Primary Education English Teacher

Before You Apply

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Project Description

Education in Lesotho remains a vital component for the country’s development. For this reason the Ministry of Education and Training (MOET) aims to raise education standards at all levels; specifically MOET seeks to improve access, quality and relevance of education to all learners. The Education Policy in Lesotho states that primary education is free and compulsory. MOET has requested the support of Peace Corps Volunteers to help respond to the challenge of shortages in qualified teachers, particularly in the core area of English. The Lesotho Education Project seeks to improve the quality of teaching and learning in Lesotho's education system. The goals of the Education project include:

1. Students will improve achievement in English (literacy and language proficiency) while developing confidence and motivation in this discipline.

2. Teachers will engage in professional development to improve their teaching.

3. Youth will adopt healthy sexual behaviors and practices, reduce risky sexual behaviors, and lead a healthy lifestyle, which will decrease the spread of HIV and improve personal health.

Primary Education English Teachers are assigned to a primary school where they will provide classroom instruction in English together with the co-teachers. You will assist learners in improving literacy skills and competence in English resulting in better scores in national examinations. You will also be asked to teach life skills education in your assigned schools. The life skills classes focus on healthy living habits which includes: positive identity and self- esteem, decision making, critical thinking, positive communication, emotional health, and sexual and reproductive health.

Volunteers will also be expected to engage in community development activities. These may or may not be within the school community and they are primarily driven by the expressed needs of the communities themselves. Some common community development opportunities for Volunteers include community libraries, environmental management, and income generating activities.

Although your work day will vary from Volunteer to Volunteer, a typical work day for a Primary Education English Teacher in Lesotho will begin at 8:00am; you will teach between 3-5 classes per day (each class is approximately 40 minutes, with 30-50 pupils). After school, Volunteers will usually meet with their students for their secondary projects. Teachers in Lesotho will typically teach 10-15 classes per week, and often Volunteers will work on the weekends to ensure that their community development goals are met.

Lesotho promotes gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. Lesotho also experiences high drop-out rates, particularly among the male population. This is mainly because in the rural areas some boys miss school for their primary role is to look after the animals. 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 your work, you will also report on these efforts and their impacts.

Required Skills

Qualified candidates will have a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline and a strong desire to teach English

Desired Skills

Peace Corps Lesotho seeks individuals with the following additional skills:

• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in Pre-school, 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
• English, foreign language or literacy tutoring experience with elementary school students and a strong desire to teach English
• Public speaking and presentation skills
• Interest in and ability to model, coach and mentor fellow teachers
• Ability to develop educational materials and resources
• Classroom management skills

Required Language Skills

There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position.

There is a strong emphasis and high priority on learning and speaking the local language (Sesotho). Volunteers will be more successful in community integration the more frequently they use local language skills.

Trainees must demonstrate at least an Intermediate-Mid level oral proficiency in Sesotho language after 11 weeks of language training.

Living Conditions

Volunteer sites vary from rural areas to remote areas to small towns. Volunteers live and work in either district capitals referred to as camp towns or rural villages. Camp towns house government offices and serve as the main business hub for the district. During the 11 weeks of Pre-Service Training, Volunteers stay with host families.

Volunteers often walk from approximately 2-5 kilometers before reaching their work site or where they can access public transportation. Volunteers use public transport when shopping in camp towns to purchase food supplies and when traveling to activities in different parts of the district. Through the monthly living allowance, Volunteers are able to cover their transport costs via buses and taxis.

The majority of Volunteers live in a family compound; others live in teacher housing on or near the school campus. The houses may be one- or two- roomed, thatched or corrugated iron (tin) roofed buildings made of stone, brick, or cement blocks. The Volunteer should expect to use an outdoor pit latrine and fetch water from a stand pipe in their home compound or from a village pump, and use candles, lanterns and solar lights for light. Volunteer houses with electricity and running water are extremely rare.

Cell phone coverage varies in quality throughout the country. Some Volunteer sites have excellent coverage and Volunteers are able to phone, text, and email easily. Others have spottier coverage and Volunteers are required to walk up to half a mile to make or receive calls. Volunteers are required to purchase a cell phone by the end of Pre-Service Training. Funds for this purpose are included in a settling-in allowance.

Most Volunteers use the main Peace Corps post office box in Maseru (Lesotho’s capital city) to receive mail during the first few months. It can take approximately two to six weeks to receive a letter posted in the United States. Once at their sites, Volunteers will establish other ways to receive mail.

Most entertainment and recreation will be that which you create yourself…hanging out with friends, playing sports, exercising, hiking, etc. Lesotho does not have a bustling nightlife or many organized recreational activities. Most Volunteers shop in their village or closest camp town, which has larger shops that carry basic supplies. Some camp towns have supermarkets that offer a variety of produce, meats, and other goods.

You will soon become familiar with traditional Basotho food that consists of a stiff maize meal (corn meal) porridge called “papa”, well-cooked greens (spinach, Swiss chard, or cabbage) called “moroho”, and a meat dish (mutton, beef, or chicken) called “nama”. Fruits and vegetables are available in many parts of the country but can be expensive and are limited dependent upon the season. Patience, flexibility, and tolerance on your part will be very important.

Lesotho has distinct seasons, with hot summers and cold winters. It is below freezing in winter and often snows heavily in the mountains, and therefore it is essential to bring warm clothing (which can be layered).

The prevalence of HIV among adults ages 15 to 59 years in Lesotho is 25.6%: 30.4% among females and 20.8% among males. The prevalence of HIV among children ages 0 to 14 years in Lesotho is 2.1%: 2.6% among females and 1.5% among males. Many of the Volunteers’ fellow teachers, neighbors, and students could be affected by HIV. Some are HIV-positive, while others may be orphaned and/or caring for family members living with HIV. To help manage a social and work environment where support is needed by those affected by HIV, Peace Corps trains Volunteers on healthy and appropriate coping mechanisms and expects Volunteers to be positive role models for those with whom they work and live.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Lesotho: 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 Lesotho welcomes couples. Your partner must qualify and apply for the Secondary Education Math Teacher position in Lesotho. Throughout Pre-Service Training the couple will share housing. They will often however be separated during some training sessions. The couple will enjoy the privilege of being addressed as 'ntate' and 'm'e’ loosely translated 'father' and 'mother' a sign of respect by both young and old. The couple should be prepared to share one room throughout training and in some instances even at sites. This could be a challenge for those who would prefer more space.

Medical Considerations in Lesotho

  • Lesotho may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: asthma, including mild or childhood; cardiology; dermatology; insulin-dependent diabetes; gastroenterology; mammography; ophthalmology; requiring a psychiatrist for psychotropic medications support; some types of gynecologic support; seizure disorder; urology; ongoing counseling.
  • The following medication(s) are not permitted for legal or cultural reasons: Ritalin and Vyvanse. 
  • Volunteers who should avoid the following food(s) may not be able to serve: none identified. 
  • After arrival in Lesotho, Peace Corps provides and applicants are required to have an annual flu shot and 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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