High School English Educator

Project Description

To better prepare youth for global work, high school classes in Malawi are taught in English. Thus, the stronger a student's command of English, the better chance they have to succeed academically in any subject. We invite you to work alongside partners in Malawi to support youth education by serving as a High School English Educator.

In this role, you and your Malawian colleagues will challenge your students to think critically and creatively and strengthen their command of the English language through classes that incorporate interactive techniques and facilitation. You will also collaborate on innovative teaching practices with your fellow educators through model teaching and mutual peer observation of general and English teaching skills. You will also collaborate with teachers to focus on social-emotional learning skills in their classes, helping to foster a positive, student-centered learning environment in the entire school.

After class, you and your fellow teachers will support clubs (English clubs, debate clubs, newspaper clubs, etc.) and other 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 also have numerous opportunities to collaborate with Malawian counterparts to engage and empower girls in academic achievement, goal setting, and gender norms through dynamic clubs and camps.

Due to the prevalence of HIV amongst youth in Malawi and the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, all Volunteers are trained on activities to support HIV and COVID-19 prevention and are expected to implement these activities during their Peace Corps service.

In Malawi, your work will not come without unique challenges. Rural high schools often have very few resources. You may have over 100 students in your classes, but only one textbook. Students face many obstacles to completing their education, such as: long distances to school, poverty, teen pregnancy, HIV, COVID-19, 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 to take part in the unique experience of supporting the development of Malawi’s next generation of leaders.

COVID-19 Volunteer Activities

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.

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:

• 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 host community. By the end of Pre-Service Training, Trainees must achieve a functional level of the local language ability before taking the official oath to become a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Living Conditions

Housing: High School English Educators typically live in housing provided by the school. Most of these houses are constructed of brick with concrete flooring and corrugated metal roofs. Homes may be located on the school grounds 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 use 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.

Transportation: 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.

Teaching Environment: 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 scarce. 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 limited resources.

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. Aditionally, teacher shortages are prevalent which can create an even more challenging environment. Despite these challenges, this is a tremendous opportunity to engage with youth over a sustained period of time. As a result, you can watch your students grow and flourish during your service. With your commitment and collaboration with Malawian counterparts, you will see students increase attendance and embrace the challenge of learning. The efforts of you and your fellow teachers will result in your school becoming more sensitive to gender issues.

Cultural Attitudes and Customs in the Workplace: It is important that all Volunteers 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 in their language, for which you will receive extensive training. 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, and always in partnership with Malawian counterparts. 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. You will need to dress professionally for work situations in your community: button-up shirts, ties, blazers, slacks, and dress shoes for men; sleeved blouses, long skirts, and professional shoes for women. Dressing appropriately will help you gain respect in your host community, facilitate integration, and increase your credibility and effectiveness. Peace Corps will provide additional 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.

Couples Information

Peace Corps Malawi can accommodate heterosexual 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.
Due to cultural expectations, unmarried couples in a domestic partnership are highly encouraged to present themselves as a married couple to their host community.
The Peace Corps works to foster safe and productive assignments for same-sex couples, and same-sex couples are not placed in countries where homosexual acts are criminalized. Because of this, same-sex couple placements are more limited than heterosexual couple placements. During the application process, recruiters and placement officers work closely with same-sex couple applicants to understand current placement opportunities. For more information, please visit Peace Corps’ FAQ page for Volunteers who identify as LGBTQIA+.

Medical Considerations

Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the medical clearance process.

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