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

Speaking English in Cameroon is considered a great asset for the individual and for the country. While it helps academic and professional achievement for individuals, it also helps forge the socio-cultural unity of Cameroon as a French-English bilingual country. In addition, ability in English increases opportunities related to international development and business. Cameroon is struggling to transition from a teacher-centered system to a student-centered competency based system. This English Teaching (TEFL) Program is making important contributions to this transition as it promotes the teaching of English so that people can use it effectively in their daily lives.

The Cameroon TEFL program has one goal and four objectives:

Goal: Students attain the necessary communication skills in English to access academic and/or professional opportunities.

Objectives:
1. Increase the capacity of teachers to use general and English teaching skills.
2. Increase the capacity of teachers to use gender-equitable practices in the classroom.
3. Increase achievement of students in English.
4. Increase community member involvement in student learning and/or school improvement.

English Education Teachers work in middle/high school level settings in rural and semi-rural areas of the French speaking part of Cameroon. The greater part of Volunteer work is with the students. This position requires teaching English to students for a minimum of 14 hours per week in a school setting. To create opportunities to practice English out of the classroom, Volunteers organize and facilitate various events and activities including games, language contests, theater, music, English club activities, tutoring sessions, and camps. Some of these events, while supporting English proficiency, also support student acquisition of life skills as HIV prevention where the most common activities involve organizing sexual and reproductive health clubs, Grassroots soccer and youth camps.

Volunteers work collaboratively with fellow teachers in communities of practice sharing strategies and tips for effective teaching through activities such as peer observation, teacher workshops, materials design, and implementation techniques for gender equity in the classroom.

English Education Teachers will also do community outreach, organizing activities that involve community members in student learning. Community outreach activities include but are not limited to essay competitions, spelling bees, and workshops on techniques that increase student access to learning on topics such as menstrual management, positive masculinity, and safe latrines.

Peace Corps Cameroon promotes gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. As a Volunteer, you will receive training on how to incorporate gender in your activities and you will have the opportunity to implement transformative gender-related activities that are contextually appropriate. In your classroom, you will be expected to develop or adapt gender equitable classroom practices and share these with other faculty members as part of an effort to create safer and more student-friendly schools. You will also have the opportunity to work with your community members to implement one-off high impact projects to promote gender-equitable norms and increase girls’ sense of agency.

You will receive training on how to implement the above activities during your pre-service training (PST) and during several other in-service training opportunities. To facilitate your successful service, Peace Corps has adapted tools to help you do a needs assessment and integrate your community in a culturally appropriate way that gives you information about the needs of the community in relation to your program goal and objectives. Two of the most important key success factors are spending as much time as possible in your community to help you develop and maintain meaningful relations with community members as well as your ability to communicate in the local language.

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 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 the following qualifications:
• Prior teaching experience
• Ability or readiness to teach in a classroom setting
• Ability to adapt and use different classroom management techniques

Required Language Skills

Candidates must meet one or more of the language requirements below in order to be considered for this position.

A. Completed 4 years of high school coursework within the past 8 years in a Romance language
B. Completed a minimum of 2 semesters of college level coursework within the past 6 years in a Romance language
C. Native/Fluent Romance language speaker

Candidates should have either a willingness to take a French course or commitment to self‐study and a subsequent placement test (score of 50 on the French College Level Examination Program CLEP exam or a score of Novice‐High on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL OPI).

French is necessary to travel safely and to interact effectively in Cameroon. French will be taught and all Volunteers will have to attain a functional French level by the end of Pre-Service Training. Trainees arriving with a strong French level will have the opportunity to start learning a local language during training.

For easy integration and a successful service, you will also be expected to learn the local language spoken in your community during your first year of service.

Volunteers are provided with additional opportunities to continue improving their French speaking as they go to their community placement. If invited, you will be asked to conduct self-study in French before departing the U.S. If possible, it is highly recommended that invitees take an intensive French course.

As teachers, the language of instruction is English; however, some of your students will have little to no skills in English, making interactions challenging. Having a good level in French will ease communication with other faculty members (most of whom will be French-speaking), students and parents.

Living Conditions

Cameroon is a wonderfully diverse and complex country. It is often referred to as “Africa in miniature” owing to the variety of ethnic groups, religions, and geographic diversity. Tropical, equatorial, and semi-arid climates are found in Cameroon. The country is officially bilingual with French and English as official languages. Two of its ten regions are predominantly English-speaking, while the other eight are predominantly French-speaking. More than 250 additional languages are spoken throughout the country.

Volunteer assignments are concentrated in six of the French-speaking regions. Volunteers work in the West, Adamawa, Centre, East, Littoral, and South Regions. As a result of current political unrest and security issues, Volunteer placements and travel are restricted in the English-speaking regions (Northwest and Southwest) as well as the Northern regions (North and Far North).

Since 1962, Peace Corps has enjoyed a long history in Cameroon. Living conditions in the country vary greatly from one Volunteer community to another. Volunteer communities will range in population size from a few hundred to over ten thousand inhabitants. Volunteers must be flexible, resilient, and willing to live in very modest conditions without electricity, running water, and limited access to the internet and telephone coverage. Housing in each site is typically like those of the local inhabitants of the community. Volunteers are provided with a water filter, a mosquito net, and a medical kit. In typical rural communities, houses are built with cement blocks or mud and roofed with zinc, aluminum sheeting, or thatch. Most toilets are outdoor latrines. Kerosene lamps are used for lighting. Drinking water is collected from nearby streams, bore holes, or wells. Some Volunteers may be placed in family compounds, with the Volunteer having their own room/apartment. Volunteers are expected to be flexible with regards to their site assignment.

Volunteers receive a settling-in allowance to purchase basic items that are needed to set up their houses. In most communities where Volunteers are posted, small stores exist where you can buy very basic household and food supplements for cooking. Locally cultivated staple foodstuffs are also available. The most common are cassava, plantain, cocoyam, sweet potato, beans, peanuts and some others that vary depending on the region.

Transportation to and from your site may be challenging at times, due to the bad state of roads especially during the rainy season. Motorbikes and “bush taxis” are the most common means of transportation in most communities. Peace Corps Cameroon is able to provide each Volunteer with a bicycle upon request.

Cameroon has some restrictive laws that target certain sexual acts. Volunteers will 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 countries. Staff and currently serving Volunteers will address this topic during pre-service training, and identify some potential support mechanisms for incoming trainees. Please refer to the Local Laws and Special Circumstances of the U.S. Department of State’s travel page for more information.

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.

Serving in Cameroon

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Cameroon: 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.

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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