Secondary Education English Teacher
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Volunteers work side by side with local English teachers to co-plan and co-teach middle and high school English language classes. 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 for years to come. Moreover, as many local teachers have had very limited experience in communicating in English, Volunteers also support local teachers to improve their English language skills through teacher-focused English communication classes and conversation partner study.
Volunteers co-teach English classes with local teachers in middle schools and high schools. A typical classroom size is 40-80 students. Myanmar students are generally quite studious and well-behaved although the large classroom sizes and antiquated examination system can be a challenge for even the most experienced of teachers. Volunteers also have the opportunity to teach English-communication classes to a smaller number of students outside their core-teaching schedule. Moreover, Volunteers are expected to organize extracurricular and recreational activities that create opportunities for students to practice and improve their language skills (e.g. essay competitions, debate, pen-pal exchanges, impromptu speeches, etc.).
Outside of their primary assignment in schools, Volunteers are expected to engage their community in activities that not only help to promote English language education (e.g. English clubs, community English classes) but also to help develop and empower communities. Examples of such activities may include, but are not limited to, renovating a school or community library, building a neighborhood recycling program, or starting a youth soccer club.
Peace Corps Volunteers in Myanmar will have a unique opportunity to be a pioneer in the one of the newest Peace Corps programs. Such opportunities are rare indeed and require the best each of us has to offer.
• Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in any subject (with strong preference given to Education-related degrees)
• Strong motivation to teach English to speakers of other languages
• Mature interpersonal skills and a willingness to respect and adapt to local norms and customs throughout their service
• Independence, self-initiative, flexibility, open-mindedness, and a strong commitment to serve
• In-classroom teaching or tutoring in the subjects of English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL, or TESL for a minimum of one to two years
• State teaching certification or equivalent; preferably in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL, or TESL
• Teacher training, teaching young learners and/or teaching adults
• Planning and organizing activities for youth (e.g. youth camps/clubs, awareness raising activities)
Required Language Skills
Myanmar life moves at its own pace, and the culture has a logic that is sometimes mysterious to outsiders but at the same time refreshing for its natural, intuitive rhythms. Forming friendships with Myanmar people requires patience since many people are shy and will need time to get to know you. Religion and spirituality is an important part of Myanmar culture and life. Approximately 90% of Myanmar people are Theravada Buddhists, and meditation and alms donation are common spiritual practices of laypeople.
Myanmar culture is conservative in nature, with strict social norms related to appearance and dress. These expectations are particularly strong for certain positions in society, including teachers. Adhering to these norms is a way to show respect for the culture and breaking the norms can be seen as offensive. Therefore Volunteers must be prepared to abide by these guidelines to ensure safe and successful service. For example, Volunteers may not have visible tattoos, especially when they are teaching. Men must be clean shaven and may not have visible piercings. Women may not wear tops that are low-cut or have spaghetti straps. When visiting religious sites, shoulders and legs should be fully covered and no shoes may be worn. Volunteers are also expected to wear white shirts and a longyi (teachers’ uniform), which must be cleaned and pressed at all times while they are at school.
Volunteers should expect a high degree of curiosity among local people who will not be used to seeing foreigners living amongst them, but who will be pleased to have a native English speaker working with their children. Volunteers should expect less privacy than what they are accustomed to in the United States. In addition, Volunteers will experience what has been described by past volunteers as “overprotection”, from both the school principal and counterpart teachers. Hosting a foreign teacher is simultaneously a significant honor and a very new experience for your local colleagues. However, as you and your community get used to living and working together, this will lessen over time.
Volunteers will typically be placed in townships and villages across several states and regions in Myanmar that have been selected jointly by Peace Corps and the Ministry of Education. Some Volunteers may live in rural communities without stable electricity and/or regular internet access. Volunteer housing conditions will depend on local availability and will vary from site to site but will typically include school dormitories, apartments, or shared housing with local hosts. All Volunteer sites and housing will meet Peace Corps Myanmar’s health and safety and security requirements.
Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Myanmar: 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 Myanmar
- Myanmar 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.
- 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, peanuts, and shellfish.
- After arrival in Myanmar, Peace Corps provides and applicants are required to have an annual flu shot, 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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