English Teacher and Teacher Trainer

Before You Apply

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Project Description

Indonesia is an extraordinary Southeast Asian nation made up of over 17,000 islands and the fourth highest population in the world. A nation of incredible natural beauty, widespread cultural diversity, and distinct culinary experiences, Indonesia is also fondly known by Peace Corps Volunteers as a land of friendly people and the biggest smiles you have ever seen. While some aspects of the cultural and physical environment may be challenging, Volunteers who are flexible, enthusiastic to integrate into their host communities, and motivated to contribute to the development of others will be able to form deep and meaningful relationships and find great satisfaction in their work.

As an English teacher and teacher trainer Volunteer, your primary goals will be to 1) improve student learning in English, 2) enhance students’ life and academic skills, 3) increase Indonesian teachers’ English fluency, and 4) improve teachers’ instructional capacity. Many of your projects will focus on improving students’ English acquisition, increasing student motivation and confidence, improving teachers’ English communication and teaching skills, or creating opportunities for life skills and leadership skills acquisition among students and youth.

Volunteers will teach English to students in an Indonesian middle school, high school, or vocational school. Some of the students you will teach might only have a basic or intermediate understanding of English. Other students might have mixed abilities to use English in conversation, comprehension, writing, or reading. Volunteers work with one or more local teachers to co-teach at the 7 and 8 grade level or 10 and 11 grade level. Some of the teachers you are going to work with may also have mixed abilities using the English language. For example, a teacher may be competent in explaining English grammar, but may not be proficient in English speaking or writing skills.

The Indonesian school week is Monday through Saturday; Volunteers are expected to function as members of the faculty to their assigned school and will be required to attend school at least five days each week. It is expected that you will devote about 20-24 hours per week with your co-teacher in the classroom. Content is developed in coordination with the school’s adoption of a national curriculum in English. You will also have many opportunities to plan extracurricular and non-formal community activities such as English clubs, after school sports, or art. Volunteers will have opportunities to participate in and implement teacher trainings through local teachers’ organizations. 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.

Opportunities exist for community service or youth development projects within the school and community. You will receive training on engagement strategies with schools and local communities that create safe, engaging, and supportive learning environments for Indonesian students. Common examples of Volunteers’ activities in this realm include club and camp activities related to leadership and life skills development, girls’ and boys’ empowerment, environmental awareness, and health activities.

Cultural sensitivity, including religious tolerance and the desire to learn Bahasa Indonesia and a secondary local language, is essential. 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. 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, a valuable credential for employment and graduate education programs in the US and internationally. 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. All Volunteers participating in the TEFL Certificate program will complete these activities as part of their primary assignments as described here.

Due to legal restrictions imposed 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.

Required Skills

Qualified candidates will have a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline, a strong desire to teach English, and at least 30 hours of teaching or tutoring experience in English, foreign language, or literacy with primary, middle, high school, or university level students or adults.

All applicants need to meet the physical demands of riding a bike (1-5 miles per day), as it is a Volunteer’s primary mode of transportation.

All applicants must be able to use a squat toilet.

Desired Skills

Competitive 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.
• Mature interpersonal skills, the ability to adapt to unfamiliar social customs and local norms, and a willingness to suspend judgment are all important skills to maximize success as a volunteer.

Required Language Skills

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

Volunteers work extensively in Bahasa Indonesia. Trainees will receive seven 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, intensive language workshops, and stipends for language learning materials. Given low levels of English proficiency in the sites 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 and a secondary language 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 most cases, as a Trainee, you will receive at least two weeks of instruction in a secondary local language, such as Bahasa Jawa, Bahasa Sunda, Bahasa Madura, or Bahasa Melayu Kupang if you are able to demonstrate an ability to use Bahasa Indonesia. At many sites where Volunteers will serve, these 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. The same support for ongoing language learning is available for secondary languages as for Bahasa Indonesia.

Living Conditions

Integration is key to successful Peace Corps service. All Volunteers live with host families for the full 27 months of service. The experience of living with an Indonesian family is often one of the most rewarding aspects of Volunteer service. Host families help Volunteers to become an integral part of the community, offering a deeper understanding of local culture, traditions, and customs in a safe, welcoming environment. Many homes are multi-generational, and Volunteers may have much less privacy than what they are used to. Volunteers will have their own bedrooms, and most share a bathroom and kitchen with the rest of the household. Indonesian communities are densely populated with high noise levels, particularly near mosques. Volunteers are expected to live according to the cultural norms of their communities. This likely includes refraining from consuming alcohol, not hosting visitors of the opposite sex, and observing appropriate dress norms.

Volunteers usually bicycle several miles, walk for about an hour every day, or use public transportation to get to and from work, the market, or to meet with Indonesian colleagues and friends. 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, and it could take 1-2 days to get to the Peace Corps office.

Located along the equator, Indonesia is a lush tropical country. This means the temperature is hot and can be very humid throughout the year. The rainy season, generally from October through April, sees heavy precipitation on a daily basis.

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 racial and ethnic minority Volunteers. Minority Volunteers should prepare to answer a large number of questions on this topic. At the same time, cultural norms expect newcomers to approach people actively and get involved in communal activities instead of waiting to be approached.

Indonesian community members will be curious about your religious beliefs and practices. Volunteers with belief systems that fall outside the recognized religions in Indonesia (Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Catholic, Protestant, and Confucianism) 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, volunteers will likely find that values and norms concerning sexual orientation and gender identity are different from those in the U.S. Volunteers will need to be mindful of cultural norms and use their judgment to determine the best way to approach sexual orientation and gender identity in their communities. In addition, there is a national law currently under consideration that would legally prohibit sexual relationships outside of marriage and same-sex 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.

It is important for Volunteers to be flexible with a strong sense of responsibility in representing Peace Corps to its Indonesian partners. Meetings might not start on time, counterparts may not show up for class, the bus might not stick to its schedule, and your event might be rained-out.

As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Indonesia, you will have the unique experience of living amongst your fellow Indonesians, learning more about their lives while sharing yours. You will have the opportunity to make a difference in students’ lives over your 27 months of service.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Indonesia: 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

Married couples are encouraged to apply. However, please be advised that, due to Indonesia’s national laws and potential safety and security implications relating to relationships outside of marriage and same-sex relationships, 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 pre-service training and throughout Peace Corps service. Couples will be housed in separate host families during pre-service training and will be accommodated in a single host family after they have moved to their permanent sites. As in other Volunteers’ host families, couples will have their own bedrooms and will share kitchen, bathroom, and common areas with the host family.

Medical Considerations in Indonesia

  • Indonesia may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: asthma; insulin-dependent diabetes; gastroenterology; mammography; requiring a psychiatrist for psychotropic medications support; seizure disorder; urology; ongoing counseling.
  • The following medication(s) are not permitted for legal or cultural reasons: Adderall, Ritalin and Vyvanse. 
  • Volunteers who should avoid the following food(s) may not be able to serve: peanuts and shellfish.
  • After arrival in Indonesia, 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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