English Education Teacher

Before You Apply

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Project Description

Peace Corps in Sierra Leone has a rich history, a strong legacy and warmly welcomes Peace Corps Volunteers. The program began in January 1962 as one of the first countries entered after Peace Corps' launch in March 1961. The Peace Corps signed an agreement with the new government of Sierra Leone just nine months after the country became independent from the United Kingdom. The first group of Volunteers included 37 secondary school teachers who taught at many levels throughout the country.

The education project in Sierra Leone aims to prepare students, teachers and community youth to become empowered and engaged citizens. The goals of the project are:
1. Increase student success by improving student proficiency, academic success, and participation in math, science, English and life skills classes or extracurricular activities.
2. Promote student-centered teaching and administration, where teachers and administrators will develop positive learning environments by improving teaching and administration techniques respectful of gender equitable practices.
3. Prepare youth, especially girls, with skills for their adult life as healthy, productive, and active community members.

Volunteers model high-quality instruction to build communication and critical thinking skills. Volunteers reinforce learner-centered approaches and safe school practices so that teachers, administrators, and community supporters are investing in positive learning environments. Volunteers empower youth with skills to establish goals, make positive decisions, and be active leaders.

Volunteers provide formal instruction in schools with grades similar to US grades 7-10. Volunteers also spend their time as a resource teacher to address basic reading and numeracy, assist with library or laboratory practice, support other teachers in large or struggling classrooms, and work on life skills practices with students.

Sierra Leone promotes gender awareness, girls’ education and empowerment. Volunteers receive training on gender challenges in country and have the opportunity to implement gender-related activities that are contextually appropriate. During service, Volunteers look for ways to work with community members to promote gender-equitable norms and increase girls’ sense of agency. As a part of their work, Volunteers also report on these efforts and their impact.

Required Skills

Competitive candidates will have the following criteria:
• Bachelor of Arts and/or Liberal Studies Degree
• Strong desire to teach English

Desired Skills

Additionally, Sierra Leone strongly prefers its Volunteers have one or more of the following qualifications:
• Teaching experience
• Degree or minor in education
• Ability to re-imagine local resources to provide high-quality instruction, tutoring, and extracurricular activities
• Experience working in after-school programs, camps, or mentoring programs
• Experience coaching peers and/or coworkers for improved performance

Required Language Skills

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

Sierra Leone is an English speaking country, therefore, Volunteers are required to teach in English in schools. However, Volunteers can supplement their teaching in Krio, a dialect similar to English, to aid comprehension in classrooms, as well as ensure safe and productive work throughout the community and travel. Volunteers will also be supported in learning local languages to improve collaboration and integration in their community.

Living Conditions

HOUSING: During service, Volunteers will have, at least, two rooms and parlor with an individual outside or indoor bathroom. Houses are located within the community and at most 15 minute walk to a potable water source. Some houses may not have electricity and running water is not available at most Volunteer sites. Some communities may have access to generators that can provide electricity/battery recharges, but it is not standard.

COMMUNICATION: Almost all calls are made by cell phone. Peace Corps will provide you with a phone during the first few days of pre-service training for use throughout service. Volunteers are on a “Family Plan” which allows them to call staff and other Volunteers at no charge. Other calls are based on the amount of minutes used/texts sent similar to a data plan and are deducted immediately. Incoming calls and texts, even from the US, are free. Please be aware that communication options are very limited in Sierra Leone where internet access and email is not widely available; text are more common. The cell phone network or signal in Sierra Leone is weak and spotty in many areas. However, all of the Volunteers’ sites will have network coverage within their community or within walking distance.

Peace Corps receives mail from the main post office and periodically and disseminates them to Volunteers based on an established calendar. Note that mail is slow to reach Sierra Leone and takes time.

TRANSPORTATION: Peace Corps provides a bike to assist daily routines, such as biking to nearby markets or visiting sites around one’s village. Even though access to public transportation is one of our site identification requirements, Volunteer access and frequency to transportation varies from daily to once a week for a market.

FOOD: Prices may vary and can be relatively expensive due to seasonality and the cost of importing some goods. In Sierra Leone, rice is the staple food. Other food items include eggs and fish, which are more affordable sources of protein, while beef, goat, or chicken are more expensive. Also available are plantains, cassava, yam, potato, and beans as well as a variety of vegetables like onions, potato and cassava leaves, peppers, eggplant, okra, cabbage, tomato, cucumber and carrots. Peanuts and sesame seed cakes are popular protein rich snacks. If meat or fish is not available, peanuts are used as a source of protein. Often times, cooked dishes will have a fish base in them. Based on the available foods, vegetarians find ways to balance a diet. However, strict vegetarians and vegans will be challenged, especially while living with the host family during pre-service training.

Sierra Leone is graced with wonderful, though seasonal, fruits such as pineapples, bananas, papaya, coconuts, avocado, orange, watermelon and mangoes. You will do your shopping at the local market, but some items might have to be purchased at a larger town nearby.

HEALTH: The health, safety and security of Volunteers are Peace Corps' top priority. Once in Sierra Leone, Volunteers will be trained on awareness and prevention activities such as handwashing and hygienic practices. If health, safety and security issues arise you will have support from our Peace Corps Medical Officer and Safety & Security Manager respectively.

SOCIAL CLIMATE: While Sierra Leone is generally tolerant, values and mores concerning sexual orientation and gender identity may be different from those in the U.S. Volunteers will need to be mindful of cultural norms, and use their judgment to determine the best way to approach sexual orientation and gender identity in their communities and host countries. Staff and currently serving Volunteers will address this topic during pre-service training, and identify support mechanisms for incoming trainees.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Sierra Leone: 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

Your partner must qualify and apply for one of the following positions:
• Secondary Education Math Teacher
• Secondary Education Science Teacher
• Secondary Education English Teacher
• Health Extension Volunteer

Peace Corps Sierra Leone values the contribution that couples make to the overall program. Married couples will be placed in the same host family for pre-service training. However, Volunteer couples may be separated during the day while in training based on each Volunteer’s sector.

Medical Considerations in Sierra Leone

  • Sierra Leone may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: cardiology; dermatology; insulin-dependent diabetes; gastroenterology; requiring a psychiatrist for psychotropic medications support; ophthalmology; mild asthma; seizure; ongoing counseling.
  • The following medication(s) are not permitted for legal or cultural reasons: none identified. 
  • Volunteers who should avoid the following food(s) may not be able to serve: peanuts.
  • After arrival in Sierra Leone, Peace Corps provides and applicants are required to have an annual flu shot, to take daily or weekly medication to prevent malaria, and to receive mandatory immunizations.

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.

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