Secondary Education English Teacher

Before You Apply

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Project Description

Peace Corps in Sierra Leone has a rich history. The program began in January 1962 as one of the first countries entered after Peace Corps' launch in March 1961. The Peace Corps signed an agreement with the new government of Sierra Leone just nine months after the country became independent from the United Kingdom.

The education project in Sierra Leone aims to prepare students, teachers and community youth to become empowered and engaged citizens. The goals of the project are:
1. Increase student success by improving student proficiency, academic success, and participation in math, science, English and life skills classes or extracurricular activities.
2. Promote student-centered teaching and administration, where teachers and administrators will develop positive learning environments by improving teaching and administration techniques respectful of gender equitable practices.
3. Prepare youth, especially girls, with skills for their adult life as healthy, productive, and active community members.

Volunteers will model high-quality instruction to build communication and critical thinking skills. They will reinforce learner-centered approaches and safe school practices so that teachers, administrators, and community supporters are investing in positive learning environments. Volunteers will empower youth with skills to establish goals, make positive decisions, and be active leaders.

Volunteers will provide formal instruction in schools with grades similar to US grades 7-10. Volunteers will also spend their time as a resource teacher to address basic reading and numeracy, assist with library or laboratory practice, support other teachers in large or struggling classrooms, and work on life skills practices with students.

Peace Corps Sierra Leone 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.

Required Skills

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

Desired Skills

Additionally, Sierra Leone strongly prefers its Volunteers have one or more of the following qualifications:
• Teaching experience
• Degree or minor in education
• Ability to re-imagine local resources to provide high-quality instruction, tutoring, and extracurricular activities
• Experience working in after-school programs, camps, or mentoring programs
• Experience coaching peers and/or coworkers for improved performance

Required Language Skills

There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position. Please take a moment to explore the Language Comments section below to find out more on how local language(s) will be utilized during service.

Additional Language Information

English is the language of instruction in schools in Sierra Leone, and therefore Volunteers will focus on teaching in Krio, a dialect similar to English, to aid comprehension in classrooms, as well as ensure safe and productive work for the Volunteer throughout the community and travel. Volunteers will also be supported in learning one of nine local languages to improve collaboration and integration.

Living Conditions

• Housing: During service, Volunteers live in, at least, a two-room private concrete house with an individual outdoor bath and latrine, but with no running water or electricity. Some communities may have access to generators that can provide electricity/battery recharges but this is not standard.
• Communication: Almost all calls are made by cell phone. Peace Corps will provide Volunteers with a phone during the first few days of pre-service training for use throughout service. Volunteers are on a “Family Plan” which allows them to call staff and other Volunteers at no charge. Other calls are based on the amount of minutes used/texts sent and are deducted immediately. Incoming calls and texts, even from the US, are free.
Peace Corps receives mail from the main post office and periodically sends it to Volunteers. It can take up to two months for a letter/package to arrive at a Volunteer’s home.
Most Volunteers will not have email access in their communities. Please be aware and inform friends and family that communication options are much more limited than in the States.
• Transportation: Peace Corps provides a bike to assist daily routines, such as biking to nearby markets or visiting neighbors and friends around one’s village.
• Food: In Sierra Leone, rice is the staple. Other foods include plantains, fufu, and okra. If meat or fish are not available, peanuts are used as a source of protein. Most cooked dishes will have meat in them; therefore, if a Volunteer is a vegetarian with the ability to remove the meat and still eat the rest of the dish, then they will have more dietary choices. Strict vegetarians and vegans will be challenged, especially while living with the host family during pre-service training.
Sierra Leone is graced with wonderful, though seasonal, fruits such as pineapples, bananas, papaya, coconuts & mangoes. During the off-season, specific fruits and vegetables may be unavailable and also unevenly distributed across the country. Volunteers will do their shopping at the local market, but some items might have to be purchased at a larger town nearby.
• Health: The health, safety and security of Volunteers are Peace Corps' top priority. Peace Corps has been actively monitoring cases of the Ebola virus, and has determined Volunteers can safely serve in Sierra Leone at this time. Once in Sierra Leone, Volunteers will be trained on awareness and prevention activities such as handwashing projects and hygienic practices in a post-Ebola period. Additional precautions will be taken in housing, transportation, and site placement in the communities.
• Social Climate: While Sierra Leone 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 Sierra Leone: 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 Sierra Leone

  • Sierra Leone may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: cardiology; dermatology; insulin-dependent diabetes; gastroenterology; requiring a psychiatrist for psychotropic medications support; ophthalmology; mild asthma; seizure; 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: peanuts.
  • After arrival in Sierra Leone, 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 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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