Primary Literacy Promoter

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Project Description

The goal of the Read to Achieve project is for Guyanese students to attain literacy skills that contribute to academic success. Literacy Promoters work at primary schools in villages and towns throughout the country to support the Ministry of Education’s literacy curriculum in Grades 1-4. They are in school at least 35 hours per week where they are supervised by the Head Teacher and work along with an identified teacher counterpart.

Literacy Promoters work directly with students through small group “pull-outs” and one-on-one student tutoring. They conduct literacy diagnostic assessments with students, arrange pull-out schedules and deliver literacy lessons covering the components of the Literacy Wheel, which include alphabet knowledge and sounds, phonological and phonemic awareness, and phonics. They also maintain records of the students’ progress to share and discuss with the Head teacher and staff.

Literacy Promoters also work with teachers to strengthen general teaching skills, as well as specific skills related to teaching literacy, through modeling of teaching techniques, participating in communities of practice and assisting teachers in developing appropriate classroom learning resources. Depending on experience, Primary Literacy Promoters may also have the opportunity to conduct technical trainings (workshops or professional development sessions) with the teachers at their school, as well as teachers from their regional cluster.

Outside of class, the Primary Literacy Promoters’ work-plan involves developing and or maintaining classroom/school libraries and training students and teachers to utilize this as a resource for improving literacy. Finally, they collaborate with their teaching staff and local Parent Teachers Association to increase community awareness of literacy and plan and implement support activities so parents and caregivers can help their children learn to read.

Required Skills

Competitive candidates will have a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline and a strong desire to teach English/literacy to low level learners.

Desired Skills

Preferred candidates for the position will have:

• Previous experience in teaching/tutoring English (ESL or TEFL) and or literacy (reading, writing, comprehension)
• State teacher’s license/certification in Elementary Education
• 1 or more years’ classroom teaching experience at the Early Childhood level with knowledge of Montesorri methodology a plus
• Adult facilitation skills and experience in adult learning method

Required Language Skills

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

English is the official language, spoken by nearly all Guyanese including indigenous people in remote communities. Other languages include Guyanese Creolese (widely spoken), and nine indigenous languages including Macushi, Wapishana, and Patomona. Primary Literacy Promoters receive training in Guyanese Creolese language and culture during pre-service training, as well as a very limited introduction to the language spoken at their site. Emphasis will be placed on self-directed, immersion language learning techniques to enhance the ability to learn a local indigenous language at site, if desired (strongly encouraged).

Living Conditions

Literacy Promoters live and work in villages and towns along the coast, and in rural and remote communities in the hinterlands (interior) of Guyana. Large towns have power lines, communication infrastructure and running water, while many rural villages rely on solar panels, latrines and community wells. Cell phone and internet service is sporadic throughout the country. Literacy Promoters who live in remote locations are issued satellite phones, if needed, for emergency communication, but may only have access to internet or cell phone service when they travel out of their communities once a month to shop and bank.

Transportation and living conditions vary, but Literacy Promoters in all locations should have the ability to:

• Endure long rides on public transportation and over water
• Adjust to high heat and humidity of tropical climate
• Use a latrine
• Wash clothes by hand in a bucket
• Live with limited access to electricity
• Walk or ride a bike long distances (2 to 10 kilometers) over uneven terrain to facilitate community integration and social and cultural understanding.

To assist with effective community integration, Literacy Promoters live with a welcoming family during 10 weeks of pre-service training (early June – early August), and for the first five months at their assigned 2-year site (mid-August – mid-January). The homestay is an integral part of the Peace Corps Guyana program which helps achieve the goal of intercultural exchange. Each Volunteer has a bedroom in a single family home and shares common living areas with family members, including seating areas, kitchen/dining room and bathroom or latrine. The family helps prepare the Volunteer to serve safely and productively in their community by supporting their understanding of cultural norms, introducing them to fellow community members and teaching them about day- to-day life.

After the homestay, Literacy Promoters have the option to pursue other housing that meets Peace Corps Guyana’s criteria, if available. Please note that independent housing may not be available in all communities and that some Volunteers may need to live with host families throughout their service.

Professional dress and behavior is extremely important in schools Guyana. School administration expects all teachers, including Volunteers, to adhere to the Ministry of Education’s Code of Conduct which includes being well-groomed, dressing professionally (slacks, belt and button-down dress shirts for men, dresses and skirts or nice slacks with blouses for women) and respecting the organizational structure. Guyanese teachers are viewed as role models in the community and are cautioned by the Ministry to display publically acceptable behaviors when not in school. Volunteers will also be held to this standard as they live and dwell in the local communities.

As all Literacy Promoters serve in schools, annual leave must be to be taken during official Guyanese school breaks (Christmas, Easter, and summer (July/August) vacations) and Guyanese national holidays.

Literacy Promoters who serve successfully in Guyana are open-minded, flexible, emotionally mature and very resilient. They deal well with ambiguity and isolation and are proactive in an unstructured setting. They are culturally competent and show respect by following cultural norms.

While Volunteers of diverse sexual orientation and gender identity have served successfully in Guyana, it is important to note that Guyana has restrictive laws that target certain sexual acts. Volunteers will need to be mindful of Guyanese law and cultural norms, and use their best judgment to determine how to approach sexual orientation and gender identity in the country and within their host communities. Peace Corps Guyana staff and currently-serving Volunteers will address this topic during Pre-Service Training and identify support mechanisms to help Volunteers who may experience a lack of openness.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Guyana: 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

Guyana can accommodate couples within the same sector and in different sectors. Therefore, your partner must qualify and apply for one of the following:

Primary Literacy Promoter
Adolescent Health Promoter

Peace Corps Guyana will place couples at neighboring sites (not more than 30 minutes apart). Although a couple will share living arrangements, each individual is expected to work at his/her own school and is strongly encouraged to have his/her own Peace Corps experience.

Couples will be placed together with a host family during pre-service training (first 10 weeks) and during the first five months at site. We strongly believe the host family option supports Volunteers’ safety and community integration. The host family situation is typically one bedroom within a family’s home.

We cannot guarantee a particular type of living arrangement, and expect Volunteers to be flexible and adaptable. After the first five months of service, Volunteers may live in independent housing that meets Peace Corps Guyana’s safety and security criteria. Independent housing is however not available in all communities.

Medical Considerations in Guyana

  • Guyana may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: cardiology; gastroenterology; insulin-dependent diabetes; seizures; requiring a psychiatrist for psychotropic medications support; HIV; 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: eggs.  
  • After arrival in Guyana, 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 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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