Secondary Education Science Teacher
The teaching approach in Sierra Leone is mostly lecture based, call and response, and rote memorization. Classrooms are very basic and contain few resources. Most schools have no science lab or equipment and large class sizes are normal. The lack of resources provides Volunteers a lot of room for creativity in how they teach. Peace Corps will train you to work with teachers to shift their teaching techniques towards a student-centered model by engaging students through small group activities that help foster the development of study and critical thinking.
Due to the pandemic, Volunteers may work closely with teachers and students in informal settings where social distancing can be met, to build and practice teaching techniques and facilitate student-centered approaches
In schools with grades similar to US grades 7-10, Volunteers will work to:
• Strengthen the general, critical thinking, and/or science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) teaching skills of teachers
• Increase the capacity of teachers to use gender-equitable teaching practices
• Increase achievement of students in math and/or science
Volunteers will teach and support science classes that focus on improving STEM teaching skills, increasing students’ science skills, preparing students for national tests, and critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Volunteers will work in the following subject areas:
• Integrated science
Outside of the classroom, Volunteers are encouraged and empowered to lead afterschool programs that help students continue to improve their science skills. Volunteers are also encouraged to identify and work with their communities on projects that address other community needs, such as:
• Gardening and nutrition
• Youth empowerment camps
• Malaria prevention and health education
Peace Corps promotes gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. Volunteers will receive training on gender context and issues in Sierra Leone, and will have the opportunity to develop and implement gender-related activities that are contextually appropriate. During their service, Volunteers are encouraged to find opportunities to work with community members to promote gender-equitable norms and increase girls’ sense of agency. As part of their work, Volunteers will also report on these efforts and their impact.
You will also be required to participate in the Peace Corps monitoring and evaluation (M&E) process. All Volunteers receive training on the Peace Corps M&E tracking and reporting system. Each Volunteer regularly reports M&E information, and this information is summarized to describe overall progress of the project. Our M&E system helps Peace Corps measure progress, improve its programming, and report its accomplishments. The opportunity to learn and practice M&E skills in a professional setting is one of many professional development benefits of Peace Corps service.
Peace Corps is committed to ensuring the safety and security of all Volunteers. In response to the ongoing pandemic, this has included revisions to key processes, policies, and activities to align with required and recommended COVID-19 mitigation measures, including requirements focused on Volunteers’ engagement in classrooms and schools. All Volunteers must adhere to Peace Corps’ health and safety requirements, including COVID-19-specific recommendations and policies.
Illustrative COVID-specific activities may include:
• Conduct one-on-one engagement with teachers, and students on COVID-19 mitigation measures in settings where appropriate preventive measures are in place
• Provide culturally appropriate information in a manner that uses different communication strategies to reach individuals with low health literacy
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.
• 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
• Paid or unpaid teaching experience
• Major or Minor degree in education or other relevant field
• Demonstrated ability to re-imagine local resources and/or work within resource limitations to provide high-quality instruction, tutoring, and extracurricular activities
• Paid or unpaid experience working with school-age children in an educational setting, i.e., in after-school programs, camps, or mentoring programs
• Experience coaching peers and/or coworkers for improved performance
Required Language Skills
COMMUNICATION: Peace Corps provides Volunteers with a phone soon after arrival in country, which they retain for use throughout their service. Please be aware that communication options are very limited in Sierra Leone, as Internet access are not widely available. Texting is the most common way to communicate, but cell phone networks and signals in Sierra Leone are often weak and spotty in many areas. Every Volunteer’s site will have network coverage within their community or within walking distance.
Peace Corps receives mail for Volunteers from the main post office, and periodically delivers it to Volunteers based on an established schedule. Packages may not arrive intact, and Peace Corps is unable to assist with customs clearance if this is required. Most Volunteers will not have mail access in their communities. Please be aware and inform friends and family that communication options are much more limited than in the States.
TRANSPORTATION: Peace Corps will assist with providing bicycles for Volunteers who want one for daily routines. Public transportation to major centers is available from every Volunteer site, however, access to and frequency of transportation varies from daily to weekly. Per current Peace Corps transportation policy, modified during the COVID-19 pandemic and subject to change at any time, Volunteers are prohibited from riding as a passenger on the back of a motorcycle taxi (okada) or from using local public transport (poda poda).
FOOD: Prices for foods and other basic items may vary by location and time of year, and can be relatively expensive due to seasonality. Rice is the staple food. Other food items include: eggs and fish, which are the most affordable sources of protein, while meats such as beef, goat, or chicken are more expensive. Plantains, cassava, yam, potato, beans, as well as a variety of vegetables like onions, potato and cassava leaves, peppers, eggplant, okra, cabbage, tomato, cucumber and carrots are also typically available. Peanuts and sesame seed cakes are popular protein rich snacks. Fruits such as pineapples, bananas, papaya, coconuts, avocado, orange, watermelon and mangoes are seasonal. Based on available foods, vegetarians can find ways to balance a diet. However, strict vegetarians and vegans will be challenged, especially while living with a host family during pre-service training.
HEALTH: The health, safety and security of Volunteers are Peace Corps' top priority. During pre-service training, Volunteers are trained on awareness and prevention activities such as handwashing, food safety, and other hygienic practices in the Sierra Leone context. We also provide extensive training and information on personal safety and security best practices and available resources throughout the Volunteer’s service. Peace Corps Sierra Leone’s team includes two dedicated Medical Officers and a Safety and Security Manager, and other designated staff at Post and at Peace Corps’ headquarters, who are available at all times to support and respond to Volunteer health, safety and security needs.
SOCIAL CLIMATE: Sierra Leone has some restrictive laws that target certain sexual acts. Volunteers will need to be mindful of cultural norms and country-specific laws, and use their best judgment to determine how to approach topics related to 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 some potential support mechanisms for incoming trainees.
Serving in Sierra Leone
Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Sierra Leone: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, and safety — including crime statistics [PDF] — in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.
-Community Health Promoter
-Primary Education English Teacher
-Secondary Education English Teacher
Couples will be placed with the same host family for pre-service training and in the same home during their service. However, during pre-service training, couples working in different sectors will attend separate technical training sessions, potentially in different locations.
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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