Secondary Education English Teacher
Improvement and achievement in English, as well as promoting English literacy across the curriculum is a priority for the Ministry of Education, Arts, and Culture (MoEAC) in Namibia. Peace Corps Namibia’s Secondary and Upper Primary Education Project (SUPEP) addresses gaps in English, Mathematics, Science and technology content. Peace Corps Namibia was famously invited by the Namibian government to promote English education as the new official, national language at the start of Namibia’s Independence in 1990. Today, the Ministry is currently facing a lack of qualified/skilled teachers as well as a massive teacher shortage and heavy teacher turnover. With many vibrant local languages, Namibia promotes mother-tongue medium of instruction in lower grades. This heightens the need for talented teachers in all subjects to assist in transitioning students to English across the curriculum from grades 4-12 since the language of instruction for all subjects is English.
Volunteers play a key role in building the capacity of Namibian teachers via: lesson planning and classroom management; developing teaching and learning resources; improving the delivery of instruction and teaching techniques; promoting/assisting English literacy across the curriculum; and linking schools with their communities. Overall objective for all teachers is to ensure that learners have the English language abilities, comprehension and critical thinking skills need to be active citizens and desirable employees, as well as empowering teachers to be more effective within their positions and achieve higher passing rates.
You will be assigned to one of the upper primary or secondary schools in Namibia. Schools at this level range in size from about 300 to 1,000 students and offer instruction in grades 4-12. The English curriculum has some similarities to the U.S. school grades 3-12 though most learners will have a first language other than English. Students in Namibia are expected to study lexis and basic grammar, functional processes of writing, and literature in their respective grades following the rules of British English. Peace Corps supports and trains Volunteers to succeed in these endeavors.
As a Volunteer, you will be under the direct supervision of the principal of the school. The weekly load for teachers can vary, but the expectation is to teach 70% of the time. Some English teachers are also asked to assist in teaching IT and basic computer skills, life skills, and occasionally other subjects based upon the school’s discretion and Volunteer’s skill set. The remaining 30% may come from extracurricular activities organized outside of school, such as track and field, drama, or health clubs.
This assignment will require a high level of motivation, initiative, and patience. It will also require a certain level of confidence in your abilities, an enthusiasm for working with students of different age groups (which may vary from 12-20 years old), and adults (co-teachers), as well as a good deal of creativity, self-motivation, self-starting, and flexibility. Education Volunteers will promote the principles of a learner-centered approach, bring focus to English as the main medium of instruction, and focusing on interactive teaching and learning. The Namibian Education system also includes the promotion of social responsibility, life skills, and gender awareness, respect of cultural values, environmental awareness, and national reconciliation.
Peace Corps/Namibia promotes gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. You will receive training on gender challenges in Namibia and you will have the opportunity to implement gender-related activities that are contextually appropriate.
Additionally, all Volunteers in Namibia are both trained and expected to work on HIV/AIDS issues. You may have the opportunity to conduct secondary projects such as co-facilitating health clubs with local counterpart.
During Pre-Service Training, you will start learning and developing the skills and knowledge you need to accomplish these tasks. This is an eleven-week intensive training period where you will live with a local family and be trained on key technical, cross-cultural, language, medical, and safety and security aspects within the context of Namibia’s diverse settings.
All training aims to foster four key professional job functions:
• Demonstrate responsibility for personal health, safety, and security
• Exemplify commitment to service and resilience
• Facilitate participatory development
• Integrate into communities
You are expected to consistently develop these areas throughout your service, and your performance will be assessed relative to them.
The Ministry of Education requires that Peace Corps Namibia Trainees/Volunteers conclude their service prior to age 60.
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.
Qualified candidates will have the following criteria:
• Bachelor of Education in any discipline
• Expressed strong desire to teach English
Experience in at least one of the following areas is preferred:
• Bachelor of English
• Classroom teaching experience and/or teacher training experience
• At least 30 hours of English tutoring experience with primary, middle, or high school students or adults;
• Experience in gender equitable practices in an educational setting
• TEFL/TESOL Certificate Holder;
• Ability to research, design, and deliver instructional materials
Required Language Skills
There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position.
