English Literacy Facilitator

Before You Apply

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Project Description

Peace Corps/Tonga's English Literacy Project has three goals:

(1) Help build the capacities of primary school and middle school staff to adopt participatory, student-centered practices that integrate English skills with other subject areas (e.g., especially health and environment); (2) with Tongan co-teachers, use effective "student-centered" practices to provide instruction (in classroom, after-school, and special "camp" or “club” activities) which builds the English skills that primary school children need for academic success and to carry out work, personal health, financial, civic, and other "real-world" responsibilities as adults; and (3) strengthen parental and community support for literacy education and increase access of older youth and adults to literacy development opportunities.

The requested English Literacy Facilitator Volunteers will thus play multiple roles as (1) co-teachers (with Tongan counterparts) of English in rural (and some urban) primary schools (where they will adapt, develop, and field test effective English lessons that flesh out the Ministry's curriculum framework); (2) resource persons who help Tongan co-workers develop their ability to use student- centered practices (through mentoring, co-teaching, facilitating of workshops, and co-creation of curriculum materials); and (3) community educators who work with parents and other community members to increase their support for education and, where appropriate, increase youth and adult access to literacy development opportunities for their own growth.

In support of the Tongan government's emphasis on "healthy lifestyles" activities for students, Volunteers will be encouraged to model healthy practices and integrate them with their English teaching activities. Volunteers are also expected to help schools develop their uses of books and school libraries, as well as computers and other electronic technologies (e.g., radio, video). Volunteers also help schools and communities deal with environmental challenges through education and other activities.

This project has great implications for Tongan children and communities and for the reform of Tongan education. It is also a great professional and personal development opportunity for an American interested in education, language, and related fields.

Required Skills

• Competitive candidates will have a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline and a strong desire to teach English and 3 months, 10 hours/month, or 30 hours of English, foreign language, or literacy tutoring experience with primary, middle, or high school students or adults.

Desired Skills

Competitive candidates will have one or more of the following criteria:

• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline with 1 or more school year classroom teaching experience at the Early Childhood, Middle School, or Elementary level. Full time Montessori teaching experience is also acceptable

• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline with Elementary Education state certification

• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in Pre-school, Early Childhood, Middle School, or Elementary Education

• Undergraduate training and/or professional certification in TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language)

Applicants should demonstrate significant skills and experience (which can be acquired through basic training and work experience as well as more-formal academic training and professional experience) related to primary English instruction, particularly through the use of participatory, student-centered methods. Creativity, flexibility, humility, patience, and a healthy sense of humor are valuable strengths to bring to PC/Tonga.

The ability to swim and be comfortable in small boats is desirable as Tonga is a small island nation consisting of many small islands.

Required Language Skills

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

Additional Language Information

Volunteers will be given initial and ongoing training in the Tongan language. Basic Tongan will be very helpful to enable PCVs to understand and integrate with the communities in which they live and work. PCVs' counterparts at work and many community members will speak English.

Living Conditions

Trainees will live with a host family in a rural village for approximately ten weeks during Pre-Service Training (PST) when they first arrive in Tonga. Following PST, most Volunteers will live on school compounds in their own houses provided by the school to which they are assigned. Houses for individuals are usually small and simple with one or two rooms. Most Volunteers have electricity, running water, flush toilets and some basic amenities, though you should be prepared to live periodically without any of these and many other comforts to which you are accustomed. While most PCVs are assigned to smaller villages with between 300 and 700 people, a small number will be posted to larger towns or the capital city area.

Transportation and communication options vary widely across the islands. All Volunteers will have mechanisms (including a mobile phone) for contacting Peace Corps in the event of an emergency. You will be able to call PC staff and other Volunteers at no charge with Peace Corps/Tonga’s special mobile phone plan. Outer island Volunteers may also be issued a satellite phone or personal locator beacon with texting capabilities for emergency communication.

Internet and email services are generally available on the main island and the larger towns of the other main islands. They are also increasingly available in villages outside these regional capitals. To date, Internet service is not available on many remote outer islands.

Local transportation usually consists of walking or using bicycles, buses, and/or taxis. Reliable and efficient bus service is only available on the main island of Tongatapu. Travel to and from the outer islands is possible using small commercial ferries and even smaller fishing boats. Domestic plane service is also available to the capital cities of the major island groups. Delays due to weather or maintenance are common, and patience is required.

Volunteers will need to be self-reliant, both physically and mentally, to maintain their health and to be able to do challenging work in a rural (and, in some cases, small town) primary or middle school on a Pacific island. All Volunteers are required to integrate into the communities they live in and the schools where they are assigned. This can be challenging and requires perseverance, flexibility, ingenuity, and humility.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Tonga: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, and safety — including crime statistics [PDF] — in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.

Medical Considerations in Tonga

  • Tonga may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: asthma, including mild or childhood; cardiology; dermatology; insulin-dependent diabetes; gastroenterology; some types of gynecologic support; requiring a psychiatrist for psychotropic medications support; ophthalmology; seizure disorder; urology; ongoing counseling.
  • The following medication(s) are not permitted for legal or cultural reasons: none identified. 
  • Volunteers who should avoid the following food(s) may not be able to serve: gluten and shellfish.
  • After arrival in Tonga, Peace Corps provides and applicants are required to have an annual flu shot and mandatory immunizations.

Before you apply, please also review Important Medical Information for Applicants [PDF] to learn about other health conditions typically not supported in Peace Corps service.

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