English Education Teacher

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact Peace Corps domestically and internationally.

The information provided for each assignment is subject to change, including the tentative departure date.

Project Description

This is an exciting time to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Myanmar. The country is going through a historic transition with major societal reforms, particularly in the field of education. The Ministry of Education places a strong emphasis on improving English language teaching and learning. This is seen not only as a means for young people to access educational and professional opportunities but also as a way to access and connect with the outside world. We therefore are privileged to partner with the Ministry of Education to strengthen the capacity of English language teachers and provide student-centered classroom instruction. Our Volunteers take on the respected role of teacher in public middle and high schools throughout Myanmar with a focus on the following three areas of work.

Supporting Teachers
Volunteers work side by side with local English teachers to co-plan and co-teach middle and high school English language classes. This model of co-teaching is an opportunity for the Volunteers and local teachers to learn from one another while ensuring the sustainability of the Volunteers’ work for years to come. Moreover, since many local teachers have had very limited experience in communicating in English, Volunteers also support local teachers to improve their English language skills through teacher-focused English communication classes and conversation partner study.

Supporting Students
Volunteers co-teach English classes with local teachers in middle schools and high schools. A typical classroom size is 40-80 students. Myanmar students are generally quite studious and well-behaved although the large classroom sizes and antiquated examination system can be a challenge for even the most experienced of teachers. Volunteers also have the opportunity to teach English communication classes to a smaller number of students outside their core teaching schedule. Moreover, Volunteers are expected to organize extracurricular and recreational activities that create opportunities for students to practice and improve their language skills (e.g., essay competitions, debate, pen-pal exchanges, impromptu speeches).

Engaging Community
Outside of their primary assignment in schools, Volunteers are expected to engage their community in activities that not only help to promote English language education (e.g., English clubs, community English classes) but also to help develop and empower communities. Examples of such activities may include, but are not limited to, renovating a school or community library, building a neighborhood recycling program, or starting a youth soccer club.

Peace Corps Volunteers in Myanmar will have a unique opportunity to be a pioneer in one of the newest Peace Corps programs. Such opportunities are rare indeed and require the best each of us has to offer.

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

Qualified candidates will meet both of the following criteria:
• Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in any subject
• Motivation to teach English to speakers of other languages

Desired Skills

Competitive candidates will have experience in one or more of the following areas:
• Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in an Education-related field
• In-classroom teaching or tutoring in the subjects of English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL, or TESL
• State teaching certification or equivalent; preferably in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL, or TESL
• Teacher training, teaching young learners and/or teaching adults
• Planning and organizing activities for youth (e.g., youth camps or clubs, awareness-raising activities)
• Mature interpersonal skills and a willingness to respect and adapt to local norms and customs throughout their service
• Independence, self-initiative, flexibility, open-mindedness, and a strong commitment to serve

Required Language Skills

There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position. Please take a moment to explore the Language Comments section below to find out more on how local language(s) will be utilized during service.

A desire to study and learn the Burmese language is essential, as Volunteers will work in areas where there is little English language spoken. Trainees will undergo 10.5 weeks of intensive language learning with four hours of daily classroom time, 5.5 days a week. Language classes will provide training in speaking and listening skills. Trainees are expected to spend a couple of hours a night studying Burmese.

Living Conditions

Myanmar has a tropical monsoon climate. The rainy season lasts from May to September with high humidity and regular thunderstorms. During the dry season, which begins in October, there is plenty of sunshine and little rainfall. October to February is considered the cooler part of the dry season with mild and pleasant temperatures. The weather then becomes significantly hotter from March to May until the rainy season begins, cooling the weather once again.

Myanmar life moves at its own pace. The culture has a logic that is sometimes mysterious to outsiders but is, at the same time, refreshing for its natural, intuitive rhythms. Forming friendships with Myanmar people requires patience since many people are shy and will need time to get to know you. Religion and spirituality is an important part of Myanmar culture and life. Approximately 90% of Myanmar people are Theravada Buddhists. Meditation and alms donation are common spiritual practices of laypeople.

Myanmar culture is conservative in nature, with strict social norms related to appearance and dress. These expectations are particularly strong for certain positions in society, including teachers. Adhering to these norms is a way to show respect for the culture and breaking the norms can be seen as offensive. Therefore Volunteers must be prepared to abide by these guidelines to ensure safe and successful service. For example, Volunteers may not have visible tattoos, especially when they are teaching. Men must be clean shaven and may not have visible piercings. For all genders, the shoulders and knees should generally be covered. Volunteers are also expected to wear white shirts and a longyi (teachers’ uniform), which must be cleaned and pressed at all times while they are at school.

Volunteers should expect a high degree of curiosity among local people who will not be used to seeing foreigners living amongst them, but who will be pleased to have a native English speaker working with their children. Volunteers should expect less privacy than what they are accustomed to in the United States. In addition, Volunteers will experience what has been described by past volunteers as “overprotection,” from both the school principal and counterpart teachers. Hosting a foreign teacher is simultaneously a significant honor and a very new experience for your local colleagues. However, as you and your community get used to living and working together, this will lessen over time.

Volunteers will typically be placed in townships and villages across several states and regions in Myanmar that have been selected jointly by Peace Corps and the Ministry of Education. Some Volunteers may live in rural communities without stable electricity and/or regular internet access. Volunteer housing conditions will depend on local availability and will vary from site to site but will typically include school dormitories, apartments, or shared housing with local hosts. All Volunteer sites and housing will meet Peace Corps Myanmar’s health and safety and security requirements.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Myanmar: 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 Myanmar welcomes couples serving together in the education sector. Therefore, your partner must qualify for and apply to one of the following positions:

• English Education Teacher
• Secondary Education English Teacher/Teacher Trainer

Trainees who are couples will share accommodation during Pre-Service Training, although they will be assigned to separate sponsor families to support their language and cultural learning. After the completion of Pre-Service Training, Volunteer couples will be placed in the same community and housing, but will work at different schools.

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.

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