Primary Education English Co-Teacher
The Ministry of Education has asked the Peace Corps to be a part of the solution in spreading the knowledge and use of English throughout Rwanda’s school system. As an Education Volunteer you will work on goals of classroom instruction for secondary school students as well as collaboration with your Rwandan teaching colleagues to improve their ability to teach all subjects in English. This will be a challenging assignment, but you will find an audience of students and teachers who are extremely motivated to learn English and how to best utilize locally available resources, including books and IT, to improve their work. All Primary Education English Co-Teacher Volunteers will be placed in Rwandan primary schools, co-planning/teaching with local teachers.
You will also participate in Peace Corps’ Rwanda’s TEFL training program which allows you to earn a Peace Corps TEFL Certificate upon successful completion of program requirements. This program provides 120 hours of standardized training and practice teaching along with two years of supervised teaching experience, framed through quarterly online learning events facilitated by post staff. This training is designed to respond to the goals of TEFL Volunteers:
(1) Building counterpart teacher capacity through teaching Communities of Practice
(2) Improving student achievement in English
(3) Increasing community engagement in student learning through school and/or community-based activities
(4) Establishing or improving school libraries to increase availability of reading materials to students.
The Certificate program is validated by the Center for Applied Linguistics in Washington, DC. The US State Department and the English language learning sector worldwide have touted Peace Corps’ TEFL Certificate program as a high-quality credential.
Among the points that we will be emphasizing during your TEFL training are:
•Understanding the structure of the educational system/issues in Rwanda.
•Practicing/modeling learner-centered methodologies for colleagues who are accustomed to a traditional, teacher-driven system.
•Reviewing relevant curricula including the curriculum framework, grade level syllabi and school documents all teachers are expected to utilize.
•Lesson planning to engage and motivate teachers, accomplished through co-planning/teaching and the CICP.
•Taking advantage of opportunities to work with colleagues to share lessons, model approaches, and collaborate on innovation strategies.
•Supporting students and teachers to improve basic computer skills and incorporating technology in teachers’ daily teaching activities.
•Dressing appropriately as an education professional and a community member.
As part of their primary project, all Education Volunteers will be expected to work closely with their Rwandan colleagues to help them earn the Certificate in Classroom Practice (CICP), a credential awarded by Peace Corps/Rwanda. The number of English teachers you will support in this capacity building initiative will be specific to your site and determined by school leadership before your arrival, but it is typically a minimum of three teachers.
Promoting or entrenching a culture of reading by helping schools to access and utilize high quality reading materials through libraries has been made a priority by the Ministry of Education.
Peace Corps Rwanda promotes gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. You will receive training on gender challenges in your country and you will have the opportunity to implement gender-related activities that are contextually appropriate. During your service, you will look for ways to work with community members to promote gender-equitable norms and increase girls’ sense of agency. As part of your work, you will also report on these efforts and their impact.
COVID-19 Volunteer Activities
In the past year, the world has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 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 Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline and a strong desire to teach English.
Competitive candidates will have one or more of the following criteria:
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in Preschool, Early Childhood, Middle School, or Elementary Education
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline with Elementary Education state certification
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline with 1 or more school year classroom teaching experience at the Early Childhood, Middle School, or Elementary level. Full time Montessori teaching experience is also acceptable.
Required Language Skills
There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position.
You will learn Kinyarwanda during training. In 2008, Rwanda changed its official language from French to English; thus some Rwandans will not speak much English. In the rural areas where Volunteers live, Kinyarwanda will be essential to daily life and work as a Volunteer. Visit www.kinyarwanda.net to become familiar with this language.
You will live in modest accommodations provided by the school. These accommodations vary in size and resources. Some houses will have running water and electricity, some will not. Normally the floors and walls are cemented. You might use kerosene lanterns for light or charcoal stoves for cooking. You will receive a modest settling in allowance from Peace Corps so you can acquire basic furnishings. Housing will be identified and approved according to Peace Corps safety and security standards prior to your arrival at your site.
