English Education Teacher
Indonesia is the most populous Muslim nation in the world and has the fourth highest total population of all countries, with 276 million inhabitants in 2021. In this diverse and geographically complex country, most of the nation’s population is concentrated on the island of Java which is the most populous island in the world and the location of the Peace Corps office in Surabaya. Indonesia consists of hundreds of ethnic groups, and over 700 languages are used across the 17,000 islands of the archipelago.
As an English Education Volunteer, your primary goals will be to, support the development of students’ English communication skills, increasing their access to academic and professional opportunities. Volunteers work alongside Indonesian teacher counterparts and community members to 1) develop teachers’ instructional capacity, gender-equitable practices and their own classroom English, 2) enhance students’ language acquisition and 3) increase the ability of community members to support students’ access to learning. Many of your projects will focus on these objectives and creating opportunities for life, resiliency and leadership skills development inside and outside of the classroom.
Volunteers will be collaborating with teachers at an Indonesian public or Islamic school (madrasah). You will work together with two or more local English teachers to co-plan engaging English curricula in middle school (grades 7-9) or high school (grades 10-12). Some of the teachers you will work with might only have a basic or intermediate understanding of English. Other teachers might have mixed abilities to use English in conversation, comprehension, writing, or reading. For example, a teacher may be competent in explaining English grammar, but may not be proficient in English speaking or writing skills. Supporting teacher language acquisition is also an important part of the role.
The Indonesian school week is Monday through Friday or Saturday; Volunteers are expected to function in a professional capacity at their assigned school and will be required to attend school at least five days each week. It is expected that you will devote a minimum of 20 hours per week with your co-teacher in planning and supporting classroom management. Volunteers will have opportunities to design and facilitate teacher trainings through local teachers’ organizations. Volunteers will also have many opportunities to plan extracurricular and non-formal community activities that engage and foster interest in language acquisition such as English clubs, after-school sports, or art. The types of materials available to you might be limited. Some Volunteers may be assigned to teach in schools with only basic resources, while others may be in schools with access to technology such as computer labs or audio-visual equipment. Digital literacy engagement may be part of the Volunteer engagement as well.
Throughout service you will receive training on to amplify a participatory approach within schools and the local community in order to identify needs and work together to strengthen their capacity to meet those needs. You may collaborate on projects that aim to create safe, inclusive, engaging, and supportive learning environments for Indonesian students. For example, club and camp activities related to leadership and life skills development, girls’ and boys’ empowerment, environmental awareness, and health activities.
Coming in with the desire to learn Bahasa Indonesia and a secondary local language is critical. A willingness to be open and vulnerable to developing your intercultural skills, hone your cultural sensitivity, including religious tolerance, will be essential to your success as a Volunteer as well as to your health and safety. Peace Corps goals two and three – increasing Indonesians’ understanding of Americans, as well as Americans’ understanding of Indonesians – are of particular importance to our Indonesian partners; thus, building the people-to-people connection is integral to Peace Corps service in Indonesia and as important as the transfer of skills.
Volunteers selected for Peace Corps Indonesia’s education project will have the option to enroll in the Peace Corps TEFL Certificate program. This program provides 120 hours of standardized training and practice teaching, along with supervised teaching experiences and quarterly online learning events facilitated by Peace Corps staff. The program consists of three months of pre-departure online training before you arrive, followed by a continuum of technical training and practical application throughout your service. Teaching observations, Online Learning Community events, written assignments, and in-person training events will be required throughout the program to support professional growth, provide feedback, and help Volunteers enrich their teaching repertoire.
Upon successful completion of 27 months of service and meeting the technical requirements, enrolled Volunteers will be awarded a TEFL Certificate. The TEFL Certificate is designed primarily for Volunteers with little teaching coursework or experience; however, it is also a valuable credential for those with a degree in TESOL or a related field who may not yet have extensive teaching experience. Volunteers with previous teaching experience will use their skills and knowledge to facilitate training and support other Volunteers.
Due to teacher retirement limitations by the Indonesian government, applicants to Indonesia’s Peace Corps program must conclude their service prior to the age of 60. Anyone invited to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Indonesia must submit additional biographical information for a visa application. The visa application procedures may also require a phone interview with Republic of Indonesia representatives.
COVID-19 Volunteer Activities
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.
• Competitive qualified candidates will have a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline, a strong desire to teach English.
• At least 30 hours of teaching or tutoring experience in English, foreign language, or literacy with primary, middle, high school, university level students or adults.
Competitive qualified candidates will have one or more of the following criteria:
• Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in English, Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL), Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), English as a Second Language (ESL), Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL), foreign language, or Applied Linguistics.
• Master of Education (M.Ed.) with graduate or undergraduate concentration in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL, TESL, or foreign language.
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education with concentration in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL, TESL, or foreign language.
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline with secondary education state certification in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL, TESL, or foreign language.
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL and TESL, or foreign language with 6 months classroom teaching experience at the secondary level in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL, TESL, or foreign language.
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline with classroom teaching experience at the secondary level in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL and TESL, or foreign language.
