High School English Teacher

Before You Apply

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Project Description

Imagine what it would be like attend school in a language that was not your native tongue? Malawian students face this challenge starting at around age 14 when they begin secondary school. English is used exclusively in secondary schools 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 Secondary School English Teacher with the Peace Corps in Malawi.

As a High School English Teacher, you will strengthen your students’ command of the English language through classes that incorporate innovative techniques and interactive facilitation. You will challenge your students not to simply memorize information, but to think critically and creatively. You will share these innovative teaching practices with your fellow teachers in order to 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-teacher 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 Teachers 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 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 Secondary School English Teacher. 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. And, remember, you will never conduct your work alone. The friendliness of its people has given Malawi the title of the “Warm Heart of Africa.”

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 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.

There are no language requirements before arrival in Malawi. At the end of Pre-Service Training, Trainees must achieve a benchmark level of local language ability before being sworn in as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Living Conditions

Secondary School English Teachers typically live in housing that the Malawian Ministry of Education provides for schoolteachers. Most of these houses are constructed of bricks with concrete flooring and corrugated metal roofs. Homes are often 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 utilize candles and solar lamps for lighting, wood/charcoal stoves for cooking, 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.

Conditions at the schools will also be lacking. In addition to no electricity, students may not have books, school furniture may be in disrepair, and equipment may be limited. This is especially difficult for English teachers who may not have direct access to functioning libraries, text books or other reading materials, yet they will be required to teach the same subject content as if they did have access to these resources. Secondary School English Teachers in Malawi are creative and learn to improvise in order to be successful.

Peace Corps Volunteers are strongly advised to bring a laptop to Malawi in order to complete required reports and work during their service

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.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Malawi: 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

Peace Corps Malawi can accommodate couples. Your partner must apply and qualify for one of the following positions in Malawi:

- Youth Health Advisor

or

- Environmental Education and Food Security Educator

Couples have the same living conditions as single Volunteers.

Medical Considerations in Malawi

  • Malawi may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: asthma, including mild or childhood; cardiology; dermatology; gastroenterology; some types of gynecologic support; insulin-dependent diabetes; 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: none identified. 
  • Volunteers who should avoid the following food(s) may not be able to serve: peanuts.
  • After arrival in Malawi, 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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