You will primarily travel by foot, bicycle, or public transportation. Public transportation is available near most sites, and in most cases frequents the nearest regional town. Public transportation is relatively cheap, but it can be crowded, and unreliable. Volunteers traveling by bike are required to wear a Peace Corps provided helmet.
The climate of Rwanda is made up of two rainy seasons and two dry seasons. The lowest nighttime temperature is around 10 C (50 F) and the highest daytime temperature is about 34 C (94 F).
Rwandans are conservative in attire and grooming. In professional working environments in which Peace Corps is invited to serve, Volunteers are held to the same standards as their Rwandan counterparts. Men keep their hair cut short and neat. Long hair, including locs, on men is not accepted in the environments in which Volunteers work and, as such, is not permitted for male Volunteers. Facial hair is also kept neat and short. Men never have visible piercings. In terms of dress, men wear trousers such as chinos and button-down shirts in work settings. Jackets and ties are occasional requirements for certain activities.
Rwandan women may wear their hair long, but keep it styled conservatively. Women wear long dresses and skirts that fall below the knee or trouser suits with tunic style tops in both work and leisure environments.
Volunteers will encounter different cultural and social norms that require flexibility and understanding. For example, communication in Rwanda tends to be very indirect, which can be difficult for Americans who have been taught to value direct communication.
Women, particularly young women, and younger Volunteers need to be aware of very different gender and age dynamics in Rwanda. Gaining the respect of colleagues and traditional leaders may require more effort than you expect.
Normal working hours for most public institutions are 7:00 am to 5:00 pm, from Monday to Friday. Schools are mainly busy in the mornings until late afternoons (5:00 pm). Based on this, work schedules are developed in collaboration with your designated Rwandan counterparts and supervisor. In addition to classroom teaching, it will require that Volunteers be self-starters and proactive in identifying meaningful activities. Weekends and holidays may be prime working times.
You are strongly encouraged to bring a laptop, which not only increases options for internet access, but also enables you to complete required TEFL assignments off-line and upload them at a later date. Please note that tablets /smart phones are not an effective alternative.
Volunteers will need to be mindful of cultural norms, and use their judgment to determine the best way to approach sexual orientation and gender identity in their communities and host countries. While people in Rwanda may be generally tolerant, their values and mores concerning sexual orientation and gender identity may be more than those in some parts of the U.S. Although homosexuality in Rwanda is not illegal, it is a taboo subject and generally not accepted. In Rwanda, making known a sexual orientation other than heterosexual can result in ostracism. Staff and currently serving Volunteers will address this topic during pre-service training, and identify support mechanisms for Volunteers throughout service
Serving in Rwanda
Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Rwanda: 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 are welcome. Your partner must qualify and apply for a position in either the Education or the Health sector in Rwanda.
If serving in the Education sector together, you will be assigned to either the same school or to two neighboring schools. However, you can extend work into the neighboring communities (normally in the same school district).
It is also possible to accept couples working across sectors (Peace Corps Rwanda's health and education projects), in which one Volunteer will work at a Community Health Center and another Volunteer will work at a nearby primary or secondary school or a Teacher Training College.
During training and service, couples will live together. Married couples have served very successfully in Rwanda. They tend to be well accepted as the social norm is to be married by the time you are an adult. You will almost certainly be questioned about their children, or lack of, as childbearing is one of the most important and normal aspects of married life in Rwanda. You may also face curiosity and/or judgment if you and your partner perform different gender roles than are culturally expected. Non-married couples should be prepared to present themselves to their communities as legally married for the length of their service.
In all cases, while couples are warmly welcome, each partner will work in their own position and be supervised and supported as an individual Volunteer. It is important that couples realize and accept that they may have different work and/or training schedules. In-service trainings and other events may mean that you are away from site for a week or more while your partner stays at site. Requests to travel or miss work in order to accompany a partner cannot be accommodated, just as they are not approved for single Volunteers.
Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the medical clearance process.
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