English Literacy Teacher

Before You Apply

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Project Description

The Ugandan Ministry of Education has identified literacy as a national priority and is eager to improve the English literacy teaching and learning capacity in Ugandan primary schools (a primary school is the equivalent of an elementary school in the United States) and at Primary Teacher Training Colleges (PTCs). Volunteers in this project focus on building the capacity of students, teachers, and community members in literacy.

As part of the Primary Literacy Project (PLP), Volunteers will contribute to an innovative and high-impact program. In its five years, the PLP has seen over 6,956 teachers and tutors demonstrate improved literacy instructional practice, and over 267,037 pupils demonstrate improvement in basic literacy skills. Primary Literacy Volunteers have also helped over 19,578 pupils access reading materials.

Volunteers will be assigned to serve as either an English literacy teacher or a teacher trainer. Both of these roles utilize approaches to capacity building that include model and co-teaching, assessment, sharing resources, and developing teaching materials with local teachers. Volunteers in both areas are also expected to become involved in their community and support school-based projects. These projects might include working with schools to develop and regularly utilize libraries, establishing after-school programs such as book clubs and readers’ theater, and engaging parents and other community members in national level literacy initiatives, such as national Drop Everything and Read (DEAR) Day, My Language Spelling Bee, and Literacy Month.

There are however distinct differences in the day-to-day activities of the English Literacy Teacher and the Teacher Trainers:

English Literacy Teachers are placed in primary schools. They work with teachers to build their capacity for literacy instruction by leading professional development on teaching phonemic awareness, alphabetic principle, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. Additionally, they collaborate with head teachers to create a positive school culture and staff climate, implement resource rooms or develop libraries, and design positive behavior systems and alternative disciplines. English Literacy Teachers also implement school-based reading intervention programs for early readers.

Teacher Trainers must have previous teaching experience and are placed at Primary Teachers’ Colleges (PTC). They deliver content-based instruction in math, science, English, early childhood development, and/or information and communication technologies (ICT) to student teachers. Additionally, they train future teachers on best practices for teaching literacy, instructional approaches, innovative instructional materials, engagement strategies, resource room or library development, positive behavior systems and alternative discipline. Teacher Trainers also provide instructional coaching for pre-service teachers during their school practice, small group remedial classes and collaborate departmentally with faculty.

There are many opportunities for collaboration across the PTCs and the primary schools. About 66% of education Volunteers are English Literacy Teachers at the primary school level, as the teacher trainer positions require previous teaching experience. Thus individuals should be prepared to serve in either a primary school or a teachers college. These assignments are based on a combination of applicant preference, skills, experiences, and community needs.

Peace Corps Uganda promotes gender awareness and girl’s education and empowerment. You will receive training on gender challenges in Uganda, and you will have the opportunity to implement gender-related activities that are contextually appropriate. During your service, you will be expected to look for ways to work with community members to promote gender-equitable norms and increase girl’s sense of agency. As part of your work, you will also report on these efforts and their impact.

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

Competitive candidates will have one or more of the following criteria:
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in Preschool, Early Childhood, Middle School or Elementary Education
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline with Elementary Education state certificate
• 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. Montessori (full-time) teaching experience also acceptable
• 3 months, 10 hours/month, or 30 hours of English or literacy/tutoring experience with primary, middle, or high school students, or adults
• Experience in the following areas: teaching Literacy; teaching large multi-level classes; classroom management

Required Language Skills

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

Trainees will receive 4 weeks of training in the local language used in their assigned community. Trainees must attain an Intermediate-Low rating on the Language Proficiency Index (LPI) before swearing-in as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Support, such as extended tutoring or other accommodations are in place to help each trainee achieve the language proficiency needed for community integration and effective work.

Living Conditions

During service, Volunteers live in a rural or semi-urban communities in accommodations provided by the host schools or a homestay. While housing may seem modest by US standards, it is provided at great expense to the host school or community, given their often limited means. Housing conditions vary according to resources, though it will meet basic Peace Corps standards. Most rural Volunteers are likely to have no running water and some will not have electricity. Volunteers in rural communities will likely use private outdoor bathing areas and pit latrines. The situation varies from community to community.

Cell phone service is available across the country especially where Volunteers live. Wi-Fi and internet is not common in rural areas and usually unreliable. Cyber cafes and internet connectivity are available within urban areas. USB modems and smart phones are available for purchase and can be used for internet access in some places. Mail generally takes a long time, but Volunteers can readily communicate through cell phones and app-based messaging services.

Trainees stay with host families for four weeks during Pre-Service Training (PST). A private, lockable room will be provided within the host family accommodation. Trainees will share common areas with the family. A homestay provides an opportunity for Volunteers to be familiar with cultural norms. Some Volunteers will also live with home stay families during their two years of service after PST.

Volunteers may be a 2-3 hours’ drive from each other in some areas, while others are much closer. The site placement process will enable staff to determine whether Volunteers prefer to be clustered or more distantly placed from other Volunteers. Getting around will be by walking, riding a bicycle, or using local transportation. Public transportation is available near most communities and allows for transit to and from the nearest urban areas or trading centers, though it is likely to be crowded, uncomfortable, and unreliable. Volunteers are provided funds to buy a local bicycle. Due to safety risks, Peace Corps Uganda prohibits the use of motorcycle taxis by Volunteers.

Although polite, warm and welcoming, Ugandans have a conservative culture compared to what Americans may be used to. As outsiders and leaders in their communities, Volunteers are often scrutinized and held to high standards. Living and working productively in Uganda means being able to adjust to different cultural norms which will impact community integration and credibility.

Education Volunteers in Uganda are expected to adhere to the Uganda Teacher Code of Conduct, which specifies dress code, and generally aligns with standards of professional dress we are familiar with in the U.S; knees and shoulders covered for women, button up shirts tucked in, and closed toed shoes for men. While teaching, women should be prepared to wear dresses or skirts, as that is the cultural norm. Dress, in Uganda, directly reflects the level of respect you give to others and others give you.

Peace Corps Uganda provides support to a diverse group of Volunteers of various faiths, identities, and sexual orientations. It is important to note that Uganda has restrictive laws that target certain sexual acts. Volunteers 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 country. Please refer to the Local Laws and Special Circumstances of the U.S. Department of State's travel page for more information on Ugandan laws- https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/uganda.html.

Uganda can be a challenging cultural and physical environment, but the majority of Volunteers are able to adjust and find great satisfaction in their work as teachers or Teacher Trainers, build meaningful friendships with host country nationals, and feel rewarded by their service.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Uganda: 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

Your partner must qualify and apply for the following position:

• English Literacy Teacher

Couples will live within the same host family and community during Pre-Service Training (PST), but can be separated for certain technical training's throughout PST.
During service, couples can expect to periodically attend project-specific trainings, medical appointments, committee meetings, and other programming meetings separately as needed. Couples can be placed in separate schools/colleges within the same/nearby community. However, they should also be open to the possibility of serving within the same school/college with separate job assignments, as this does occur in some rare cases.

Medical Considerations in Uganda

  • Uganda may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: asthma, including mild or childhood; insulin-dependent diabetes; gastroenterology; some types of gynecologic support; seizure disorder; 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: none identified.
  • After arrival in Uganda, Peace Corps provides and applicants are required to have an annual flu shot, to take daily or weekly medication to prevent malaria, and to receive mandatory immunizations.

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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