Secondary Education Math Teacher

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Project Description

Karibu Tanzania! Present since 1961, Tanzania is one of Peace Corps’ oldest programs. Recently, the Tanzanian government has placed a strong emphasis on increasing access to secondary education nationwide. However, despite progress in reducing barriers to secondary education, the nation has a limited number of qualified teachers, particularly in the fields of Math and Science. Stakeholders at local and national levels have recognized the need for students to develop skills in these fields to enable problem solving both in and out of the classroom. Peace Corps Tanzania recently redesigned this education project to emphasize hands-on learning, extracurricular activities, and community involvement in student learning to boost student achievement and encourage them to become self-reliant problem solvers.

Peace Corps Secondary Education Math Teachers work in rural Tanzanian villages and teach beginning Algebra through advanced Calculus to students aged 12-20. Volunteers prepare lesson plans using a variety of teaching methods and syllabus developed by the Ministry of Education. To connect classroom concepts to real-world situations, Volunteers also organize experiential learning activities like field trips and guest speakers. Volunteers might be asked to teach additional subjects as needed, subject to their familiarity and background. As part of their work to build capacity, Volunteers are encouraged to develop professional relationships with Tanzanian teachers and organize communities of practice, or spaces to share best teaching practices. In addition to teaching students and working with teachers, Volunteers engage community members to increase their involvement in student learning. This may be done by organizing events like math competitions or science fairs and training community members on gender-equitable techniques that enable access to learning.

Volunteers can expect to encounter large class sizes (50+) and limited resources. The main teaching materials will probably be a blackboard and chalk, though some schools may be better equipped. In Tanzania, schools use a centralized curriculum provided by the Ministry of Education. Most of the teaching resources are available locally. Peace Corps provides Volunteers basic resources to use in their teaching, as well.

On average, Volunteers teach 11-16 hours per week. Along with classroom teaching, many are involved with school clubs, sports, youth conferences, and other extracurricular activities. Volunteers will integrate Peace Corps Tanzania's cross-sectoral program priorities into their teaching and community development: HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Gender, Food Security, and Technology. Volunteers also have the opportunity to serve on a variety of Peace Corps committees that support the country program.

Peace Corps Tanzania promotes gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. You will receive training on gender challenges and you will have the opportunity to implement gender-related activities that are contextually appropriate. During your service, you will look for ways to work with community members to promote gender-equitable norms and increase girls’ sense of agency. As part of your work, you will also report on these efforts.

Corporal punishment is legal and a common way teachers discipline their students. While the government has regulations regarding permissible forms of corporal punishment, these rules are not always followed or enforced at the local level. Volunteers will most likely encounter corporal punishment, which may or may not adhere to the legal restrictions. Many Volunteers find this aspect of life very challenging, particularly when it is necessary to develop good working relationships with colleagues. Peace Corps Tanzania has implemented a Student Friendly Schools program to address these issues, open a dialogue between Volunteers and their colleagues, and to explore culturally appropriate and acceptable alternatives to corporal punishment.

Required Skills

Competitive candidates will have one or more of the following criteria:

• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education with a concentration in Math

• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline with secondary certification in Math

• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in Math, Engineering, Computer Science, Economics, Accounting, Finances, or Statistics

• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline with a minor or equivalent (15 semester/22 quarter hours) in Math, Engineering, Computer Science, Economics, Accounting, Finances, or Statistics

Desired Skills

•A university degree in any math subject strongly preferred.
•Teaching experience and a strong desire to teach math in Tanzania.

Required Language Skills

There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position.

Trainees will receive 10 weeks of training in the predominant language, Swahili, and must attain an Intermediate-Mid oral proficiency level before swearing-in as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Additional language training will be offered through independent tutoring and training throughout service.

Living Conditions

Tanzania is located in East Africa in a tropical region. Most areas experience hot weather, except for the highland areas which are relatively cold. Volunteers are placed in communities in the far north, far south, southwest, and central zones, as well as the Zanzibar islands. Most Volunteers live in underserved mid-sized communities or rural settings. Volunteers generally live within a few hours of larger district towns, but travel to Dar es Salaam can take anywhere from 8 hours to two days depending on where they are located in the country. Volunteers generally use public buses or bicycles as their main mode of transportation.

The village government/school provides a Volunteer’s housing, which is generally a village house or a private room with a host family. Housing varies based on community resources and ranges from mud houses with metal roofs to concrete houses with glass windows and is generally located at the school, but can be elsewhere in the community. Housing is often made of either cement block or fire brick with tin or tile roofs. Volunteers have pit latrines, use outdoor bath facilities, and fetch water from a village water source. There may be no electricity in your village/house. Kerosene or solar lamps will be the main source of lighting and charcoal stoves or kerosene stoves will be used for cooking and heating during cold spells. Peace Corps provides a settling-in allowance that can be used to purchase those furnishings necessary to make your house comfortable on a modest scale.

In Tanzania, respect comes with age and experience. Younger Volunteers experience initial difficulties gaining respect from their counterparts. However, a Volunteer’s professional appearance, work habits, and positive attitude towards colleagues and community members help gain respect within the workplace.

Personal appearance is of great importance to Tanzanians. A female Volunteer working as a teacher is expected to wear modest dresses and long skirts (far below the knees, with shoulders covered) and nice flats or sandals at work or in their communities. Male Volunteers should wear slacks, collared shirts, and loafers or other closed toed shoes when presenting themselves professionally.

Volunteers encounter very different social and cultural norms that require flexibility and understanding. For example, the American sense of privacy is a curiosity here. Volunteers are frequently asked about their religion and marital status. Volunteers are viewed as role models within their communities, their lives are very public and they often feel they are "on stage".

Tanzania is south of the equator, the seasons will be opposite of the USA. During the cold season (June-August), temperatures range from 40-50 degrees in the highlands and 60-75 degrees Fahrenheit in the lowlands and coastal areas. The hottest months of the year are November-January when temperatures in the highlands range from 70-80 degrees and those in the lowlands range from 90-105 degrees, with considerable humidity. The rainy season starts in November or December and continues through April. The rest of the year is dry, but many highland areas have showers and mist year-round.

Peace Corps Tanzania provides support to a diverse group of Volunteers of various faiths, identities, and sexual orientations. It is important to note that Tanzania has restrictive laws that target certain sexual acts, which is a challenge for Volunteers. Volunteers will need to be mindful of cultural norms and country-specific laws. Staff and currently serving Volunteers will address how to navigate this aspect of identity during Pre-Service Training, and what support mechanisms are available. Please refer to the U.S. Department of State's travel page for more information:

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Tanzania.html

Prospective Volunteers are encouraged to discuss any questions or concerns during the interview.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Tanzania: 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 Tanzania can accommodate couples teaching the same or different subjects. Therefore, your partner must apply and qualify for:

• Secondary Education Math Teacher; or
• Secondary Education Science Teacher

Couples live and serve together throughout their service. This includes living with a homestay family during the 10 week Pre-Service Training, as well as in the village for the 2 years of service. Housing requirements stipulated by PC for couples are the same as those for single Volunteers because it would be unusual to find houses that are much larger than the standard small house.

Medical Considerations in Tanzania

  • Tanzania may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: asthma, including mild or childhood; cardiology; dermatology; insulin-dependent diabetes; gastroenterology; requiring a psychiatrist for psychotropic medications support; seizure disorder; ongoing counseling.
  • 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 and peanut.
  • After arrival in Tanzania, Peace Corps provides and applicants are required to have an annual flu shot, to take daily or weekly medication to prevent malaria, 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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