace Corps Volunteer application, so choose a position that best fits your skills and interest. You have the opportunity to tell us if you’d like to be considered for other openings and more about the ones that interest you most! See application process

Project Description

The Teacher Empowerment for Student Success (TESS) project aims to build the capacity of Thai English teachers through co-teaching, collaborative planning, and periodic teacher training. Volunteers will work closely with 1-3 Thai English teachers, spending approximately 20 hours per week co-teaching at schools focusing on grades 1-6 in medium to small sized towns or villages. The project focuses on incorporating participatory learning approaches and encouraging the integration of Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) techniques. Volunteers will be seen as school staff and will work with their co-teachers to develop lessons and classroom resources.

While classroom teaching is the primary work of TESS Volunteers, they will occasionally provide teacher training to other English teachers in neighboring communities. Volunteers will conduct community outreach activities aimed at increasing parental engagement in their children’s study of English as well as support overall English language learning in the community through teaching and tutoring interested community members. In addition, Volunteers are encouraged to initiate projects identified as needed by their students and communities. These may include clubs, camps, art or fitness activities, or other community development projects.

All Volunteers who accept an invitation to serve as an English Co-Teacher Volunteer will participate in Peace Corps’ TEFL training program which allows them to earn a Peace Corps TEFL Certificate upon successful completion of program requirements. This program provides 120 hours of standardized training and practice teaching along with two years of supervised teaching experience. The Certificate program is validated by the Center for Applied Linguistics in Washington, DC. Those that earn the certificate will find it a recognized credential for teaching both in the U.S. and abroad. Participation in this TEFL Certificate is required for all English Co-Teacher Volunteers; even those who already hold a TEFL certificate will be required to participate.

Required Skills

Qualified candidates will meet both of the following criteria:
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline AND
• A strong desire to teach English

Desired Skills

Experience in the following areas is strongly preferred:
• Degree in elementary or secondary education or another field of education
• Experience or an interest in curriculum and resource development
• Classroom teaching experience, tutoring experience, and/or teacher training experience

Required Language Skills

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

All Volunteers will be provided with comprehensive and intensive Thai language training during their 10 weeks of Pre-Service Training (PST). Trainees will dedicate four hours a day, 5-6 days a week to language learning as well as informal learning with host families and community members. Trainees will be placed in a small language class of up to 4-5 trainees who are at a similar language level to themselves for focused learning. The Peace Corps Thailand staff will assign you to a language group at the beginning of PST taking your skills and knowledge in your primary assignment area into consideration. Trainees must demonstrate intermediate proficiency in Thai by the end of PST. Language learning is critical to your success as a Volunteer as there will be very few English speakers in your community and speaking Thai facilitates your successful integration. Showing that you are making an effort to learn the language shows respect and goes a long way towards earning respect in your community.

Living Conditions

Nearly all Volunteers will be working and living in rural Thailand, located in all provinces except the southernmost four where there is unrest. Locations include islands, mountains, flat areas, and everything in between. Some communities will be quite isolated and others closer to larger towns. All Volunteers live with a Thai host family during Pre-Service Training (PST) and for at least the first 6 weeks in their community after PST. After this initial period, Volunteers may rent a house on their own or continue living with a host family, depending on what is locally available. Volunteers’ houses typically are small three room homes in a compound near other community members; however, Volunteers' housing conditions will vary depending on the site and availability. Volunteers will live in communities where electricity and indoor plumbing may not be available. They will have at a minimum bucket showers and squat toilets. Drinking water must either be boiled or purchased but is readily available. Most towns have internet cafes and schools and offices are very likely to have regular internet service. Volunteers are strongly encouraged to bring a laptop because it will facilitate accessing information, email, and reporting to Peace Corps.

The primary mode of transport within and around communities is by bicycle. All invitees must be willing and able to ride a bicycle for at least 6 miles in very hot conditions. Be aware that some individuals will find the heat and humidity in Thailand to be a difficult adjustment, especially during the first few months in country.

While it is possible to maintain a vegetarian diet, strict vegetarians may find it difficult to maintain diets that don’t allow for flexibility, especially within some social contexts. The most successful Volunteers are those who are flexible and open to accepting the culture where they will be living.

Thais take great personal pride in appearances so dressing professionally as a Volunteer will increase your effectiveness and credibility. Volunteers will be seen as community leaders and role models for youth. Appropriate professional dress for men includes slacks, collared short-sleeved shirts and neat shoes. For women, collared blouses, slacks and skirts or dresses reaching below the knees are appropriate. Some schools where Volunteers work may prefer that only skirts or dresses be worn. Volunteers should understand that many Thai schools and offices ask their staff to conform to certain norms of dress and appearance. For example, for both men and women, tattoos are often required to be covered and body piercings (except for those in the ear lobe) must be removed. Staff may prefer that males not have long hair, beards, or earrings. As one of Peace Corps Thailand’s core expectations is to respect Thai culture, it is important that you are willing to learn about and follow the norms of your work place. You may find that these norms differ from community to community so you will need to learn the particulars of your work situation and adjust accordingly.

Thailand is known as "The Land of Smiles" and Thai people are generally patient, tolerant, warm and friendly. Social norms promote harmony and the preservation of Thai values. Importance is placed on hierarchy, status and position, and respect for those who are older or have seniority. Concepts of time, punctuality, and communication styles may be different from American cultural perspectives and norms but with patience and flexibility, Volunteers find they are able to adjust and work successfully with their communities.

Regardless of where they live and work, as foreigners in a small community, Volunteers will receive a lot of attention. This attention is often seen in both a positive and negative light. It is usually the result of genuine and positive interest, but it can be taxing and challenging to manage on a daily basis.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Thailand: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, and safety — including crime statistics [PDF] — in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.

Couples Information

Peace Corps Thailand can accommodate couples teaching the same or different subjects. Therefore, your partner must apply and qualify for one of the following positions:

• English Co-Teacher
• English Co-Teacher and Teacher Trainer
• Youth in Development Volunteer

Couples live and serve together throughout their service. This includes living with a homestay family during the 10-week Pre-Service Training, as well as in the village for the 2 years of service. Housing requirements stipulated by Peace Corps for couples are the same as those for single Volunteers because it would be unusual to find houses that are much larger than the standard small house.

Medical Considerations

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.

Does this sound like the position for you?
Get started on your journey.

Apply Now

Related Openings

View All

Read More

Read More

Read More

Read More

What Happens Next?

View Volunteer FAQs
The types of work Volunteers do are ultimately determined by the needs of host countries and the potential of a Volunteer to contribute to these needs and to the Peace Corps’ mission.
Learn about the application process
The most significant accomplishment will be the contribution you make to improve the lives of others. There are also tangible benefits, during and after service of joining in the Peace Corps.
More benefits from service
Our recruiters are here to help you! Whether you have a question about your application, requirements, or anything else, our recruiters have the answer. Chat live with them now!
Find a recruiter