High School Math Teacher

Before You Apply

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Project Description

Can you imagine sitting on the porch of your little house—hearing the rain drumming on your tin roof while drinking tea with your neighbor? Can you see yourself wearing a colorful capulana (sarong) as you present tutoring lessons to students gathered under the shade of a mango tree? Can you envision riding your bike to the local market to buy pumpkin leaves and peanuts to make matapa and hearing boys and girls in the youth group you facilitate shout greetings to you in Portuguese? If the answer is yes, Peace Corps seeks applicants like you who also have the passion, flexibility, and resiliency to support classroom initiatives in the amazing African country of Mozambique.

Volunteers in Mozambique use student-centered methods to teach Math to high school students ranging from 8th to 12th grade. Volunteers working in the upper grades may also help their learners to prepare for national exams.

Although Volunteers are independently responsible for teaching their own classes, they plan lessons with their Mozambican teacher counterparts. Investment in school infrastructure and resources has led to significant increases in access to education, but there is still much to be done to improve the quality of education. Mozambican class sizes are large (40-100 students) and schools have very limited resources.

In their role as Math teachers, Volunteers will work at secondary schools, aiming first and foremost to increase student knowledge and proficiency in Math. The majority of time will be spent preparing and delivering lessons, as well as correcting students’ written work. Volunteers will also work to promote effective instruction and resource development through collaboration with teachers, helping to create opportunities for skill-building workshops and setting up resource centers.

Apart from their classroom teaching hours, Volunteers have the opportunity to get involved in interesting secondary projects, including science fairs, English theater competitions, and youth clubs.

Important note: Due to the lack of skilled teachers in computer science, Volunteers may be asked to teach lessons in information, communication, and technology. Peace Corps aims to place candidates in Math teaching positions, while we ask Volunteers to be open and flexible regarding their specific assignment.

Peace Corps Mozambique promotes gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. Volunteers will receive training on gender challenges in country and will have the opportunity to implement gender-related activities that are contextually appropriate. During service, Volunteers will look for ways to work with community members to promote gender-equitable norms and increase girls’ sense of agency. As part of their work, Volunteers will also report on these efforts and their impact.

Required Skills

Competitive candidates will have a Bachelor Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline and a strong desire to teach Math.

Desired Skills

The strongest candidates will demonstrate:
• Knowledge and experience in Math, preferably in a multicultural setting
• Knowledge of, and willingness to apply, student-centered teaching methods in the classroom
• Ability to work well with others in cross-cultural work environment
• Creativity and resourcefulness
• Resiliency

Required Language Skills

Candidates must meet one or more of the language requirements below in order to be considered for this position.

A. Completed 4 years of high school Spanish coursework within the past 8 years
B. Completed minimum 2 semesters of Spanish college- level coursework within the past 6 years
C. Native/fluent speaker of Spanish or Portuguese
D. Prior Portuguese language competency

Candidates who do not meet the language proficiency levels above can take the language placement exams to demonstrate their level of proficiency. Competitive applicants typically attain a score of 50 on the Spanish College Level Examination Program CLEP exam or a score of Novice‐High on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL OPI).

Volunteers will use Portuguese as their primary means of communication, so they must be fully committed to learning this language. Self-study prior to arrival in Mozambique is strongly recommended. Preferred candidates will have strong language skills and an interest in learning a local language in addition to Portuguese. Trainees must demonstrate an intermediate level of written and oral proficiency in Portuguese after 13 weeks of Pre-service Training.

Candidates who do not meet the language requirement but have a strong interest to work in the education sector are encouraged to apply.

Living Conditions

Mozambique is a beautiful, fascinating, and very large country, so Volunteers should be prepared to travel for long hours on public transport.

Mini buses and taxis provide most of the transportation in urban settings. Rural transportation ranges from minibuses and pickup trucks to boat taxis, or simply lots of walking. Transportation options may be unreliable, especially off the main paved roads and during the rainy season. Volunteers should also be prepared to experience high heat and humidity in most regions of the country.

85 to 90% of Education Volunteers live on school grounds so they walk to school. The other 15% walk for about 1 km maximum to school. Some Volunteers use bikes when they go shopping or for other community activities.

Living conditions vary by site, so prospective Volunteers should prepare to be flexible. Most Volunteers live in urban or semi-urban environments, while some may live in rural settings. Trainees live with a home-stay family during Pre-Service Training (PST) and a foster family during Phase 2 who help them with additional language acquisition skills and cultural integration.

Volunteers may live in a cement house with a tin roof or a house constructed of local materials (reed, mud or cement walls, cement floor, and a thatched or tin roof). The toilet, bath, and cooking facilities may be indoors or outdoors. Some Volunteers may share houses with other Volunteers, while others may live in a private dwelling. Homes may be located within a family compound or on the school grounds.

Most Volunteers, but not all, will have access to electricity, but all candidates should be prepared to live without this amenity. Very few Volunteers have access to running water in their houses. Most Volunteers, even those without electricity, have decent mobile phone service. Many get internet access by purchasing flash drive modems or smartphones.

At all times, Volunteers are expected to maintain a professional appearance and to behave in culturally appropriate ways. Professional clothing for men means button-down shirts, slacks or good jeans and casual, comfortable shoes. Long hair is usually regarded as unprofessional and the hair should not touch the shoulders. Also male Volunteers are expected to keep any beards well-groomed. For women it means dresses, skirts or slacks with blouses, and dress shoes or sandals. Especially in the central and northern provinces, professional dress for women is expected to cover the shoulders and knees. For women, tiny nose studs are acceptable. Larger, more conspicuous nose rings are not acceptable.

Note that tattoos and piercings are not well understood or well-received, particularly in the rural areas of Mozambique, where most Trainees will be assigned to which will make integration and trust more difficult. They are slightly more accepted in larger towns and cities, but are still outside of cultural norms. During the first 13 weeks in-country, Trainees will be trained on Mozambican cultural norms and traditions.

While Mozambique is generally tolerant, values and mores concerning sexual orientation and gender identity in Mozambique are different than those in the U.S. Sexual orientation and nonconforming gender identities may not be discussed openly and the LGBTQ community may be stigmatized. Staff and currently serving Volunteers will address this topic during Pre-Service Training, and identify support mechanisms for incoming Trainees.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Mozambique: 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

Couples are welcome. Your partner must qualify and apply for the High School Math, Science, or English Teacher position in Mozambique. Couples will live in the same house during PST, but may be separated during 3 weeks of the second phase of PST, known as site visit. They will live in the same house during Peace Corps service.

Medical Considerations in Mozambique

  • Mozambique may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: asthma, including mild or childhood; cardiology; insulin-dependent diabetes; 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:  gluten.  
  • After arrival in Mozambique, 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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