Primary Teacher Trainer Specialist

Before You Apply

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Project Description

Teacher Trainers co-teach with young, new teachers to improve the quality of teaching and learning by promoting student-centered learning, modeling classroom management techniques, and producing materials for teacher counterparts to use with students. This model of co-teaching is an opportunity for the Volunteers and local teachers to learn from one another while ensuring the sustainability of the Volunteers’ work. A typical class size is around 45 students, mainly grades 1 through 3, either in a single school or a school with different levels in one complex. This allows Volunteers the ability to participate in a core activity of this program; working with an exciting early literacy program, complementary to the Government of The Gambia's initiatives, to enhance literacy teaching and to get children reading in earlier grades.

On occasion Volunteers work with ECD (early childhood development) and can run their own classroom/manage their own kindergarten class.

Many teachers in The Gambia do not receive regular training after earning their certification, which provides Volunteers with a unique opportunity to play a vital role in supporting more effective and inclusive teaching.

In their role, Volunteers may:
• Help teachers plan lessons
• Observe teaching and provide feedback
• Co-teach and give demonstration lessons
• Coordinate discussions among teachers about their work
• Promote the making and use of educational aids
• Support the development and use of libraries
• Support and deliver teacher training at local, regional, or national levels

Outside of their primary assignment in schools, Volunteers are encouraged to engage their community in activities to promote English learning, Math and Science activities, as well as organize clubs, sports, and other after-school activities. Volunteers may also engage in malaria work, gardening, and tree nurseries as part of their secondary projects.

During school vacations Volunteers have the chance to work with teachers in training at the government teacher training college. Volunteers work with department staff on instructional planning and preparation to develop the curriculum they will instruct.

The Gambia 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. Volunteers will also report on these efforts and their impact.

Required Skills

Competitive candidates will have one or more of the following criteria:
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science/Bachelors of Math degree in Pre-school, Early Childhood, Middle School, or Elementary Education
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science/Bachelors of Math degree in any discipline with Elementary Education state certification
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science/Bachelors of Math 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

Desired Skills

Experience in any of the following areas is preferred:
• Primary teacher training;
• Teaching and/or tutoring experience in English or a foreign language;
• Interest/experience in working with young children in both formal and informal educational setting in the areas of Science and Math.

Required Language Skills

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

Teaching in schools is predominantly in English, which is the official language of The Gambia. All Volunteers will be assigned to schools with a national language teaching program. All Volunteers learn a local language for communicating with their host communities and for travel, shopping, etc. Most of your students, and even many of the teachers, will speak a local language outside of school, so learning the local language will be very important for your integration and work in the community. The local language you will learn will most likely be the national language taught in your school.

Living Conditions

Most Volunteers are assigned to remote, rural communities, without electricity, where transportation can be infrequent and unreliable. You will live in simple, private quarters on the property of a host family for your entire service. Houses in rural areas are usually made of mud block and are round with thatched roofs. They are generally situated in or near a family compound which contains several other such houses. You will have a private pit latrine, and will likely need to fetch water from the village water source, up to 300 yards away. You may need to walk or bike up to 3 miles to access public transportation and up to 6 miles to a larger town for shopping. All incoming Volunteers are placed in rural environments, so you must be prepared and able to live in these conditions.

There are a few internet cafes in some of the larger towns, but access is slow, patchy and depends on unreliable electricity. There is internet access at the Peace Corps office near the capital, and in the transit houses on either side of the country. Communication between staff and Volunteers, as well as among Volunteers, is mainly by phone and text (you will receive a cell phone on arrival).

Many vegetarians have managed to maintain a healthy diet here. However, as the supply and range of vegetables in the country is limited, this can present challenges and requires some flexibility. It is very difficult for Volunteers to persist with a vegan diet throughout their service.

The Gambia is a small country. Contact between staff and Volunteers is high and this is appreciated by the Volunteer community.

The Gambia has some restrictive laws that target certain sexual acts. Volunteers will need to be mindful of cultural norms and country-specific laws, and use their best judgment to determine how to approach topics related to sexual orientation and gender identity in their communities and the country as a whole. Staff and currently serving Volunteers will address this topic during Pre-Service Training, and identify support mechanisms available for incoming trainees and Volunteers throughout service.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in The Gambia: 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 The Gambia

  • The Gambia 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; seizure disorder; ongoing counseling.
  • The following medication(s) are not permitted for legal or cultural reasons: Adderall, Ritalin and Vyvanse.
  • Volunteers who should avoid the following food(s) may not be able to serve: gluten and peanuts
  • After arrival in The Gambia, 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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