Peace Corps/Namibia has dedicated Language and Cross Cultural Facilitators to teach local languages during Pre-Service Training (PST). You are expected to learn the local language spoken at your site, henceforth referred to as the primary local language, and achieve an intermediate proficiency level in it by the conclusion of Pre-Service Training. Proficiency in a local language is critical to your ability to carry out your duties as a Volunteer.
In most communities, at least three other local languages are spoken in addition to the primary local language. Learning basic greetings in the additional local language(s) spoken in your community is essential for successful integration. Having an interest in a deeper study of local language, which most often will occur at site in the form of self-study and continued work with a tutor, is a way for you to work more directly with community members, particularly women who may not have finished school and therefore do not speak English.
Peace Corps/Namibia identifies and trains a language tutor at each Volunteer’s site. In addition, Peace Corps/Namibia employs a full-time Language Coordinator who monitors Volunteers’ progress in local languages throughout service. Peace Corps/Namibia expects that Volunteers will take advantage of all language acquisition opportunities in order to achieve a local language level one step above the level attained at the end of PST, by the end of the first year of service.
Your living situation will depend on where you are assigned to work. While Education Volunteers are commonly placed in urban or peri-urban centers, some Education Volunteers serve in very remote areas. This means that you may live in your own apartment with modern amenities, in a single room on the school premises, or in a modest house with a shared kitchen and common areas. Most houses have indoor plumbing and electricity. Education Volunteers who serve in remote communities live in traditional housing with no indoor plumbing or electricity. Flexibility and adaptability are desired characteristics for any potential Volunteer, as is the ability to navigate personal health risks associated with shared housing/common areas in a COVID environment.
Namibians eat large quantities of meat, often accompanied by a carbohydrate. Vegetarians may have a difficult time explaining and maintaining their diet.
You may do a great deal of walking, often several kilometers a day. Biking is also an option, under certain conditions. For longer trips, minibuses and shared taxis will be available from locations near your site. Volunteers will need to be willing to follow Peace Corps guidelines for the use of safe public transportation in a time of COVID.
Namibia 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. Staff and currently serving Volunteers will address this topic during Pre-Service Training, and identify support mechanisms for incoming Trainees. For more information, please see the State Department’s Travel Information page on Namibia. LGBTQ+ Volunteers will be supported within the Peace Corps Volunteer and staff community.
Volunteers should research Namibia’s history before arriving in order to be better prepared to live and work in a ‘post-conflict’ area and to face the issues that come with a post-apartheid and colonial past. Namibia is an exceedingly diverse country with a complex history that continues to affect the country politically, economically, and socially. Living and working in Namibia means negotiating extreme economic disparity on a regular basis as well as navigating one’s own individual identities – especially around race and ethnicity – and how they may be perceived differently in Namibia. Peace Corps/Namibia will work with Trainees and Volunteers to help them understand and successfully navigate this situation.
Volunteers who are of an American racial, ethnic, or national minority or whose religious or spiritual beliefs differ from the majority of their country of service may experience a high degree of curiosity or unwanted attention from Namibians. Please be aware that American concepts of politeness and appropriate behavior are not universal. Ethnically, nationally, or racially diverse Americans may be asked where they are “actually from” or if they are “really” American. Many Volunteers have been able to turn these encounters into learning experiences, sharing American values and deepening local community members’ understanding of Americans.
As a Volunteer in Namibia, you will live among people who may have cultural norms different from the ones with which you are familiar. Your effectiveness as a Volunteer is partly dependent on your ability to navigate these norms, so flexibility and a willingness to learn and understand, are key. Examples of norms you may encounter include a high importance placed on personal relationships, a casual attitude towards time and deadlines, sexism, etc. Your training will help prepare you for these challenges.
Serving in Namibia
Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Namibia: 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.
Peace Corps Namibia welcomes couples. For programmatic reasons, your partner must apply and qualify for one of the following:
• Secondary Education - Math Teaching
• Secondary Education - Science Teaching
During Pre-Service Training and other training events, couples may be asked to share rooms with other Trainees and Volunteers, depending on availability of rooms. Though conditions of housing and sites will vary, couples will live together during service.
Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the medical clearance process.
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