Secondary Education Co-Teacher
As one of the first education projects established in the Peace Corps, this project follows a strong tradition of mission-driven service journey and addresses the changing needs of the Philippines and its education system. The Philippine Department of Education (DepEd) has overseen significant changes in the education system when it transitioned in 2012 from a 10-year basic education program to a 13-year basic education program, adding kindergarten and grades 11 and 12. The physical closure of schools for two years during the Covid-19 pandemic led DepEd to utilize distance education for all students. While schools are expected to conduct full face-to-face classes in the next school year, DepEd offers flexible learning options to students who cannot attend regular classes.
Education volunteers will engage with teachers, education officials, local government units, parents, and other education stakeholders by 1) working with teachers, 2) supporting students, and 3) engaging the community.
Working with Teachers
Secondary Education Co-Teachers engage with Filipino teachers in the classroom to co-teach English and other English-based subjects at a local secondary school (middle school and/or high school) for grade levels 7-12. They also find their niche in supporting professional teachers in the areas of reading, student-centered approaches, hands-on activities, and development of learning resources that support the curriculum. In the last few years, there has been an increased focus in the development of learning modules, educational videos and the utilization of technology to teach students, thereby opening exciting opportunities for collaboration. Moreover, Volunteers have the opportunity to participate in teacher training programs through school or district- level capacity building activities. In these teacher training activities, Volunteers have the opportunity to work in an environment of mutual respect and learning where their creativity, collaborative problem solving skills, innovative ideas, and people and networking skills are highly valued.
Typical classes have 40 to 70 high school students who come from various socio-economic backgrounds, family environments, and access to learning resources outside the classroom. Due to the different levels of exposure to English, reading and educational resources, many students struggle with basic reading and comprehension. As a result, they fall behind in academic subjects that use English as the language of instruction. In addition to co-teaching English and English-based subjects, education Volunteers in the Philippines collaborate with teachers in developing and implementing inclusive remedial reading programs for individuals or small groups of students to raise their English reading level. Volunteers also carry out activities to develop English language skills outside the regular class time such as English clubs, language camps, journalism, and writing competitions.
Engaging the community
Schools in the Philippines are encouraged and expected to work together with the community and the local government units. This collaborative environment provides many great opportunities for Volunteers to engage and support members of the community through different locally prioritized projects. Education Volunteers implement a variety of projects based on specific school needs such library development, school plays, environmental camps and initiatives, leadership training, and general assembly events. Volunteers also have the opportunity to contribute to the Department of Education’s effort to ensure access to education for out-of-school youth and adult learners who, for economic and other reasons, cannot attend regular school. The Alternative Learning System centers are usually located in the central elementary schools providing Volunteers opportunities to support the learning of out-of-school youth and adults.
COVID-19 Volunteer Activities
As a Volunteer, you will be trained in how to best protect yourself from COVID-19 exposure and understand the impact of and steps to reduce stigma related to COVID-19. You may also have the opportunity to engage with your community on implementing or enhancing COVID-19 mitigation activities, such as COVID-19 prevention and risk reduction strategies including social distancing, hand washing, mask wearing, addressing myths and misconceptions related to these practices, and vaccine hesitancy. Activities will be tailored to address the COVID-19 circumstances in the communities where you will serve.
• Competitive candidates will have a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline and a strong desire to teach English.
Due to Philippine government’s visa requirements and the government’s current strong stance and action on combatting drug production, distribution/trafficking, and use, applicants will not be considered for Peace Corps positions in the Philippines at this time if they have ever been convicted of any major crime, drug and/or alcohol related, even if it was expunged or sealed, and even if they otherwise would meet the standards for legal clearance to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer more generally.
Highly desired skills for this position include:
• At least 30 hours of English, foreign language or literacy tutoring experience with middle or high school students and/or adults.
• TEFL certification and/or experience in reading literacy.
• A background in project development or project management using grassroots/community-based activities focused on community and/or youth development.
• Master of Arts (MA) in English, Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT), Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), English as a Foreign Language (EFL), Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL), Linguistics; or MA/MAT in any foreign language.
• Classroom teaching experience.
Required Language Skills
There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position.