• Additional teaching or tutoring experience, beyond the required 30 hours stated above, in English, foreign language, or literacy with primary, middle, high school, or university level students or adults.
• Familiar with and/or have experience with online or blended teaching instructional approach.
Required Language Skills
There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position.
Volunteers work extensively in Bahasa Indonesia. Trainees will receive 10 weeks of intense instruction in Bahasa Indonesia and must obtain specific benchmarks of oral proficiency by the end of pre-service training. Peace Corps Indonesia provides multiple avenues and a high level of support for ongoing language learning after pre-service training, including in-person language tutoring, online tutoring where available, and stipends for language learning materials. Given low levels of English proficiency in the communities where Volunteers will be serving, including among English-teaching counterparts, students, and host family members, Volunteers will be expected to increase their fluency in Bahasa Indonesia over the course of their service. Learning Bahasa Indonesia will greatly help you integrate into your community. It will also help demonstrate your commitment to working side-by-side with your Indonesian colleagues.
In many communities where Volunteers will serve, secondary languages are widely spoken socially and in homes, and a basic level of proficiency in greetings, polite phrases, and other common vocabulary will be useful for integration purposes.
All Volunteers live with host families for the full duration of their service. The experience of living with an Indonesian family is often one of the most rewarding aspects of Volunteer service. Host families support Volunteers in becoming an integral part of the community by supporting a deeper understanding of local culture, traditions, and customs in a safe, welcoming environment. Many homes are multi-generational, and Volunteers may have less privacy than what they are used to. Volunteers will have their own bedrooms and will most likely share a bathroom, which may be a squat toilet, and kitchen with the rest of the household. Volunteers live in communities where indoor plumbing may not be available and bucket showers and squat toilets are typical. Volunteers are expected to live according to the cultural norms of their communities.
Volunteers may bicycle several miles, walk for about an hour, or use public transportation to get to and from work, and to engage in other activities. Some Volunteers may find that transportation to and from school by personal bike is the best mode of daily transportation. While most Volunteers are placed in rural locations, the extreme population density in most areas can make even villages feel urban. Rural communities may have limited transportation options to Surabaya depending on the region, but much easier access to their regional capitals where all basic goods and services can be accessed. Additionally, rural areas may have limited or unreliable internet/data. Volunteers should not expect to access consistent internet while living in their community.
Though Indonesia’s national philosophy values its rich diversity of people and cultures, most are largely unaware of American diversity, and people are often curious about the backgrounds of racially and ethnically diverse Volunteers. Volunteers, and particularly Volunteers of color, should prepare to answer a large number of questions on this topic. It is also quite common for Indonesians to comment on physical appearance. Volunteers may experience a range of responses to their skin color: from being mistaken for an Indonesian, to being questioned about their U.S. citizenship, to facing behavior and language skill expectations, to being able to get better prices for goods and services. These instances can be turned into teachable moments for the Volunteer and the community. Respectful exchanges regarding race and ethnicity can make for rewarding Volunteer experiences that can help to balance some of the more trying moments Volunteers may experience in Indonesia when it comes to managing misconceptions about American culture and diversity.
Indonesian community members will be curious about your religious beliefs and practices. Volunteers with belief systems that fall outside the recognized religions in Indonesia (Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Confucianism, and indigenous faiths) will need to learn strategies for responding to questions about this topic. Peace Corps Indonesia places Volunteers in two provinces with a majority Muslim population and one with a majority Christian population.
While Indonesia is generally tolerant of diversity, Volunteers will likely find that values and norms concerning sexual orientation and gender identity are different from those in the U.S. Volunteer conversations around sex and sexuality of any orientation is considered taboo and an incredibly private matter and is not discussed openly. Using your intercultural tools to navigate, Volunteers will determine the best way to approach these topics in their communities and personal relationships. Peace Corps Indonesia is committed to creating a supportive and inclusive environment for Volunteers of all backgrounds. Staff and experienced Volunteers will address these topics throughout the training curriculum and identify support mechanisms for incoming trainees.
Serving in Indonesia
Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Indonesia: 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.
At this time, Peace Corps Indonesia is only able to place opposite-sex couples who are legally married at the time of their arrival to Indonesia. All Volunteers in Indonesia, including couples, live with host families during the full 27 months of Peace Corps service. Couples will be housed within separate host families during pre-service training and will be accommodated in a single host family after they have moved to their permanent community. As in other Volunteers’ host families, couples will have their own bedrooms and will share kitchen, bathroom, and common areas with the host family.
Please be advised that, due to Indonesia’s national laws and potential safety and security implications relating to relationships outside of marriage, domestic partners who are not legally married may not serve together as a couple with Peace Corps Indonesia.
The Peace Corps works to foster safe and productive assignments for same-sex couples, and same-sex couples are not placed in countries where homosexual acts are criminalized. Because of this, same-sex couple placements are more limited than heterosexual couple placements. During the application process Recruiters and Placement Officers work closely with same-sex couple applicants to understand current placement opportunities. For more information please visit: https://www.peacecorps.gov/faqs/lgbtq/.
Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the medical clearance process.
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