English Teacher and Youth Development Volunteer

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Project Description

In August 2018, Peace Corps was invited to establish a program in Montenegro. At the request of the Government of Montenegro, the program will focus on English Education and Youth Engagement. This program will also be managed and supported primarily by Peace Corps Albania staff in Tirana, Albania. Since Peace Corps will operate in Montenegro as an extension of Peace Corps Albania Post (which has been in operation since 2003), the program will now be called “Peace Corps Albania and Montenegro.”

Volunteers selected to depart in January 2020 will be the first group of Peace Corps Volunteers to serve in the Montenegro. Volunteers selected to serve in Montenegro will depart for service and train with other Volunteers who will serve in Albania. Volunteers will be initially supported by one program staff member based in Podgorica, Montenegro as well as staff based in Tirana, Albania. Medical and training support, as well as overall leadership of the Montenegro program will be provided from Tirana, Albania. Therefore, Volunteers will have to cross borders and travel to Tirana for trainings or medical appointments.

Due to this management and operational structure, Volunteers who serve in Montenegro will require a “pioneer” attitude. Volunteers in this initial cohort will have a unique opportunity and responsibility to help establish the foundation of the Peace Corps presence in Montenegro. Volunteers should anticipate considerable interest in and attention on their work performance and cultural integration by their Montenegrin colleagues, the Ministry of Education, and the broader public. The highest degree of professionalism will be expected.

Volunteers will be assigned to primary (K-9) schools and will co-teach with one or more Montenegrin English teachers. Volunteers are expected to cooperate and work alongside their teacher counterpart, whether it be for lesson planning or co-teaching in the classroom. In other words, Volunteers are expected to act as members of the teaching staff. This includes arriving to work on time, attending staff meetings, and contributing to a full teaching schedule five days per week.

Volunteers’ work will focus on improving English language skills of students and teachers, and introducing new teaching techniques for teachers. After school hours, Volunteers will cultivate other non-traditional learning events such as English clubs or other activities which promote the speaking of English. The Montenegrin school year runs from September through June with breaks around the end-of-year holidays. Volunteers must adhere to the local school calendar and its holiday schedule as it relates to their primary role. During the summer, Volunteers in Montenegro will implement summer activities in their communities such as summer camps or other student-centered events, engaging in youth development.

Patience, flexibility, good humor will be essential, as all aspects of the program design, training, and operations will be new. During the first three months of training, Volunteers will receive instruction in Montenegrin or Albanian language and must commit to learning and practicing language skills, as language is an essential element of successful Volunteer service.

Beyond the classroom, Volunteers will work towards Peace Corps goals two and three by living and spending time in their Montenegrin community with their host family and community partners. These goals are of great significance to Peace Corps’ work in Montenegro, especially when considering the United States’ complicated role in the Balkans during the 1990s. Earning the trust of the Montenegrin people will be critical to your success as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Required Skills

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

  • Bachelor of Arts / Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline

OR

  • 5 years’ professional experience

AND

  • Strong desire to work with, develop, and coach youth
  • Strong sense of responsibility and desire to be the first ever Peace Corps Volunteers serving in Montenegro
  • Ability to navigate challenging and ambiguous situations, including a willingness to fail and ability to share these failures to help the institutional learning

Volunteers serving in Montenegro in 2020, will be the first-ever Peace Corps Volunteers in this country. They will be part of an extension program in Montenegro, managed and primarily supported by Peace Corps Albania. Volunteers will have an increased level of responsibility beyond the already important role of Peace Corps Volunteers around the world. The selected individuals will not only be effective English teachers, but will also establish the reputation and credibility of Peace Corps. Being “the first” will have the additional challenge of navigating greater levels of ambiguity than a Volunteer in an established program. This cohort will help Peace Corps learn what it means to be a Volunteer in Montenegro and build a stronger program. The individuals selected should have demonstrated high levels of initiative and resilience, strong communication skills, and ability to work well with various stakeholders, including community members, school faculty, and Peace Corps staff.

Desired Skills

Highly competitive candidates will possess the following skills and qualifications:

  • Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL and TESL, or foreign language with six (6) months classroom teaching experience at the primary, middle, or 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 primary, middle, or secondary or University level in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL and TESL, or foreign language
  • Master of Arts in Teaching 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 with graduate or undergraduate concentration in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL, TESL, or a foreign language Experience with professional development for teachers or curriculum development
  • Demonstrated experience in planning and organizing activities for children and young adults
  • Demonstrated independence, self-initiative, flexibility, open-mindedness, and commitment to serve

Required Language Skills

Pre-Service Training (PST) will focus on language and cross-cultural adaptation. Albanian and Montenegrin are challenging languages. Your language training will focus on developing your competency as a communicator, not grammar skills. Language acquisition is difficult and will consume a substantial part of your time and energy during training. You will speak in Montenegrin or Albanian for the majority of your service. PST will give you the basis for continuing to develop your language skills during service.

Following PST, all Volunteers are required to retain a tutor for the initial six months of service.

Living Conditions

Please note, as this will be the first time Peace Corps will place Volunteers in Montenegro, staff are in the process of determining the living conditions of Peace Corps Volunteers serving in the country.

While Montenegro has a growing tourist economy along the coast, Volunteers will be placed in areas that border throughout Montenegro, in under-served communities with the greatest need. Volunteer sites are likely to be off the main roads in small communities (as few as 500 residents or up to 5,000 residents) with access to fewer resources than coastal cities or the capital. Transportation options in and out of your community may be limited and therefore it may not be easy to travel from community to community. Volunteers will be expected to walk or take public transportation (where available) to their assigned workplace. Moreover, Volunteers may live up to 45-50 minutes from their assigned work place, and therefore, should plan appropriately to arrive at their work site in a timely manner. All sites will meet Peace Corps safety and security requirements.

Volunteers in Montenegro will live with host families for a minimum of six months and potentially for their entire 27-month service. Living arrangements will be in in modest living quarters. While Volunteers will have their own room, they will have less privacy than what they are used to due to societal norms for communal activities. Kitchen facilities and bathrooms will be shared with host families. Communities in Montenegro are often conservative and close-knit. Housing will depend entirely on local availability and it will vary from Volunteer to Volunteer. Electricity and running water may not be consistently available and internet access may not be available at all. However, as with all sites selected for Volunteers, all housing will meet Peace Corps safety and security requirements.

Similar to many other countries in the Balkans and in many parts of Europe, cigarette-smoking (indoors and outdoors) is very common in Montenegro. Also, due to the cold weather during winter, there can be heavy amounts of smoke from coal-burning and woodstoves, to keep warm. In addition, it is common for local citizens to burn their trash outside which may also affect the air quality.

As an agency, Peace Corps is committed to creating a supportive and inclusive environment for staff and Volunteers. In their local communities, Volunteers should anticipate attention and curiosity about their visible and invisible diversities. Peace Corps has experience in working with diverse Volunteers in the Balkans, and staff in Albania and Montenegro will be working with you to understand how this will affect you in Montenegro.

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

Couples Information

As the placing of Volunteers in Montenegro is a pilot program, post cannot accept couples.

Medical Considerations in Montenegro

All Volunteers receive necessary and appropriate health care during service. In every post where Volunteers serve abroad, the Peace Corps maintains a health unit staffed by one or more health-care providers, called Peace Corps Medical Officers. Consistent with long-standing Peace Corps policy, the first group of Volunteers to serve in Montenegro will be subject to stricter medical clearance requirements in order for staff to fully assess local healthcare resources and infrastructure. Please visit Peace Corps’ Medical Care During Service page for more information. Also, 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.

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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