Secondary Education Math Teacher

Before You Apply

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Project Description

Are you a passionate educator, a cultural explorer, and a learner willing to face challenges? If the answer is yes, then Peace Corps seeks applicants like you who have the passion, flexibility, and resiliency to support classroom initiatives in the amazing West African country of Guinea. Teaching in Guinea is a never-ending adventure that begins with learning French, forming lasting bonds with your fellow Volunteers, and developing incredible friendships with people throughout your community. Volunteers are placed in the hills, in the desert, near the beach, or in the forest, where you’ll learn as much about yourself as you teach your students. A typical day begins with the first call to prayer at dawn; you will then begin the school day by greeting your smiling students with “Bonjour.” After classes, you’ll come home to enjoy a typical Guinean meal of rice and sauce. Your afternoons are free to develop as you see fit – afternoons can be spent teaching revision lessons to your students, learning the local language with your best Guinean friend, hiking in the mountains and soaking in waterfalls, developing a community garden in your village, educating young women on anti-malarial activities, shopping for mangoes in the market, or sipping endless amounts of ataya (tea).

Peace Corps has a long and rich history in Guinea. Since 1963, Peace Corps Volunteers have been working in the education sector, helping students, teachers, and community members become empowered and engaged citizens. Volunteers will be assigned to teach high-school level Math in a small town or rural community. Volunteers may also be asked to teach other subjects, such as English or biology, depending on the needs of the school.

The Education program’s goals focus on the following three areas:

Goal 1: Improving student achievement.
Volunteers focus on improving student achievement in critical thinking and annual exams through quality classroom teaching. Volunteers also participate in extracurricular activities such as science fairs, afterschool clubs, and other student-focused events.

Goal 2: Improving local capacity.
Volunteers help build the capacity of Guinean teachers by modeling effective teaching techniques, developing and using appropriate resources, and practicing hands-on learning. Volunteers form communities of practice with local teachers to discuss and exchange ideas on the current state of education.

Goal 3. Promoting gender-equitable classroom practices.
Volunteers will promote gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. All Volunteers in this program will receive in-depth training on incorporating methods of gender analysis into community assessment and development efforts. You will be encouraged to find culturally appropriate ways to incorporate gender awareness and the promotion of youth, especially girls, into your work and projects as appropriate and report on these efforts and their impact.

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 12-19 years old), and adults (fellow teachers), as well as a good deal of creativity and flexibility.

Volunteers will have the opportunity to pursue secondary projects, based on the needs and resources available in your local community, and in accordance with Peace Corps Guinea’s development frameworks. Cross-sector collaboration with health and agroforestry volunteers is encouraged and there may be opportunities to collaborate with other national and international organizations.

Required Skills

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

• BA/BS in Math, Engineering, or Computer Science
• BA/BS in any discipline with a minor or equivalent (15 semester/22 quarter hours) in math
• BA/BS in Secondary Education with a concentration in math
• BA/BS in any discipline with secondary certification in math
• Candidates with a BA/BS in the following disciplines: Economics, Finance, Statistics, or Business Administration are encouraged to apply
• Candidates with a BA/BS degree in any discipline and a strong desire to teach math are also encouraged to apply.

Desired Skills

Experience in the following areas preferred:

• Working in classrooms, particularly at the secondary level, or 30+ hours of math tutoring experience with primary, middle, or high school students or adults;
• Teaching students for whom English is a second language;
• Ability to research, design, and deliver instructional materials;
• Firm grasp of junior-high or high school level mathematics;
• French language proficiency or strong desire to learn French; or
• Working with youth and adult students in any leadership capacity.

Required Language Skills

(PCV) Romance Language

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 coursework in a Romance Language within the past 8 years
B. Completed a minimum of 2 semesters/3 quarters of college-level coursework in a Romance Language
C. Native/Fluent Romance Language speaker

French is necessary to interact effectively in Guinean schools, so this means that all Education Volunteers will be required to attain an intermediate level of French by the end of training. It is also usual that Volunteers learn a second language (in addition to French) that is widely used in their local community – Malinke, Susu, and Pular are the most common of these.

Candidates who do not meet the language requirement but have a strong technical background in math or math education are encouraged to apply.

If invited, you may be asked to self-study French before departing the U.S. If possible, it is highly recommended that invitees take an intensive French course.

Living Conditions

Volunteers are assigned to serve in rural villages; these villages can range in size from several hundred to several thousand inhabitants. The size and style of housing varies depending on the region and resources available. Peace Corps works with communities to prepare housing that is safe and secure, near a source of water, and within walking distance to a market and shops. Houses are typically modest, consisting of two to four room structures or round huts with thatched roofs. Many are situated within a family compound and most houses do not have electricity or running water. Some houses have inside toilet and shower areas but most are equipped with a private pit latrine and enclosed bathing area.

Volunteers are strongly encouraged to bring a laptop which not only increases options for internet access, but also enables Volunteers to complete required assignments off-line and upload them at a later date. Please note that tablets and smart phones are great for personal use but not an effective alternative for a laptop.

Cell phones work in almost all areas of the country and internet access, while limited, is becoming more and more common outside of urban areas.

Personal appearance is important to people in Guinea. During pre-service training, the dress code is business casual – polo shirts, khakis/slacks, blouses that cover shoulders, and skirts that fall below the knee. 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.

All terrain bicycles or funds to purchase one are provided for transport to work sites and for recreation. Almost all schools/work places are within walking distance, so it is NOT required to be able to ride a bike. For long distances, Volunteers rely on public transportation in small passenger vehicles.

Rice or a local grain “fonio” is eaten for most main meals, along with spinach, peanut and/or tomato based sauce with vegetables, meat or fish. Fruits such as mangoes, pineapples, oranges, and limes are available seasonally.

You will develop social and working relationships with a variety of people, become familiar with local expectations and customs, develop an appreciation of local foods, struggle with local languages, and learn to live and work with necessities rather than comforts.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Guinea: 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

Your partner must qualify and apply for one of the following positions:
• Secondary Education English Teacher
• Secondary Education Science Teacher

Couples will live with the same host family during training. At site, couples will share a home that meets the same standards for all Volunteers. Couples are usually placed at the same school within the same community. There will be time during service when couples will spend days and nights apart, such as when one is attending a meeting, routine medical appointments, etc.

Medical Considerations

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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