Secondary Education Science Teacher

Before You Apply

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Project Description

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 Science (primarily physics and chemistry) in a small town or rural community. Volunteers may also be asked to teach biology, math or English 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:

• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education with concentration in any science
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline with secondary certification in science
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in General Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, or Engineering
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any physical science or any biological science or equivalent
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline with a minor or equivalent (15 semester/22 quarter hours) in Biology, Chemistry, or Physics

Desired Skills

Experience in the following areas preferred:

• Working in classrooms, particularly at the secondary level, or 30+ hours of science 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 chemistry and/or physics;
• French language proficiency or strong desire to learn French; or
• Working with youth and adult students in any leadership capacity.

Required Language Skills

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

Transcripts may be requested to qualify for this position.

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

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.

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. 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 are provided for transport to work sites and for recreation. Almost all 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 Math 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 in Guinea

  • Guinea may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: insulin-dependent diabetes; dermatology; some types of gynecologic support; mammography; requiring a psychiatrist for psychotropic medications support; seizures; ongoing counseling.
  • The following medication(s) are not permitted for legal or cultural reasons: none identified. 
  • Volunteers who should avoid the following food(s) may not be able to serve:  peanuts.  
  • After arrival in Guinea, 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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