Secondary Education English Teacher

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Project Description

English language skills provide opportunities for youth to broaden and advance their education and career opportunities, access information and technology and support the transition to a market economy. Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) Volunteers in the Kyrgyz Republic are leading this effort through their implementation of three goals:

• Building capacity of English teachers through team-teaching and teacher trainings
• Improving students’ achievement in English through formal classroom teaching and informal English clubs
• Developing host communities by creating student friendly schools and conducting youth development activities

Volunteers in Peace Corps Kyrgyz Republic work in the regions where the need for qualified English teachers is greatest and the long-term presence of native English speakers is rare. Depending on the size of the community, you may teach at the primary as well as secondary school level.

Volunteers aim to enhance their students’ and schools’ knowledge, skills and abilities in critical thinking and problem solving, project design and management, organizational development, information gathering, and greater understanding across borders. The TEFL project affords communities the opportunity to work with a native English speaker who is eager to pursue the three goals of Peace Corps and to inspire the communities’ youth to dream, plan and prepare for their futures.

TEFL Volunteers should be open to new challenges and possess a strong sense of creativity. Volunteers will work with both adults and children in environments with limited access to resources and teaching supplies as well as limited English language skills. The rural villages where Volunteers live and work often have limited transportation options and sporadic communication means. In order to meet the needs of the schools, annual leave is limited to school breaks, which include 1-2 weeks in both spring and fall, 1 month in winter and 3 months in summer.

Peace Corps Kyrgyz Republic provides strong technical training for our TEFL Volunteers that build teaching skills and provide the necessary tools to become successful teachers. Volunteers will transfer language and skills to Kyrgyz teachers through team-teaching, lesson planning, providing feedback, and focusing on student-centered techniques.

Required Skills

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

Candidates should have experience, either formal or informal, in teaching or tutoring with primary, middle, or high school students or adults.

Desired Skills

Peace Corps Kyrgyz Republic prefers Volunteers with some of the following experience:

• At least 30 hours of English, foreign language, or literacy tutoring experience with primary school, middle or high school students, or adults
• Youth mentoring and engagement
• Development and organization of camps/extracurricular programs
• Flexibility and ability to adapt to new situations with a positive attitude.

Required Language Skills

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

Additional Language Information

Prior knowledge of Turkish or Slavic languages is helpful in learning Russian and Kyrgyz. Knowledge of the Cyrillic alphabet is necessary for either language.

During Pre-Service Training (PST) you will be studying Kyrgyz or Russian language intensively (4 hours a day, 5-6 days per week) and will be placed in a small language class of up to 5/6 Trainees living in the same village for 3 months. The Peace Corps staff will assign you to a language at the beginning of PST taking your skills and knowledge in your primary assignment area into consideration.

Most Trainees will be trained in Kyrgyz, while a few may study Russian or Uzbek during training. Kyrgyz is the predominately spoken language in the countryside, while Russian is used mainly in the towns.

Living Conditions

A Central Asian country of incredible natural beauty and proud nomadic traditions, Kyrgyz Republic was part of the Silk Road for the initial trading between Asia and Europe. Most of the territory of present-day Kyrgyzstan was formally annexed to the Russian Empire in 1876, became a Soviet republic in 1936 and achieved independence in 1991 when the USSR dissolved. Kyrgyz Republic is slightly smaller than South Dakota with a population of 6 million people. It has borders with Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and China. It has been compared to Switzerland for the beauty of its mountains. The peaks of the Tien Shan mountain range and associated valleys and basins encompass the entire country. The climate is continental, with extreme cold in the mountains in winter, subtropical in the Fergana Valley area in the south of the country and temperate in the northern foothill zone.

Families are generally large and relationships complex. Several generations often live in one household, which may include cousins and aunts and uncles, as well as immediate family members. Children are seen as a blessing and 3-4 children are considered a small-to-medium sized family. Most rural families have some area to raise crops and farm animals, predominately chickens and sheep. The family structure is traditional, with household chores done by women and outside chores done by men. While Islam is the predominant religion, the practice has been influenced by the long association of Russia and older traditions. Alcohol is generally available; women may or may not wear scarves to cover their hair; slaughter of a sheep is done for celebrations.

Kyrgyz traditional food relies strongly on meat, noodles, potatoes and bread. Vegetables and fruits are available seasonally, with families doing preservation for the winter months. Bread holds significant traditional importance in the Kyrgyz Republic. While vegetarians and those wishing to avoid gluten have successfully served in Kyrgyz Republic, many find it challenging to be strict in their diets and to find sufficient produce in rural areas in winter months. Families pride themselves on their hospitality. Guesting (visiting friends and relatives) is a traditional pastime. In the summer, families will ‘go to jailo’ –taking the family and animals to the mountain meadows-- or to Issyk-Kyl, the second-largest alpine lake in the world, for vacation.

All Volunteers are required to live with a host family or on the grounds of a family home in a separate building (compound housing) for 6 months. Afterwards, in some regional centers there may be the option of apartment housing. However, in rural areas, where most Volunteers are placed, there are no options outside of the host family/compound stays for the full 2 years. PCVs will have their own room, but share the kitchen and bathing facilities. Toilets are normally outhouses. Host family stays further the cross cultural goals of the Peace Corps, give Volunteers an established social position within their communities, and provide them with a secure and supportive living environment, including continued language learning.

There is electricity and water in all regions of the Kyrgyz Republic. However, in some areas the electricity and water supplies are limited to certain hours of the day or water is available from a local well or stream. Houses are heated either by electricity or coal. There is rarely hot running water and no opportunity to shower every day. Traditionally, people will bathe weekly or bi-weekly in a bathhouse—similar to a sauna-- that can be located either on the property or elsewhere in the village. Volunteers will have telephone access at home or in the community. Mobile access is generally good with internet available in many district and all regional centers.

Public transportation is widely available in the regional centers and consists of mini-vans or shared taxis. Transportation in rural areas may not run regularly.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Kyrgyz Republic: 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 Kyrgyz Republic

  • Kyrgystan may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: insulin-dependent diabetes; gastroenterology; mammography; requiring a psychiatrist for psychotropic medications support; some types of gynecologic support; 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: none identified.
  • After arrival in Kyrgyzstan, Peace Corps provides and applicants are required to have an annual flu shot and 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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