Primary Education English Teacher-Trainer

Before You Apply

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Project Description

The Ministry of Education has identified Literacy as a national priority and Volunteers in this project focus on building the capacity of students, teachers, and community members in this area. Volunteers provide formal and informal training and support to elementary school teachers who may have little or no formal training, and may also provide classroom instruction. Co-teaching is highly preferred. Volunteers are primarily assigned to one school, but with permission of the community leadership may work with several schools. Volunteers model participatory methodologies, conduct workshops, and provide ongoing teacher training to local teachers. Recent Volunteers have demonstrated the value of assessment tools (to establish baselines) and pulling out small groups of underachieving students to improve their reading skills.

Peace Corps/Vanuatu has increasingly focused on responding to requests for assistance from the most remote corners of Vanuatu, and Volunteer sites range from remote and potentially isolated rural areas to more populated provincial centers. Applicants to Peace Corps/Vanuatu should therefore be open to serving in remote sites with limited resources. For more information, please see the Living Conditions Comments section below. All Volunteers will be paired with host families to help with cultural and community integration. While some Volunteers may live with host families, others may live within close proximity to a host family. Regardless of their housing site, all Volunteers are expected to reach beyond the school grounds to engage community leaders and parents to improve progress toward goals established for literacy. They may also work directly with school principals and other Ministry of Education counterparts. Volunteers are encouraged to engage in secondary projects in areas including: climate change, primary healthcare, gender equality, youth development, HIV/AIDS, and volunteerism.

Required Skills

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

Desired Skills

Peace Corps/Vanuatu seeks individuals with the following additional skills:
• 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 certificate
• 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.
• 3 months, 10 hours/month, or 30 hours of English, foreign language, or literacy tutoring experience with primary, middle, or high school students or adults
• Experience in the following areas: teaching Literacy; teaching large multi-level classes; classroom management
• Ability to live and work in an isolated, mostly undeveloped, rural tropical island environment with limited resources
• Tolerance for uncertainty and patience for working within a challenged educational system with low levels of literacy, as well as teachers with limited and/or no training
• Willingness to work with multiple schools
• An openness to diverse learning/working styles and the ability to respectfully encourage participation in underrepresented groups i.e. women, youth, and the disabled
• Willingness to work in the following areas, coaching, as camp counselors, general workshop and training development
• Strong interpersonal skills and the willingness/ability to build good working relationships with local people, including identify non-traditional leaders or individuals who can assist in supporting sustainable work activities
• Ability to adapt to unforeseeable changes such as personnel or policy changes
• A willingness to develop and implement multiple alternative strategies to achieve goals
• A wiliness to learn one or more languages

Required Language Skills

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

Additional Language Information

There are 110 vernacular languages in Vanuatu, and Bislama is the language that is used by host country nationals to bridge the gap. The 10-week Pre-Service Training will include Bislama language training. Bislama is similar to the "tokpisin" found in Papua New Guinea and the "pijin" found in the Solomon Islands. The majority of Volunteers acquire high levels of language proficiency during their service. Some Volunteers may find that other vernacular languages in addition to Bislama are spoken at their work site and strive to learn the local language to improve community integration. A basic knowledge of French is desirable as there are many Francophone communities in Vanuatu.

Living Conditions

Volunteer sites range from isolated rural areas to more populated provincial centers. Applicants to Peace Corps/Vanuatu should be open to serving in remote sites with limited resources. Volunteers should be prepared to live and work in an isolated and often undeveloped rural tropical island environment. This means:

Isolation – Volunteers serve on 14-18 different islands. Volunteers are clustered but often separated by several hours of walking or an arduous truck ride. Air travel by small plane is required to reach the majority of Volunteer sites. Travel between islands is expensive thus Volunteers seldom come to the capital city, Port Vila.

Underdeveloped Infrastructure – Vanuatu’s transportation infrastructure is mostly undeveloped; many islands only have one road and most roads are not paved. Travel by small boat or truck is required for almost all sites. Walking on dirt roads or single track is also a common mode of Volunteer transportation. Volunteers should be able to swim and feel comfortable traveling in small boats for short (5-10 minutes) or long distances (2-3 hours).

Rural – Electricity may be provided by a school generator while often solar panels are the only option. Stores in villages have very limited goods and no services (banks, mail, or internet). Stores in provincial centers have limited goods but will have an ATM/bank branch, post office, and slow internet. Transportation from site to a Provincial center may be unreliable.

Tropical – The weather is hot and humid. Cyclones and earthquakes are expected. Severe weather may limit or interrupt transportation (rough seas, heavy rain, or flooding). Seasonal tropical fruit is abundant; only a handful of Volunteers have access to refrigeration. Most island families grow food in their gardens.

Housing- All Health Volunteers will live in or near the compound of a host family and should be prepared to interact with this family in a way that demonstrates respect, equity and facilitates community integration. This will be discussed in more detail during your Pre-Service Training. Most Volunteers don't have running water in their house, electricity or internet connectivity.

Dress- Dressing appropriately will help you gain respect in your host community, facilitate integration, and increase your credibility and effectiveness. For teaching in a classroom or working in an office setting, men should wear a nice collared shirt and trousers. Women usually wear nice blouses and dresses or skirts. All skirts and dresses should be below the knee. Inappropriate dress may attract unwanted attention.

Religion- Longstanding traditions and customs are still strong outside of the major population centers. Christianity has been thoroughly integrated into Vanuatu culture since Christian missionaries first arrived in the middle of the nineteenth century. Village church attendance will likely be expected within communities, especially in rural communities. Volunteers will not be pressured to join in religious traditions, though are encouraged to seek to understand and respect the importance religion hold in the lives of many Ni-Vanuatus.

Demographic groups/Aspects of Diversity - Through inclusive recruitment and retention of staff and Volunteers, the Peace Corps seeks to reflect the rich diversity of the United States and bring diverse perspectives and solutions to development issues. Peace Corps/Vanuatu provides support to a diverse group of Volunteers LGBTQ individuals. LGBTQ Volunteers have served successfully in Vanuatu; although it is not illegal in Vanuatu, it is often not accepted in Vanuatu Society.

Volunteers who are of an American racial, ethnic, or national minority or whose religious or spiritual beliefs differ from the majority of their country of service may find they experience a high degree of curiosity or unwanted attention from host country nationals. Please be aware that American concepts of politeness and appropriate behavior are not universal.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Vanuatu: 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 Vanuatu

  • Vanuatu 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: none identified.  
  • Volunteers who should avoid the following food(s) may not be able to serve: shellfish.
  • After arrival in Vanuatu, Peace Corps provides and applicants are required to have an annual flu shot,  to take daily or weekly medication to prevent malaria, and 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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