Primary and Secondary Education English Teacher
Cambodia is a warm and welcoming place to serve. Cambodia has a long and rich history reflected in its hundreds of ancient temples, floating villages along the Tonle Sap and Mekong rivers, and vibrant cultural hubs of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) in Cambodia work in public schools across the country. We have an exciting partnership with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport who welcome PCVs as they work to enhance education throughout the country with an emphasis on improving English language teaching and learning. In many ways, schools are the center of communities in Cambodia and working there opens opportunities for many community development projects beyond the classroom.
Volunteers teach English at primary (grades 4-6) or secondary schools (grades 7 -12). All Volunteers co-teach with local Cambodian teachers to integrate effective teaching strategies and improve English proficiency. In secondary schools, it is common for there to be 1 or 2 English teachers who teach an average of 20 hours per week. In primary schools there may not be a designated English teacher and many teachers will share classes. Therefore, Volunteers can expect to work with up to 10 different teachers depending on their school’s structure. Volunteers will co-teach English classes for 16-20 hours per week. In Cambodia, English is an in-demand subject and English teachers often teach more hours than other teachers because the country lacks a sufficient number of qualified English teachers.
In addition to teaching in the classroom, Volunteers spend time preparing lesson plans, developing and/or adapting educational materials (visual aids, lesson or activity books, games, etc.), and participating in teacher meetings and other school-related activities. Additionally, there are often opportunities for Volunteers to lead trainings for teachers in their schools on best practices in Teaching English as a Foreign Language. Volunteers are encouraged to lead or co-lead extracurricular activities such as afterschool clubs and programs to enrich learning experiences for their students.
Volunteers are also trained in community development and project design to meet local needs outside the classroom. Many secondary projects focus on health education, water, hygiene, community gardens, English resource libraries, and life skills training. For example, recent projects include:
• Developing school libraries
• Installing hand washing stations in key locations around the school campus.
• Hosting a workshop on community gardening.
• Setting up a model vegetable garden on the school campus with other teachers.
• Starting an environmental club for high school students.
• Implementing community composting and planting new trees.
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.
Competitive candidates will have a strong desire to teach English and meet one or more of the following criteria:
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline.
• Minimum of 30 hours of English, foreign language, or literacy tutoring experience with primary, middle, or high school students or adults.
The ability to ride a bike is required as Volunteers' primary mode of transportation in Cambodia is a Peace Corps provided bicycle. Volunteers should be comfortable riding a bicycle for short to moderate distances (1 to 5 miles per day).
While it is not required, competitive candidates will have classroom teaching experience at the primary or secondary level in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL, TESL or a foreign language.
Required Language Skills
There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position.
Desire to learn Khmer is essential. Khmer language skills are necessary to achieve the goals of this assignment. Language classes are a significant component of Pre-Service Training. In small groups of no more than 10, Trainees work with our experienced Language and Cultural Facilitators to learn basic conversation skills as well as language on topics relevant to Volunteers’ working and living experiences. Trainees who do not reach novice-high proficiency at the end of Pre-Service Training are required to continue studying with a tutor in their community. Most Volunteers choose to work with a tutor throughout their service to continue to enhance their language skills. Tutors are trained and compensated by the Peace Corps.
All Volunteers (including couples) live with host families for the duration of their service. Some families have several generations living together while others may be a couple with grown children who have left the community. While Volunteers have their own room in the home, they often share common living and dining spaces as well as a bathroom. This can create an opportunity for a strong bonding experience with a host family. It also may be a big change in the amount of attention and privacy Volunteers may be used to in the U.S. Volunteers might not be able to control how much attention they receive from family members during service.
Host family experiences vary in Cambodia, but most Volunteers find their relationship with their host family the most profound experience of their service. Volunteers are encouraged to participate in the day-to-day activities in their host families’ lives as well as to celebrate special occasions like weddings, holidays, and ceremonies. Some families must tend to their business or farm, small children, and other responsibilities that may keep them busy. Peace Corps ensures that Volunteers live in a safe environment with a family in the community, thoroughly assesses the families, and provides training for them before they host Volunteers.
Housing reflects what is typical in the community and includes space for sleeping, cooking, eating, and bathing. Indoor plumbing may not be available and bucket showers and squat toilets are typical. Drinking water must either be boiled or purchased but is readily available. Volunteers use electric fans for cooling their living space.
Volunteers are required to live according to local cultural norms, which include sharing at least one meal with the host family each day. Typical Cambodian meals include rice, noodles, fish, pork, and chicken. Maintaining a vegetarian diet is difficult as soups are made with various meat and fish stock, and vegetables may be a minor part of your family’s diet. Fresh produce is available in markets year-round, but the selection may be limited. Cooking for yourself may be your only option if you want to maintain a strict vegetarian diet.
Volunteers have reliable access to the internet as most towns have internet cafés, and schools and offices are likely to have internet service as well. For this reason, Volunteers often bring their own laptops and tablets.
Travel by bicycle is required of all Volunteers. Local transportation options may be limited in the semi-rural areas where Volunteers live. Volunteers often ride on gravel or paved roads that can be muddy in the rainy season and dusty in the dry season. Volunteers ride a bicycle up to 5 miles on a daily basis in Cambodia’s hot climate to commute to school, the market, or internet cafés.
Volunteers experience a high degree of curiosity and attention from community members that may be unwanted. This can be uncomfortable, but Volunteers are encouraged to use these moments as opportunities to deepen local community members’ understanding of American diversity by sharing their values and experiences. Peace Corps Cambodia is committed to creating a supportive and inclusive environment for Volunteers of all backgrounds.
Serving in Cambodia
Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Cambodia: 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 Cambodia accepts couples of the opposite and same sex. English Education Teachers may serve with another English Education Teacher or a Secondary Education English Teacher Trainer. Couples live together through training and in their community of service. Housing requirements stipulated by Peace Corps for couples are the same as those for single Volunteers because it would be unusual to find houses that are much larger than the standard small house.
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: https://www.peacecorps.gov/faqs/lgbtq/.
Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the medical clearance process.
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