Primary Literacy Teacher
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In the first year, primary literacy teachers are expected to teach students through direct classroom instruction and co-teaching with another Liberian teacher at the same school. This is an opportunity for the Volunteer to increase their confidence, build relationships with other teachers and increase credibility. In the second year, the volunteer is expected to be more involved with teacher training, mentoring, coaching and building critical thinking skills for teachers. This will involve conducting cluster teacher training, watching teachers teach and giving feedback.
A majority of the schools are located in rural communities, small towns or large villages; however, some are located in county capitals that have populations above 30,000. Peace Corps Volunteers will be responsible for teaching different grade levels, in classrooms that range between 30 to 90 students in each class with very limited teaching resources. Ninety-five percent (95%) of Liberian students are considered ‘over-age’ for their respective grade level. Students in Primary school will range in age from 5 to 15.
In addition to co-teaching Primary Literacy, the following are a few examples of other literacy activities Volunteers also do with their schools and communities:
• Co-teaching literacy
• Developing and sustaining a teacher community of practice
• Teacher training
• School community improvement activities by working with their principal, teachers, students, and Parent Teacher Associations
• Literacy activities in school, after-school, and with neighbors
Peace Corps/Liberia promotes gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. 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 their work, Volunteers will also report on these efforts and their impact.
In addition, all Volunteers are expected to monitor and report on their work twice a year during their service for the following reasons: to allow Volunteers to share their activities and contributions with their community; to measure progress towards meeting Peace Corps/Liberia’s project goals; and at the end of their service, for Volunteers to assess their overall contribution to Liberia.
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline and a strong desire to teach English
• Experience in early childhood development, elementary education or youth development. This includes elementary education/literacy, life skills education, parent education/support, social work, library studies and/or creative arts.
• Experience in classroom and behavioral management.
• Experience working with students, teaching a second language, or ESL tutoring.
• Willingness to work with children between the ages to 6-12 years
• Patience, an open mind, and a willingness to try new things
Required Language Skills
Communication: Many sites have limited cell phone coverage in or near a Volunteer’s assigned community. However, there are a few sites without any cell phone coverage. If Volunteers have cell phone coverage in their assigned community, they will also have the possibility of connecting to the Internet through a smart phone. Volunteers without cell coverage tend to have very limited internet access. Cell coverage and Internet accessibility continue to increase.
Transportation: During Peace Corps service, Volunteers travel via public transportation, often in the form of tightly packed taxis. Many roads and vehicles are in extremely poor condition, especially during the rainy season; however, road projects are in the works and some of the roads throughout Liberia are being paved. Volunteers will be trained in transportation safety, and transportation will always be a very large challenge during their service. While traveling between locations, Volunteers should be prepared for old and crowded vehicles and many long hours on the road. In addition, some Volunteers have to travel by motorbike to the nearest taxi. All Volunteers will be trained in motorbike safety.
Health: The health and safety and security of Volunteers are Peace Corps' top priority. Blood-borne diseases are endemic in Liberia. Once in Liberia, Volunteers will be trained on maintaining their health and how to seek treatment if needed.
Laptops: Volunteers are strongly encouraged to bring a laptop which not only in increases options for internet access, but also enables Volunteers to complete required assignments off-line and upload them at a later date. While Volunteers may also complete the assignments through local internet cafes or other access points, having a laptop will facilitate successful participation in training. Please note that tablets and smart phones have not been found to be an effective alternative.
Social Climate: While Liberia is generally tolerant, values and mores concerning sexual orientation and gender identity may be different from those in the U.S. 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. Staff and currently serving Volunteers will address this topic during pre-service training, and identify support mechanisms for incoming trainees.
Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Liberia: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, and safety — including crime statistics [PDF] — in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.
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All couples will live together for the majority of Pre-Service Training. However, there will be between eight to ten days of the training where couples will be in dorms with the rest of their training cohort. Once training has been completed, couples will live together for the duration of their service. Depending on site availability, couples might serve at the same school or different schools within the same community.
Medical Considerations in Liberia
- Liberia 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: Adderall, Vyvanse.
- Volunteers who should avoid the following food(s) may not be able to serve: none identified.
- After arrival in Liberia, 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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