Secondary Education English Teacher/Teacher Trainer

Before You Apply

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Project Description

This is an exciting time to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Myanmar. The country is going through a historic transition with major societal reforms, particularly in the field of education. The Ministry of Education places a strong emphasis on improving English language teaching and learning. This is seen not only as a means for young people to access educational and professional opportunities but also as a way to access and connect with the outside world. We therefore are privileged to partner with the Ministry of Education to strengthen the capacity of English language teachers and provide student-centered classroom instruction. Our Volunteers take on the respected role of teacher in public middle and high schools throughout Myanmar with a focus on the following three areas of work:

Supporting teachers
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.

Teacher Trainer Volunteers will have similar responsibilities as their fellow classroom-teaching Volunteers but their service will have a stronger focus on teacher-training activities such as co-facilitating teacher workshops or providing mentorship or coaching to teachers and fellow Volunteers.

Supporting students
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.).

Engaging community
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 newest Peace Corps program. Such opportunities are rare indeed and require the best each of us has to offer.

Required Skills

Competitive candidates must demonstrate the following:
• 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
• Demonstrated experience in education with at least 6 months of classroom teaching experience

Candidates must also meet one or more of the following criteria:
• Master of Arts in Teaching 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 with graduate or undergraduate concentration in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL, TESL, or foreign language
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in Education with concentration in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL, TESL, or foreign language
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline with state teaching certification 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 level in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL and TESL, or foreign language

Desired Skills

Strong preference will be given to candidates with experience in the follow areas:
• In-classroom teaching or tutoring in the subjects of English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL, or TESL for a minimum of one to two years
• 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

There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position. Please take a moment to explore the Language Comments section below to find out more on how local language(s) will be utilized during service.

Additional Language Information

A desire to study and learn Burmese is essential, as Volunteers will work in areas where there is little English language spoken. Trainees will undergo 10 weeks of intensive language learning with four hours of daily classroom time, 5.5 days a week. Language classes will provide training in speaking and listening skills. Trainees are expected to spend a couple of hours a night studying Burmese.

Living Conditions

Myanmar has a tropical monsoon climate. The rainy season lasts from May to September with high humidity and regular thunderstorms. During the dry season, which begins in October, there is plenty of sunshine and little rainfall. October to February is considered the cooler part of the dry season with mild and pleasant temperatures. The weather then becomes significantly hotter from March to May until the rainy season begins, cooling the weather once again.

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 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 also 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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