English Education Volunteer

Before You Apply

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Project Description

English Education Volunteers work as primary and secondary school English teachers. Volunteers will be paired with a local English language teacher in a co-teaching classroom setting, with a focus on integrating student-centered methodologies, improved lesson planning, and classroom management. In addition to classroom teaching, Volunteers will work with the school management to identify school needs, share resources, develop teaching materials with local teachers, and become involved in community and school-based projects. By the end of their service, Volunteers are encouraged to develop a resource toolkit to share with their school for future use. Volunteers are also encouraged to conduct clubs and/or camps in their communities focused on conversational or content-based English.

Volunteer duties often consist of the following:

• Co-teach with Kosovar teachers in the classroom;
• Prepare joint lesson plans with teacher colleagues;
• Prepare interactive teaching aids, games, classroom materials using locally available resources;
• Develop English language-centered extra-curricular activities such as English clubs, youth clubs, drama clubs, summer youth camps and other youth leadership activities that promote volunteerism;
• Co-facilitate school and/or community-based projects;
• Share specific information about American traditions and culture with students and colleagues;
• Participate in school events or events connected with Kosovo’s traditions.

Other expectations include:

• Demonstrate independence, self-initiative, flexibility, open-mindedness, and commitment to serve.
• Possess an attitude of humility and curiosity towards other cultures.
• Exhibit adaptability and a willingness to sensitively communicate even when confronting challenges.
• Demonstrate empathy and a willingness to view situations from multiple perspectives.

Required Skills

• Competitive candidates will have a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline and a strong desire to teach English

Desired Skills

• Experience in early childhood, middle school, or secondary education.
• Experience teaching English and English as a foreign language.
• Experience teaching non-formal education to adults.
• Experience planning and organizing non-formal educational activities (clubs, camps, sports activities, etc.) for youth.

Required Language Skills

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

While there is no language requirement for acceptance to serve in Peace Corps Kosovo, some sites have no English speakers, so all candidates should come fully prepared to learn the local language(s). There is great emphasis placed on Volunteers' language acquisition. All Peace Corps Volunteers are required to learn either Albanian or Serbian based on the language of the community where they will serve. Most Volunteers learn Albanian. Those Volunteers who are interested in learning Serbian and living in a non-majority community can indicate so before pre-service training. Peace Corps encourages Volunteers to continue language learning throughout service by providing tutoring support.

Living Conditions

English Education Volunteers will live in villages or small towns (population 500 – 5,000). Kosovars are known for their generous hospitality and graciousness and have favorable impressions of United States citizens. U.S. citizens are highly respected in Kosovo, perhaps more than any other country where Peace Corps serves. While some locations in Kosovo have good infrastructure and aspects of modern living, others do not. Homes generally have electricity, running water, and modest living conditions.

Some Important Considerations about Life in Kosovo:

• All Volunteers live with host families for 27 months of service in order to facilitate community integration, language acquisition, and cultural adaptation. The host families provide living space that meets Peace Corps standards (a secure, private bedroom with basic furniture, a shared bathroom and kitchen).

• Winter lasts from November to March with some snowfall, similar to the Mid-Atlantic area of the U.S. However temperatures may feel colder because few homes have central heating. The majority of homes in Kosovo use wood stoves for heating just one room of the house where everyone gathers in during the cold months. Homes, schools, and office buildings typically do not have heating or air-conditioning. Smoking inside households is very common.

• Kosovo is a conservative culture with traditional gender norms whereby women may be expected to perform routine domestic chores such as cooking, cleaning, and serving coffee to guests. Kosovars are generally tolerant of different religions, but outward displays of religious symbols are discouraged. In smaller communities, there are more conservative views regarding alcohol consumption, sexual orientation, and gender identity than what you may encounter in the U.S. Larger towns and cities may have different views. Staff and currently serving Volunteers will address these topics during pre-service training, and identify support mechanisms for incoming trainees.

• In an office or school environment, conservative attire and neat appearance is expected. Bring work appropriate / business casual attire for all seasons, hot Summers, cold Winters, and mild Spring and Autumns.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Kosovo: 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

Couples are generally well regarded and treated with respect. They typically encounter fewer integration issue because marriage between a man and a woman is a common convention. Couples live with a host family during their entire service. They may be extended a bit more privacy in the household. During the 10 week Pre-Service Training, couples are offered the option to either live together or live separately. Living separately during training can assist with quicker language acquisition and cultural integration. Couples typically work in different sectors (Education and Community Organizational Development), but English Education Volunteer couples can be accommodated in the same community.

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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