Filipino (based on Tagalog) is the national language of the Philippines. Volunteers must demonstrate an intermediate level in Tagalog by week eight of Pre-Service Training. Starting the last two weeks of Pre-Service Training, most Volunteers will start to learn a secondary local language associated with their assigned site. A Volunteer’s dedication to learning language will set them up for success during their service. Having this skill will help Volunteers better integrate into their community. Additional language resources to improve Volunteers’ local language skills will be offered at Peace Corps training events and through independent tutoring during service.
Housing conditions for Volunteers vary widely depending upon their community and can range from heavily urban to very rural. In underdeveloped areas, housing typically is a hollow concrete block or a mix of concrete, wood and bamboo structure. In more developed areas, housing can be either the same or built with full concrete and modern design. Most houses have running water and electricity.
Host Family Situation
Typically, Volunteers live with host families for the first four months in their permanent communities. After this period, Volunteers may choose to continue living with a host family or move into their own rented accommodations. Volunteers are strongly encouraged to continue living with host families to strengthen their language fluency and integration into the community.
Volunteers will encounter very different social and cultural norms that require patience, and flexibility. For example, the American sense of privacy in terms of information sharing or physical space does not exist in many Philippine communities. Questions that Americans may deem private such as questions about one’s religion and marital status are considered conversation starters in the local communities. Some American women may experience challenges in adjusting to the limitations on women that are imposed by the culture. For example, views and attitudes about what is proper for girls and women can be very traditional such as being home by sunset and having a host family member or relative accompany them when going out with male friends or community members.
Volunteers of an American racial, ethnic, or national minority or whose religious or spiritual beliefs differ from the majority of the local community members may experience a high degree of curiosity or unwanted attention. For example, an American who does not have a religious affiliation might receive an unusual amount of curious questions about why the Volunteer does not have a religious affiliation and invitations to attend religious activities for exposure. These experiences can be uncomfortable, but Volunteers are encouraged to use these moments as opportunities to deepen local community members’ understanding of U.S. diversity through conversations and authentic engagement in building relationship and intercultural integration. Staff will address identity-related concerns during Pre-Service Training and consultations.
There may be limitations for taking public transportation, due the COVID-19 pandemic. Volunteers will need to demonstrate added flexibility and understanding, as evolving COVID-19 mitigation policies may limit available modes of transportation. Volunteers should feel comfortable walking up to 30 minutes to reach their work site, and may be required to bike up to 6 miles a day in the heat. Typically, the most common means of transportation are jeepneys, buses and minibuses.
The climate of the Philippines is tropical and characterized by relatively high temperatures and high humidity. Generally, the country experiences two major seasons: a rainy season from June through November and a dry season from December to May.
Philippine culture is traditional with strict norms related to appearance. Therefore, Volunteers must be prepared to abide by these guidelines to ensure a successful service. Volunteers with visible body piercings or tattoos will need strategies to conceal them, especially when they are teaching. Volunteers are looked upon as role models in the community and are therefore expected to be neat, clean and well-groomed even in informal occasions. Men should be clean-shaven and may not have visible piercing especially if they are working in schools.
Serving in Philippines
Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Philippines: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, health, and safety -- including health and crime statistics -- in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.
The Philippines welcomes and can accommodate cross-sector couples. Your partner must qualify and apply for one of the following positions:
Primary Education Co-Teacher
Volunteers serving as a couple will be living together during Pre-Service Training. As a couple, they will go to the same community for Peace Corps service after training. Peace Corps Philippines has communities available for couples who are married or in a domestic partnership. In the Philippines, there is an expectation that couples are married and there will be many questions about the marriage. (When did you get married? How many kids do you have? When will you have children? etc.) The staff will guide the couples on how to approach living together in a community and how to respond to questions.
The Peace Corps works to foster safe and productive assignments for same-sex couples, and same-sex couples are not placed in countries where homosexual acts are criminalized. Because of this, same-sex couple placements are more limited than heterosexual couple placements. During the application process Recruiters and Placement Officers work closely with same-sex couple applicants to understand current placement opportunities. For more information please visit: https://www.peacecorps.gov/faqs/lgbtq/.
Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the medical clearance process.
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