Secondary Education English Teacher Trainer

Before You Apply

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Project Description

Practical English for Success Volunteers assist Colombian teachers develop and apply established English language teaching principles at the secondary classroom level.

Volunteers engage in the creation of secondary education resources, curriculum design, and also facilitate staff professional development in these areas. In schools, Volunteers co-plan English lessons and occasionally co-teach these lessons with their Colombian teacher partners to high school secondary students.

It should be noted that Colombian Secondary School teachers have at least a Bachelor of Arts degree in Secondary Education and some English language skills.

Volunteers should not expect to be assigned ‘their own’ class to directly teach Colombian Secondary level students, but rather to collaboratively assist their counterparts in the preparation of such classes. Volunteers may model classroom management and general English teaching strategies with these classes as part of their counterparts’ professional development process.

Volunteers may be engaged in teaching English in group classes directly to the teachers of the school, and even those from other neighboring schools. Most Volunteers are assigned to Secondary public schools, and while Primary schools are not central to our objectives, there could be some opportunities.

Additionally, Volunteers commit to improve the English language proficiency of the students and community members through extracurricular projects, with the aim of expanding their academic and employment opportunities. Volunteers are expected to increase the motivation to learn English and the participation levels of their students

All Volunteers are also expected to work on Gender Equality, Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) and Youth Development initiatives at the community level. For example, many schools have recently received technology such as interactive TVs, ipads, and computer equipment. Volunteers will be asked to help train youth in the use of this equipment and use it in a way to make English learning more dynamic.

The semi-rural communities where our partner schools are located have diverse needs. This will provide the opportunity to draw upon your personal talents, skills and interests to serve the needs of your community. Teaching English can be incorporated into many activities some of which may include:

• Promoting and participating in sports or arts activities such as theater, drama and summer camps
• Facilitating health or environmental education projects such as nutrition education. HIV/AIDS prevention and water system initiatives
• Training community members or working with local NGO’s on computer and science classes or service learning projects.

Required Skills

Qualified candidates will have a strong desire to teach English, and the following criteria:

BA/BS in any discipline with 3 months at 10 hours/month or 30 hours of TESOL/TEFL tutoring experience with primary school, middle or high school students or adults

Desired Skills

Our most competitive candidates will demonstrate the following skills:
• Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in English, Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL), Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), English as a Second Language (ESL), Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL), foreign language, or Applied Linguistics
• Master of Education (M. Ed.) with graduate or undergraduate concentration in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL, TESL, or foreign language
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education with concentration in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL, TESL or foreign language
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline with Secondary Elementary Education state certification in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL, TESL or foreign language
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESLo and TESL or foreign language with 6 months classroom teaching experience at the secondary level in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL TESL or foreign language
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline with classroom teaching experience at the Secondary Education level in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL, TESL or foreign language
• 1 + years of Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)/Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) in primary school classrooms

Additionally Peace Corps Colombia looks for applicants who possess:
• Conversational Spanish Language skills
• High level of self-initiative and self-direction
• Leadership skills
• Strong public speaking and presentation skills.
• Strong interpersonal skills
• High level of adaptability and flexibility
• Willingness to live in rural and semi-rural communities
• Willingness to facilitate cultural integration.

Required Language Skills

Candidates must meet one or more of the language requirements below in order to be considered for this position.

A. Completed 4 years of high school Spanish coursework within the past 8 years
B. Completed minimum 2 semesters of Spanish college‐level coursework within the past 6 years
C. Native/fluent speaker of Spanish

Candidates who do not meet the language proficiency levels above can take the language placement exams to demonstrate their level of proficiency. Competitive applicants typically attain a score of 50 on the Spanish College Level Examination Program CLEP exam or a score of Novice‐High on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL OPI).

Volunteers in Colombia are expected to use Spanish for their work and day-to-day activities. Among the other technical and cultural requirements, Trainees must demonstrate an intermediate level of written and oral proficiency in Spanish after 10 weeks of pre-service training to swear-in as a Volunteer.

Living Conditions

The majority of sites are in semi-urban communities, or small towns. These communities are located within a 1 to 4 hour bus ride from major urban cities and are located in the Caribbean region of Colombia.

Most sites experience extreme heat and humidity for the majority of the year.

All Volunteers in Colombia are required to live with a Colombian host family for the entire duration of pre-service training and the two years of service. That is the full 27 month commitment of Peace Corps service.

Personal appearance is important to people in Colombia. During pre-service training the dress code is business casual. Following pre-service training you will need to dress appropriately for work situations in your community. Dressing appropriately will help you gain respect in your host community, facilitate integration, and increase your credibility and effectiveness. It is advised to take cues from your Colombian colleagues and dress to their standards of professionalism.

In your community you are expected to dress like the teachers with whom you live and work. Colombian men tend to wear long pants or slacks with button-down shirts. Beards should also be neat and trimmed with hair keep short, above shoulder length. Women usually wear dress pants and blouses or dresses or skirts. All pants or skirts should be below the knee.Sneakers, flip-flops or hiking-style sandals are not appropriate. Men should have no piercings and women should only have their ears pierced.

Through inclusive recruitment and retention of staff and Volunteers, the Peace Corps seeks to reflect the rich diversity of the US and bring diverse perspectives and solutions to development issues. Additionally, ensuring diversity among staff and volunteers enriches interpersonal relations and communication for the staff work environment, the volunteer experience, and the communities in which Volunteers serve. Our definition of diversity can include but is not limited to: race, ethnicity, gender identity, age, religion, education, ability and more.

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 find they experience a higher degree of curiosity or unwanted attention from host country nationals. Please be aware that American concepts of politeness and appropriate behavior are not universal. Ethically, 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, share American values and deepen local community members’ understanding of the United States.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Colombia: 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

Colombia is happy to accommodate couples. We will identify communities with sufficient work opportunities for both volunteers. Your partner must qualify and apply for the following position:
• Secondary Education English Teacher Trainer

Couples do not live together during the 10 weeks of pre-service training, but will live together once assigned a community for their 24 months of service. Depending on site placement, couples most likely will live in an apartment or more private host family room; post tries to accommodate couple's preferences for a more private living situation, but does not guarantee it. Couples may also work in the same school.

Medical Considerations in Colombia

  • Colombia may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: insulin-dependent diabetes; 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: gluten. 
  • After arrival in Colombia, Peace Corps provides and applicants are required to have an annual flu shot, to take daily or weekly medication to prevent malaria, and 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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