Junior High Math Teacher

Before You Apply

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Project Description

This is an exciting and challenging time in the history of Liberia. The Peace Corps Education Project supports Liberia’s education sector during a time of reconstruction as the country aims to meet the nation’s educational challenges and help ensure every Liberian child can have access to and obtain a quality education. Peace Corps/Liberia’s Education project places Volunteers as math and science teachers in schools teaching 7th through 12th grade; this position is specifically for 7th to 9th grade math teachers. Volunteers will teach basic math concepts, including basic numeracy, pre-algebra, geometry, and algebra while building the comprehension and critical thinking skills of their students.

A majority of the schools are located in rural communities, small towns or large villages; however, some are located in county capitals that have populations above 30,000. Peace Corps Volunteers will be responsible for teaching different grade levels, in classrooms that typically have between 50-90 students in each class with very limited teaching resources. Ninety-five percent (95%) of Liberian students are considered ‘over-age’ for their respective grade level. Students in junior high and high school will range in age from 13 to mid-30’s. The Liberian school system often passes students to the next grade level even when students have not passed classes or mastered academic concepts for their current grade level. Volunteers might have to adapt to a system where students’ grades are good indicators of a student’s progress (or lack thereof), but may not be a determining factor in a student’s passing on to the next grade level.

In addition to your primary placement of teaching middle school math, the following are few examples of areas where you may choose to conduct secondary projects:
1) Teacher training;
2) School community improvement activities by working with their principal, teachers, students, and Parent Teacher Associations;
3) Local library awareness raising activities or creation;
4) Gender equality activities (i.e. girls’ or boys’ club or camp, training on gender-based violence in the classroom);
5) Youth development projects (i.e. after-school programs, boys and girls clubs, sports activities, and/or other math/science-based experiential learning opportunities);
6) Malaria training on prevention activities with students, teachers, and/or community members;
7) Hand washing and safe hygiene practices and awareness raising activities in schools; and
8) Food security projects (i.e. school gardens, community gardening).

Liberia 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.

In addition, all Volunteers are expected to monitor and report on their work twice a year during their service for the following reasons: to allow Volunteers to share their activities and contributions with their community; to measure progress towards meeting Peace Corps Liberia’s project goals, and at the end of their service, for Volunteers to assess their overall contribution to Liberia.

Required Skills

Competitive candidates will have one or more of the following criteria:
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline with relevant volunteer experience; or
• 5 Years of professional work experience

Desired Skills

Additionally, Liberia strongly prefers its applicants have one or more of the following qualifications:
• Sound knowledge of basic mathematical concepts, including addition, subtraction, multiplication, basic geometry, and basic algebra.
• Ability to provide differentiated instruction in order to reach both advanced and novice learners is required.
• Experience working with youth in unstructured or semi-structured environments, or in community and organizational development would be beneficial.
• Prior teaching experience including lesson planning, basic classroom management, student evaluation, and public communication are preferred.
• Demonstrated ability in planning, organizing, counseling on leadership within the past 5 years.
• Preferred work experience in low or under-resourced classrooms or communities.

Required Language Skills

There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position. Please take a moment to explore the Language Comments section below to find out more on how local language(s) will be utilized during service.

Additional Language Information

There are 15 local languages spoken in Liberia with Liberian English spoken throughout the country. Standard English is the official language of instruction in schools, however, many teachers teach in Liberian English. You will be trained in Liberian English and greetings in one of the fifteen local languages depending on where in the country you are placed. You can find out more about Liberian English here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberian_English

Living Conditions

Communication: Many sites have limited cell phone coverage in or near your assigned community. However, there are sites without any cell phone coverage. If Volunteers have cell phone coverage in their assigned community, they will also have the possibility of connecting to the Internet through a smart phone or if they purchase a portable internet USB. Volunteers without cell coverage tend to have very limited internet access.

Transportation: During your Peace Corps service, Volunteers will travel via public transportation, often in the form of tightly packed taxis. Many roads and vehicles are in extremely poor condition, especially during the rainy season; however, road projects are in the works and many of the roads throughout Liberia are being paved. Volunteers will be trained in transportation safety, and transportation will always be a very large challenge during their service. While traveling between locations, they should be prepared for old and crowded vehicles and many long hours on the road.

Housing: Volunteers are expected to be willing to accept a variety of housing possibilities during their two years of service. Volunteer housing consists of both single and double dwelling homes, depending on the school's site and housing availability. Most homes consist of three to four rooms, including a bedroom, a common area, kitchen and either a pit latrine or an indoor bathroom that requires bucket flushing. Volunteers should not expect to have electricity or running water in their home, and they will get their water from a nearby hand pump or well. In addition, it is probable that there will be few, if any, other Volunteers in the immediate area.

Health: The health and safety and security of Volunteers are Peace Corps' top priority. Blood-borne diseases are endemic in Liberia. Once in Liberia, Volunteers will be trained on maintaining their health and how to seek treatment if needed.

Social Climate: Liberia has some restrictive laws that target certain sexual acts. Volunteers will need to be mindful of cultural norms and country-specific laws, and use their best judgment to determine how to approach topics related to sexual orientation and gender identity in their communities and host countries. 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 Liberia: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, and safety — including crime statistics [PDF] — in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.

Medical Considerations in Liberia

  • Liberia 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; ophthalmology; seizure disorder; urology; ongoing counseling.
  • The following medication(s) are not permitted for legal or cultural reasons: Adderall, Vyvanse. 
  • Volunteers who should avoid the following food(s) may not be able to serve: none identified. 
  • After arrival in Liberia, 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 also review Important Medical Information for Applicants [PDF] to learn about other health conditions typically not supported in Peace Corps service.

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