English Education Teacher
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As an English classroom teacher, your primary assignment will be to teach English at a lycée (high school) and/or a middle school (CEG) for a maximum of sixteen (16) hours each week. The Ministry of Education actively supports the program, valuing the contribution of all Volunteers that serve in English language education.
Volunteers 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 starts with 120 hours of standardized training and practice teaching, followed by two years of quarterly supervised classroom teaching and additional learning events facilitated by post staff. The Certificate program is validated by the Center for Applied Linguistics in Washington, DC. The US State Department and the English language learning sector worldwide have touted Peace Corps’ TEFL Certificate program as a high-quality, game-changing credential. All TEFL Volunteers serving in Madagascar are expected to fulfill all program requirements and must fully participate in the TEFL Certificate Program.
As an English teacher you will also work with local English teachers to improve their English skills, to share different teaching techniques, and to jointly develop new pedagogical materials for use in the classroom. In addition, you will help to build teachers’ capacity through communities of practice.
You may also involve the broader school community in your work by organizing evening English classes for adults, broadcasting English shows on local radio stations, or creating extracurricular clubs for students.
Another component of your responsibilities will be to get involved in your community during school breaks. These breaks are a great opportunity to develop more hands-on activities like organizing field trips with counterparts or secondary projects such as malaria awareness campaigns, gender equality workshops and/or starting environment clubs.
Peace Corps Madagascar promotes gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. You will receive training on gender challenges in your country and you will have the opportunity to implement gender-related activities that are contextually appropriate. 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 are strongly encouraged to bring a laptop which not only increases options for internet access, but also enables Volunteers to complete required assignments off-line and upload them at a later date. While Volunteers may also complete the assignments through local internet cafes or other access points, having a laptop will facilitate successful participation in training. Please note that tablets and smart phones are not an effective alternative. You are encouraged to purchase insurance for your laptop in the event it is damaged or stolen.
Experience tutoring, mentoring or working in schools, after school programs, and/or with young adults
Strong desire to teach English in school and community settings and to adapt teaching methodologies to Madagascar’s educational system
Required Language Skills
Trainees who do not reach minimum language skills by the close of Pre-Service Training may not be sworn-in as Volunteers.
In limited ways, French language skills can be useful in some areas of the country. It is recommended that Invitees consider taking an intensive French course before departing for Madagascar, as Peace Corps provides no French language training. Volunteers will not use French in their daily lives and work, but French is often a transactional and technical language: newspapers, tourist activities, or technical reports by partner organizations may utilize French.
During service, Volunteers live in private one or two-room housing. Housing material depends on the region, with walls made out of local wooden material in the Coast and mud/brick/concrete in the Highlands. Volunteers have individual outdoor bathing rooms, and will have individual or shared latrines with a maximum of one family. Many Volunteers do not have running water or electricity.
Most communication is conducted by cell phone, albeit with poor reception. Volunteers can bring an unlocked phone or purchase a phone in country, though options are more limited. Call costs are based on the amount of minutes used/texts sent, and are deducted immediately from a pre-paid balance. Incoming calls and texts, even from the US, are free. Most Volunteers will have limited internet access in their communities. Phone data is slow and expensive, though some apps and providers offer discounted data rates. Wifi is available in most Regional capitals, and some district capitals.
Peace Corps staff collect letters and packages from the Antananarivo Post Office, and Volunteers can get their mail at the main office in the capital, or wait for staff/fellow Volunteers to bring mail from the capital to a nearby town. Mail can take up to two months to arrive. Some Volunteers open local Post Office boxes, nearer to their communities.
As needed, Peace Corps can provide a bike, helmet, and basic bicycle maintenance training to assist with daily routines. You will also be required to regularly walk/bike between 3-10 Kilometers to reach a main road or an outlying village where community partners live and work.
In Madagascar, rice is the staple. Other foods include cassava, sweet potatoes, potatoes and corn. Meat/fish could be expensive or difficult to find depending on the region where you serve. Fish is more present on the coast, while beef/chicken/pork is mainly consumed in the highlands. If meat or fish are not available, a variety of beans and nuts can be used as source of protein. Vegetables vary by region but most of them are produced in the Highlands. Strict vegetarian and vegans may be challenged, especially during PST, and should be mindful of food customs in Madagascar: turning down a plate because it has meat may be seen as rejecting a gift. Volunteers have found it possible, but difficult to maintain a vegetarian diet in Madagascar.
While Madagascar is generally tolerant, values concerning sexual orientation and gender identity are different from the U.S. Volunteers need to use judgment to determine the best way to approach sexual orientation and gender identity in their communities. Peace Corps Madagascar provides support to a diverse group of Volunteers, including LGBTQ+ individuals. There is a strong network of LGBTQ Volunteers serving in Madagascar today.
Although Madagascar has a rich history and fascinating culture, it is one of the poorest countries in the world; many Volunteers experience emotional reactions to poverty and all that correlates to it. Successful Volunteers have carefully considered their preparation to meet Peace Corps 10 Core Expectations while faced with the initial stress from living in such different conditions. It is also true that despite these hardships, it is common for our Volunteers to develop a deep sense of being “tamana” (at home) because of the warm and embracing nature of the Malagasy.
Malaria is highly endemic and PCVs must be prepared to take chemoprophylaxis without exception.
Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Madagascar: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, and safety — including crime statistics [PDF] — in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.
Madagascar is a patriarchal and conservative society. In Madagascar, the male is often seen as the head of the family. Couples will often face situations where the community seeks to first listen to the husband. Couples have to find their own culturally appropriate strategies to challenge their coworkers about their views on gender roles and gender equality. As in many patriarchal societies, Malagasy people tend to believe that men are more capable to conduct intensive manual labor compared to women (such as agriculture, for example). Therefore, couples must find ways to support each other when faced by these different gender roles expectations.
Couples will share the same house with more living space compared to houses provided to single – both in training and throughout service.
Medical Considerations in Madagascar
- Madagascar may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: asthma, including mild or childhood; gastroenterology; some types of gynecologic support; insulin-dependent diabetes; requiring a psychiatrist for psychotropic medications support; ongoing counseling.
- The following medication(s) are not permitted for legal or cultural reasons: Adderall, Ritalin and Vyvanse.
- Volunteers who should avoid the following food(s) may not be able to serve: gluten, peanut, and shellfish.
- After arrival in Madagascar, 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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