High School English Educator
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact Peace Corps domestically and internationally.
The information provided for each assignment is subject to change, including the tentative departure date.
The friendliness of its people has given Malawi the title of the “Warm Heart of Africa.” As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi, you’ll work with many Malawians who are trying to strengthen education in the rural areas, with a special emphasis on teachers but also parents, community members, and the students themselves.
What is it like to attend school in a language that is not your native tongue? Across Malawi, students entering secondary school at the age of 14 face this exact challenge. English is expected to be used exclusively in high school classrooms in order to prepare students for the workforce. Unfortunately, many students at this point have low proficiency in English, which can make it difficult to succeed academically in any subject. We invite you to make a difference in these students’ lives by serving as a High School English Educator in Malawi.
As a High School English Educator, you will challenge your students to think critically and creatively, rather than simply memorizing information, and strengthen their command of the English language through classes that incorporate innovative techniques and interactive facilitation. You will also share these innovative teaching practices with your fellow educators. By model teaching and mutual peer observation of general and English teaching skills, planning and co-training teachers in workshops, and equipping teachers to use Social-Emotional Learning Skills you will foster a student-centered learning environment in the entire school.
After class, you will support clubs and implement extracurricular initiatives such as creating a school library or promoting parent-educator collaboration. And you will promote the love of reading not only in your school, but also in the home, community, and with your village leaders. High School English Educators in Malawi will have numerous opportunities to engage and empower girls in academic achievement, goal setting, HIV prevention, and gender norms through dynamic clubs and camps.
In Malawi, one of the poorest countries in the world, your work will not come without unique challenges. Rural secondary schools often have very few resources. You may have over 100 students in your classes, but only one textbook. Students themselves face many obstacles to completing their education, such as: long distances to school, poverty, teen pregnancy, HIV, and malaria.
The training you receive from Peace Corps combined with your unique experiences, expertise, and the relationships you build in your community will aid you in being flexible and creative when approaching your work as a High School English Educator. Be prepared to commit yourself to two years of challenging yet highly rewarding work, and take part in the unique experience of developing the next generation of leaders in Malawi.
Peace Corps Malawi promotes gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. You will receive training on gender challenges in your country and you will have the opportunity to implement gender-related activities that are contextually appropriate. During your service, you will look for ways to work with community members to promote gender-equitable norms and increase girls’ sense of agency. As part of your work, you will also report on these efforts and their impact.
COVID-19 Volunteer Activities
In the past year, the world has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a Volunteer, you will be trained in how to best protect yourself from COVID-19 exposure and understand the impact of and steps to reduce stigma related to COVID-19. You may also have the opportunity to engage with your community on implementing or enhancing COVID-19 mitigation activities, such as COVID-19 prevention and risk reduction strategies including social distancing, hand washing, mask wearing, addressing myths and misconceptions related to these practices, and vaccine hesitancy. Activities will be tailored to address the COVID-19 circumstances in the communities where you will serve.
Competitive candidates will have a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline and a strong desire to teach English
Competitive candidates will have one or more of the following:
• Experience in classroom teaching (any subject)
• Experience mentoring and/or tutoring English language learners in schools or similar activities
• Experience planning and delivering lessons in a participatory manner
• Strong communication, public speaking, and organizational skills
• Experience with youth programs
Required Language Skills
There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position.
During pre-service training, Volunteers will receive training by Malawian language instructors to communicate in the local language used in their assigned community. At the end of pre-service training, Trainees must achieve a functional level of the local language ability before swearing in as a Peace Corps Volunteer.
As a High School English Educator, you will be assigned to a rural high school to work five days a week from 7:30 AM to 4:00 PM and you may have additional activities that take place after school or on the weekends. Resources at the school may be lacking. Schools without electricity, desks for students, and few textbooks are common. High School English Educators in Malawi need to be creative and learn to improvise in order to be successful with few resources.
High School English Educators typically live in housing provided by the school. Most of these houses are constructed of bricks with concrete flooring and corrugated metal roofs. Homes may be located on the school’s compound or nearby in the surrounding community. Like most rural residences in Malawi, the homes of Peace Corps Volunteers typically do not have electricity or running water. Volunteers utilize candles and solar lamps for lighting, cook with wood/charcoal stoves, and collect water from a nearby communal pump. Toilets are typically in the form of outdoor latrines, or squat toilets, and bathing is done using a bucket. Mobile phone coverage is available, but spotty in some areas. Basic necessities such as vegetables, grains, and household goods can be purchased in the community or at a nearby market town.
Travel in Malawi can be strenuous, involving long bus rides on dirt roads. Peace Corps Volunteers may walk long distances on a regular basis or cycle between villages for their work. Peace Corps can provide a bike to assist with these daily routines.
Volunteers must be prepared to teach up to (or over) 100 students in a class and to work in conditions (both at school and at home) without electricity or running water. Volunteers must conduct themselves as a model citizen in their community, setting an example for students, educators, and parents. Student attendance may be sporadic due to inability to pay school fees, domestic requirements at home, and food insecurity. In addition to this, teacher shortages are prevalent which can create an even more challenging environment. Despite all of the challenges, this is a tremendous opportunity to engage with youth over a sustained period of time. As a result, you can watch them grow and flourish during your service. With your commitment you will see numbers of students gain in attendance and embrace the challenge of learning. Also, with your consistent participation you will see shy students and those with low self-esteem turn into self-trusting and confident pupils taking on challenging tasks independently. In addition to an overall increase in active participation, your efforts will result in teachers becoming more sensitive to gender equity and begin to call on boys and girls equally.
Cultural Attitudes and Customs in the Workplace: It is important that you respect and earn the trust of the people in your community and be open minded, motivated, patient, and flexible in ambiguous situations. An important aspect of your work will be your ability to communicate with your community members. It is also essential that Peace Corps Volunteers work within the hierarchical structure of the community to conduct their work in a culturally appropriate way. Your professional appearance and work habits, along with the respect and deference you demonstrate for your fellow Malawians, will go a long way toward gaining respect and credibility in the workplace.
Dress Code: Personal appearance is very important in Malawi. During pre-service training, the dress code is business casual. Following pre-service training, you will need to dress professionally for work situations in your community. Dressing appropriately will help you gain respect in your host community, facilitate integration, and increase your credibility and effectiveness. Peace Corps will provide dress guidance, and Volunteers are advised to take cues from Malawian colleagues and dress to their standards of professionalism.
Serving in Malawi
Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Malawi: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, health, and safety -- including health and crime statistics -- in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.
Peace Corps Malawi welcomes couples. Your partner must apply and qualify for one of the following positions in Malawi:
- Youth Health Advisor
- Environment and Food Security Educator
Couples have the same living conditions as single Volunteers.
Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the medical clearance process.
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