Secondary Education Math Teacher

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact Peace Corps domestically and internationally.

The information provided for each assignment is subject to change, including the tentative departure date.

Project Description

This is an exciting and challenging time in the history of Liberia. The Peace Corps Education Project supports Liberia’s education sector during a time of reconstruction as the country aims to meet the nation’s educational challenges and help ensure every Liberian child has access to obtain a quality education. Peace Corps/Liberia’s Education project places Volunteers as math and science teachers in schools teaching 7th through 9th grade. Volunteers will build their students' comprehension and critical thinking skills through basic math concepts, including:

• Arithmetic
• Pre-algebra
• Geometry
• Algebra

Recently, the Liberian government has adopted a national exam called West Africa Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) which has a science lab component. Volunteers may also train students and teachers in science labs.

A majority of the schools are located in rural communities, small towns or large villages; however, some are located in county capitals that have populations above 30,000. Peace Corps Volunteers will be responsible for teaching different grade levels, in classrooms that typically have between 50-90 students in each class with very limited teaching resources. Ninety-five percent (95%) of Liberian students are considered ‘over-age’ for their respective grade level. Students in junior high will range in age from 13 to mid-20’s.

In addition to teaching junior high school math, the following are few examples of other projects Volunteers also do with their communities:
• Teacher training
• Science lab trainings for students and teachers
• School community improvement activities by working with their principal, teachers, students, and Parent Teacher Associations
• Local library awareness raising activities or creation
• Gender equality activities (i.e. girls’ or boys’ club or camp, training on gender-based violence in the classroom)
• Youth development projects (i.e. after-school programs, boys and girls clubs, sports activities, and/or other math/science-based experiential learning opportunities)
• Malaria training on prevention activities with students, teachers, and/or community members
• Hand washing and safe hygiene practices and awareness raising activities in schools
• Food security projects (i.e. school and community gardening)
• Literacy activities in school, after-school, and with neighbors

Peace Corps/Liberia promotes gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. You will receive training on gender challenges in your country 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 and their impact.

In addition, all Volunteers are expected to monitor and report on their work twice a year during their service for the following reasons: to allow Volunteers to share their activities and contributions with their community; to measure progress towards meeting Peace Corps/Liberia’s project goals; and, at the end of their service, for Volunteers to assess their overall contribution to Liberia.

COVID-19 Volunteer Activities

In the past year, the world has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 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.

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, or Computer Science
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline with a minor or equivalent (15 semester/22 quarter hours) in math

Desired Skills

Additionally, Liberia strongly prefers its Volunteers have one or more of the following qualifications:
• Sound knowledge of basic mathematical concepts
• Ability to provide differentiated instruction in order to reach both advanced and novice learners
• Experience working with youth in unstructured or semi-structured environments or in community and organizational development
• Prior teaching experience including lesson planning, basic classroom management, student evaluation, and public communication
• Demonstrated ability in planning, organizing, counseling or leadership
• Preferred work experience in low or under-resourced classrooms or communities

Required Language Skills

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

There are 15 local languages spoken in Liberia with Liberian English spoken throughout the country. Standard English is the official language of instruction in schools, however, many teachers teach in Liberian English. You will be trained in Liberian English and greetings in one of the fifteen local languages depending on where in the country you are placed.

Living Conditions

Housing: Volunteers are expected to accept a variety of housing possibilities during their two years of service. Most Volunteer homes consist of three to four rooms, including a bedroom, a common area, kitchen and an indoor bathroom that requires bucket flushing. Volunteers should not expect to have electricity or running water in their home, and they will get their water from a nearby hand pump or well.

Communication: Volunteers will have cell phone coverage in or near their assigned community, however some will have limited internet access. For those with internet access, they will connect through a smart phone or if they purchase a portable internet USB. Cell coverage and Internet accessibility continue to increase.

Transportation: During Peace Corps service, Volunteers travel via public transportation, often in the form of tightly packed taxis. Many roads and vehicles are in extremely poor condition, especially during the rainy season; however, road projects are in the works and some of the roads throughout Liberia are being paved. Volunteers will be trained in transportation safety, and transportation will always be a very large challenge during their service. While traveling between locations, Volunteers should be prepared for old and crowded vehicles and many long hours on the road. In addition, some Volunteers have to travel by motorbike to the nearest taxi. All Volunteers will be trained in motorbike safety.

Health: The health and safety and security of Volunteers are Peace Corps' top priority. Blood-borne diseases are endemic in Liberia. Once in Liberia, Volunteers will be trained on maintaining their health and how to seek treatment if needed.

Laptops: 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. While Volunteers may also complete the assignments through local internet cafes or other access points, having a laptop will facilitate successful participation in training. Please note that tablets and smart phones have not been found to be an effective alternative.

Social Climate: While Liberia is generally tolerant, values and mores concerning sexual orientation and gender identity may be different from those in the U.S. Volunteers will need to be mindful of cultural norms, and use their judgment to determine the best way to approach sexual orientation and gender identity in their communities and host countries. Staff and currently serving Volunteers will address this topic during pre-service training, and identify support mechanisms for incoming trainees.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Liberia: 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

Liberia is an excellent place for couples and they are warmly welcomed. Your partner must apply and qualify for one of the following positions in Liberia:

- Primary Literacy Teacher
- Primary Literacy Specialist
- Junior High Science Teacher

All couples will live together for the majority of Pre-Service Training. However, there will be between eight to ten days of the training where couples will be in dorms with the rest of their training cohort. Once training has been completed, couples will live together for the duration of their service. Depending on site availability, couples might serve at the same school or different schools within the same community.

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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