Secondary Education Math/Science Teacher

The Peace Corps continues to monitor and assess the COVID-19 pandemic domestically and internationally. The locations and timing of returning Volunteers to service will be determined on a country-by-country basis. The positions and projected departure dates listed below are subject to change.

Project Description

Ghana is located in West Africa, and is known for having a stable democracy and forward-looking approach to development. Ghana is a diverse country with different tribes and over 70 languages throughout the sixteen regions, co-existing harmoniously. Welcoming visitors is a point of cultural identity; Hosting visitors is the ultimate expression of Ghanaian culture. Acknowledging the presence of another human being by greeting them, honors their existence. In the local communities, visitors will be welcomed into families and quickly be made to feel at home. Ghana is the Peace Corps’ oldest post, hosting nearly 5,000 volunteers since the Agency’s first cohort departed in 1961.

Junior High School Math/Science Teachers teach basic concepts, including remedial math, geometry, algebra, statistics, probability, and calculus. Volunteers may also teach a course entitled ‘integrated science’ which is a basic science course that introduces the subjects of chemistry, physics, and biology to students. Volunteers are likely to also teach Information Communication Technology (ICT), or basic computer skills. Volunteers also integrate health education and environmental education in their classrooms. They all also work in after-school programs, youth clubs, and library development. Junior High School Math/Science Teachers will teach at the junior high school level (equivalent to grades 7-9 in the USA).

The broad goals of the Education project in Ghana are two-fold:
• Increasing Student Capacity: Ghanaian students in Junior High School and Schools for the Deaf will demonstrate improved capacity in Math, Science, or Art, respectively, through demonstrating increased content mastery and/or critical thinking.
• Building School Capacity: Ghanaian students will demonstrate improved leadership qualities due to their schools’ increased capacity to provide a quality educational environment, through expanded use of capital and material educational resources, improved student confidence, motivation and/or leadership through extracurricular activities, engagement in communities of practice for professional development and broadened community support for schools and learning.

The purpose of the Peace Corps Ghana Education project is to assist the national effort to improve education in mathematics and science. Peace Corps Ghana focuses on a holistic STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) education for Ghanaian. The approach provides a base for junior high school pupils to progress in their academic careers and contribute meaningfully to the future of their country. Schools in rural areas in Ghana often have a shortage of skilled math teachers, which Peace Corps education Volunteers help fill. In addition, because English (the language of instruction) proficiency is low students often lag behind their expected level of literacy and have difficulty learning grade-level appropriate content. For this reason, Volunteers will focus on junior high schools where they can provide essential literacy support in STEAM classes at a point in students’ academic careers where there is a higher potential for bridging the literacy gap.

Peace Corps/Ghana promotes gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. You will receive training on gender challenges in Ghana 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. Volunteers receive training on how to tell success stories and report numeric/statistical data to Peace Corps.

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

Competitive candidates will have one or more of the following:
• Familiarity with fractions, decimals, integers, indices, trigonometry, linear algebra, equations, calculus, probability, and statistics.
• Backgrounds enabling them to teach more than one subject including Math, Chemistry, Physics, and Biology;
• Experience teaching/tutoring general science subjects
• Experience in lesson planning
• Experience in project planning

Required Language Skills

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

Ghana is a country with a plethora of local languages, although English is considered one of the national languages. As such, Peace Corps Ghana will teach everyone a local language that will be most useful at their permanent site. Nonetheless, more than a third of Volunteers end up acquiring a second local language when living at their site. Acquiring a local language will endear the Volunteer to community members as well as other host country nationals. While English may be sufficient in professional settings, many community members may be more comfortable in their local language. Developing a deep understanding and proficiency in local language will make it easier for a volunteer to navigate and work in the local culture and community.

At the Junior High School level, courses are taught in the English language, however, prior to Grade 4 (in primary or elementary school), instruction is in local languages. The language of instruction for junior high school math classes is English but student proficiency in English will vary.

Living Conditions

Volunteers are placed in generally rural communities and are expected to live in the same socio-economic conditions as the people with whom they serve. Volunteers’ sites vary widely due to a number of factors including geography, amenities available at each site (electricity, water), distances to travel, proximity of other Volunteers and general remoteness of sites. Some Volunteers will live in self-contained concrete houses while others will have one or two rooms inside a family compound or nurse’s quarters. Flexibility and a positive attitude will help greatly in adapting to your new living situation.

Peace Corps/Ghana requires the community to contribute housing that meets minimum standards of at least one room with a porch/sitting area, adequate ventilation, a non-dirt floor, secure doors/windows, and access to year-round water supply in the community (borehole or well). Some Volunteers will have private latrines and bathing facilities (often a bucket bath); others will share latrines and bathing facilities with no more than 6 persons in the household. Volunteers will be issued a cook stove to be used in a designated cooking area and all housing will maintain the standards of household safety. The Peace Corps and host community will ensure that you have safe cooking environment and equipment.

Pre-Service Training (PST): PST is an 11-week training that is intended to ensure that Volunteers are equipped with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed for a successful service. PST may be community- or center-based depending on COVID-19 restrictions and mitigation factors. Volunteers will receive training in their technical area, language, personal health and safety, security, as well as a practicum. Volunteers will be held accountable for competencies in each of these areas. Outside of formal training there will be opportunities for Volunteers to interact and live with community members to provide an immersive approach to understanding Ghanaian culture.

Climate: The climate of Ghana is tropical with two main seasons—generally, the dry season from November through April and the rainy season from May through August. It is hot and comparatively dry along the southeast coast, hot and humid in the southwest, and dry in the north. During the dry season, Harmattan winds are most extreme in the northern regions with days of continual cool air, haze, and fine dust.

Communication: Communication systems have been improving throughout Ghana, and cell phone reception is available at most sites. The level of reception, clarity, and speed of internet (where available) varies greatly.

Transportation: Volunteers live and serve in rural communities. Transportation to and from your community is primarily via public vehicles, which, depending on the remoteness of the site, can have irregular schedules and may or may not be well maintained. Often, travel requires long hours on rough roads in buses and minivans. Volunteers generally walk or bike around their communities. Volunteers are not permitted to drive or ride on motor bikes.

Dress: Ghanaians are very meticulous about their dress and personal hygiene in the workplace and cleanliness is a sign of respect. Volunteers are expected to dress and behave accordingly. During Pre-Service Training, the dress code is business casual. You will need to dress appropriately for work and social 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 Ghanaian colleagues and dress to their standards of professionalism.

Volunteers with visible body piercings or tattoos may need strategies to conceal them. Having visible body piercings and tattoos may make it more difficult to integrate into your host community. Peace Corps Ghana staff may ask you to be flexible with regard to personal appearance to facilitate integration in training and service

Serving in Ghana

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Ghana: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, health, and safety -- including health and crime statistics -- in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.

Couples Information

Ghana is always eager to accept couples whenever possible. You and your partner must qualify and apply for one of the following positions each:

Junior High School Math/Science Teacher
OR
Deaf Education Teacher

Couples live with the same homestay family during Pre-Service Training and live in the same accommodation during their 2-year service at site and will teach in the same community, but not necessarily at the same school, depending on community’s size.

Medical Considerations

Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the medical clearance process.


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