Secondary Education English Teacher

The Peace Corps continues to monitor and assess the COVID-19 pandemic domestically and internationally. The locations and timing of returning Volunteers to service will be determined on a country-by-country basis. The positions and projected departure dates listed below are subject to change.

Project Description

Although English is officially spoken in Sierra Leone, Krio and other languages are more widely spoken in the home. Peace Corps’ English Education Project aims to strengthen secondary-level students’ English skills to better prepare them for future success. The goal is to aid students in improving oral and written communicative skills in English, needed for them to access academic and professional opportunities.

The teaching approach in Sierra Leone is mostly lecture based, call and response, and rote memorization. Peace Corps will train you to work with teachers to shift their teaching techniques towards a student-centered model by engaging students through small group activities that help foster the development of study and critical thinking skills.

Due to the pandemic, Volunteers may work closely with teachers and students in informal settings where social distancing can be met, to build and practice teaching techniques and facilitate student-centered approaches. Second-year Volunteers are expected to be more involved with teacher training, mentoring, coaching and building critical thinking skills for teachers and students.

In schools with grades similar to US grades 7-10, Volunteers will work to:
• Increase the capacity of teachers to use general and English teaching skills
• Increase the capacity of teachers to use gender-equitable practices in the classroom
• Increase the English proficiency of English teachers
• Increase achievement of students in English

Volunteers will teach and support English classes improving English communication and composition skills, teaching grammar usage and literature, increasing vocabulary, integrating literacy in content, preparing students for national tests, and enhancing positive reading culture, critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Outside of the classroom, Volunteers are encouraged to lead afterschool programs that help students continue to improve their English, as well as other activities, such as:
• Gardening and nutrition
• Youth empowerment camps
• Malaria prevention and health education

Peace Corps promotes gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. Volunteers will receive training on gender context and issues in Sierra Leone, and will have the opportunity to develop and implement gender-related activities that are contextually appropriate. During their service, Volunteers are encouraged to find opportunities 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.

You will also be required to participate in the Peace Corps monitoring and evaluation (M&E) process. All Volunteers receive training on the Peace Corps M&E tracking and reporting system. Each Volunteer regularly reports M&E information, and this information is summarized to describe overall progress of the project. Our M&E system helps Peace Corps measure progress, improve its programming, and report its accomplishments. The opportunity to learn and practice M&E skills in a professional setting is one of many professional development benefits of Peace Corps service.

Peace Corps is committed to ensuring the safety and security of all Volunteers. In response to the ongoing pandemic, this has included revisions to key processes, policies, and activities to align with required and recommended COVID-19 mitigation measures, including requirements focused on Volunteers’ engagement in classrooms and schools. All Volunteers must adhere to Peace Corps’ health and safety requirements, including COVID-19-specific recommendations and policies.

Illustrative COVID-specific activities may include:
• Conduct one-on-one engagement with teachers, and students on COVID-19 mitigation measures in settings where appropriate preventive measures are in place
• Provide culturally appropriate information in a manner that uses different communication strategies to reach individuals with low health literacy

COVID-19 Volunteer Activities

In the past year, the world has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 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.

Required Skills

Qualified 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:
• Paid or unpaid teaching experience
• Major or Minor degree in education or other relevant field
• Demonstrated ability to re-imagine local resources and/or work within resource limitations to provide high-quality instruction, tutoring, and extracurricular activities
• Paid or unpaid experience working with school-age children in an educational setting, i.e., 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.

Sierra Leone is an English speaking country. However, Volunteers will learn Krio, a widely-spoken dialect with some similarities to English, to ensure safe and productive work throughout the community and travel. Volunteers will also learn traditional local languages spoken in their communities, where applicable, to improve collaboration, work with community members and integration in their community.

Living Conditions

HOUSING: Volunteer housing typically consisting of two rooms and a parlor, with an individual outdoor or indoor bathroom. Houses are located within a neighborhood, and at most a 15-minute walk to a potable water source. Many houses may not have electricity or running water. Some communities may have access to generators that can provide electricity/battery recharges, but this is not standard.

COMMUNICATION: Peace Corps provides Volunteers with a phone soon after arrival in country, which they retain for use throughout their service. Please be aware that communication options are very limited in Sierra Leone, as Internet access is not widely available. Texting is the most common way to communicate, but cell phone networks and signals in Sierra Leone are often weak and spotty in many areas. Every Volunteer’s site will have network coverage within their community or within walking distance.

Peace Corps receives mail for Volunteers from the main post office, and periodically delivers it to Volunteers based on an established schedule. Packages may not arrive intact, and Peace Corps is unable to assist with customs clearance if this is required. Most Volunteers will not have mail 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 will assist with providing bicycles for Volunteers who want one for daily routines. Public transportation to major centers is available from every Volunteer site, however, access to and frequency of transportation varies from daily to weekly. Per current Peace Corps transportation policy, modified during the COVID-19 pandemic and subject to change at any time, Volunteers are prohibited from riding as a passenger on the back of a motorcycle taxi (okada) or from using local public transport (poda poda).

FOOD: Prices for foods and other basic items may vary by location and time of year, and can be relatively expensive due to seasonality. Rice is the staple food. Other food items include: eggs and fish, which are the most affordable sources of protein, while meats such as beef, goat, or chicken are more expensive. Plantains, cassava, yam, potato, beans, as well as a variety of vegetables like onions, potato and cassava leaves, peppers, eggplant, okra, cabbage, tomato, cucumber and carrots are also typically available. Peanuts and sesame seed cakes are popular protein rich snacks. Fruits such as pineapples, bananas, papaya, coconuts, avocado, orange, watermelon and mangoes are seasonal. Based on available foods, vegetarians can find ways to balance a diet. However, strict vegetarians and vegans will be challenged, especially while living with a host family during pre-service training.

HEALTH: The health, safety and security of Volunteers are Peace Corps' top priority. During pre-service training, Volunteers are trained on awareness and prevention activities such as handwashing, food safety, and other hygienic practices in the Sierra Leone context. We also provide extensive training and information on personal safety and security best practices and available resources throughout the Volunteer’s service. Peace Corps Sierra Leone’s team includes two dedicated Medical Officers and a Safety and Security Manager, and other designated staff at Post and at Peace Corps’ headquarters, who are available at all times to support and respond to Volunteer health, safety and security needs.

SOCIAL CLIMATE: Sierra Leone 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 host countries. Staff and currently serving Volunteers will address this topic during pre-service training, and identify some potential support mechanisms for incoming trainees.

Serving in Sierra Leone

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.

Couples Information

Peace Corps Sierra Leone values the contribution that couples make to the overall program. Your partner must apply and qualify for one of the following positions in Sierra Leone:

- Community Health Promoter
- Secondary Education Math Teacher
- Secondary Education Science Teacher

Couples will be placed with the same host family for pre-service training and in the same home during their service. However, during pre-service training, couples working in different sectors will attend separate technical training sessions, potentially in different locations.

Medical Considerations

Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the medical clearance process.

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