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 who attend either an Indonesian public school or an Islamic school (madrasah). You will work with one or more local English teachers to co-teach students in middle school (grades 7-9) or high school (grades 10-12). 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. Some of the teachers you will 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 Friday or 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 a minimum of 20 hours per week with your co-teacher in the classroom. 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 facilitate 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. Throughout service you will receive training on how to engage with schools and the local community in order to understand their needs and work together to strengthen their capacity to meet those needs. You may collaborate on projects that aim to 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. 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. Volunteers who choose to enroll in the TEFL Certificate program are strongly encouraged to bring a laptop to Indonesia. Having a personal laptop will increase your options for internet access. It will also enable you to complete required assignments off-line and upload them later to the TEFL portal. While Volunteers may also complete TEFL assignments at a local internet cafe or other access points, having a laptop can help to facilitate successful and timely completion of assignments.

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

• Competitive 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:
• 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.
• 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
• 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
• 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

Required Language Skills

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

Volunteers work extensively in Bahasa Indonesia. Trainees will receive 9 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. The same support for ongoing language learning is available for secondary languages as for Bahasa Indonesia.

Living Conditions

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 help Volunteers 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 less privacy than what they are used to. Volunteers will have their own bedrooms and will most likely share a bathroom and kitchen with the rest of the household. Volunteers are expected to live according to the cultural norms of their communities.

Volunteers will use various methods of transportation to get to complete day to day tasks. It is common Volunteers to bike several miles or walk for over an hour every day. 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. Additionally, rural areas may have limited or unreliable internet. Volunteers should not expect to access internet in a regular or predictable fashion 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 racial 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.

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, 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 these topics 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. As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Indonesia, you will have the unique experience of living amongst 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

All Volunteers in Indonesia, including couples, live with host families during the full 27 months of 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 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.

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, domestic partners who are not legally married may not serve together as a couple with Peace Corps Indonesia.

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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