Secondary Education Science Teacher

Project Description

Karibu Tanzania! Present since 1961, Tanzania is one of Peace Corps’ oldest programs. Despite progress in reducing barriers to secondary education, Tanzania has a limited number of qualified teachers, particularly in the fields of Math and Science (mainly Physics). Stakeholders have recognized the need for students to develop skills in these fields to support the development of problem-solving skills both in and out of the classroom. In response to this, the Peace Corps Tanzania project emphasizes hands-on learning, extracurricular activities, and community involvement in student learning to boost student achievement and support them in becoming self-reliant problem solvers.

Peace Corps Secondary Education Science Teachers work in rural Tanzanian villages and teach General Science, Chemistry, Biology and Physics to students aged 12-20. Volunteers prepare lesson plans using a variety of teaching methods and syllabus developed by the Ministry of Education. To connect classroom concepts to real-world situations, Volunteers also organize experiential learning activities, including field trips and periodic recruitment of guest speakers. Volunteers might be asked to teach additional subjects as needed depending on their knowledge and background. As part of capacity-building activities, Volunteers are encouraged to develop professional relationships with Tanzanian teachers and organize communities of practice, or spaces to share best teaching practices. In addition to teaching students and working with teachers, Volunteers are encouraged to engage community member’s involvement in student learning. This may be done by organizing events like math competitions or science fairs and training community members on gender-equitable techniques that increase access to learning.

Volunteers can expect to encounter large class sizes (50+) and limited resources. The main teaching materials will probably be a blackboard and chalk, though some schools may be better equipped. In Tanzania, schools use a centralized curriculum provided by the Ministry of Education. Most of the teaching resources are available locally, and Peace Corps also provides Volunteers with basic materials and resources to use in their teaching.

On average, Volunteers teach 11-16 hours per week. Along with classroom teaching, many are involved in school clubs, sports, youth conferences, and other extracurricular activities. Volunteers will integrate Peace Corps Tanzania's cross-sectoral program priorities into their teaching and community development. This includes HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Gender, Food Security, and Technology. Volunteers also have the opportunity to serve on a variety of Peace Corps committees that support the country program, which includes Education, Health and Agriculture.

Peace Corps Tanzania promotes gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. You will receive training on gender challenges 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.

Corporal punishment is legal and a common way teachers discipline their students. While the government has regulations regarding permissible forms of corporal punishment, these rules are not always followed or enforced at the local level. Volunteers will most likely encounter corporal punishment, which may or may not adhere to the legal restrictions. Many Volunteers find this aspect of life very challenging, particularly when it is necessary to develop good working relationships with colleagues. Peace Corps Tanzania has implemented a Student Friendly Schools program to open a dialogue between Volunteers and their colleagues, and to explore culturally appropriate and acceptable alternatives to corporal punishment.

Due to mandatory retirement limitations by the Tanzanian government, applicants to Tanzania’s Peace Corps program must conclude their Peace Corps service prior to the age of 60.

COVID-19 Volunteer Activities

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

Desired Skills

•A university degree in any science subject strongly preferred.
•Teaching experience with a strong desire to teach science in Tanzania.

Living Conditions

Tanzania is a large country located in East Africa and known for Mount Kilimanjaro and the Serengeti Wildlife National Park. It has a diverse geography, ranging from hot and dry in the central part of the country, hot and humid in the coastal areas, and cool to cold temperatures in highland and mountainous areas to the South and North, depending on the season.

During the hottest months (November-February) temperatures range from 90-105 °F in the lowlands, and 70-80 °F in the highlands. During the cold season (June-August), temperatures range from 60-75 °F in the lowlands and coast, and from 40-50 °F in the highlands. There are short rains in November or December, and longer rains between March and May.

Volunteers are placed primarily in underserved rural communities. Sites are generally within a few hours of small to mid-size district towns with banks, a variety of shops, markets, local restaurants and guesthouses. Travel to Dar es Salaam can take anywhere from five hours to three days by road. Volunteers generally use public buses as a main mode of transportation.

The host village/school provides Volunteer housing. This is typically a stand-alone house. Housing structures vary from concrete houses with wire mesh windows to glass windows, both with metal roofs. Volunteers use pit latrines, outdoor bath facilities, and fetch water from a village water source. There may be no electricity, in which case solar lamps will be the main source of lighting, and charcoal stoves or gas stoves are used for cooking and heating during cold spells. Despite the modest conditions, Tanzanians keep their homes and courtyards clean and tidy. Peace Corps Volunteers are expected to do likewise, and if need be, can obtain help with washing clothes, fetching water and/or other household chores at a very affordable cost.

Personal appearance is of great importance in Tanzania. Female Volunteers are expected to wear modest dresses and long skirts (well below the knees, with upper arms and shoulders covered) and modest shoes or sandals in their communities. On the island of Zanzibar or in other coastal Muslim communities, females tend to be more accepted when they cover their heads, as is the custom for women in those communities. When out running or exercising, females should wear a sarong or cloth tied over shorts or yoga pants. Male Volunteers should wear slacks, collared shirts, and loafers or other closed toed shoes when presenting themselves professionally. Volunteers’ professional appearance, work habits, and positive attitude towards colleagues and community members will go a long way towards helping them gain the respect of their community.

Volunteers will encounter very different social and cultural norms that require flexibility and understanding. For example, the American sense of privacy in terms of information sharing or physical space doesn’t really exist in many Tanzanian communities. Volunteers are frequently asked personal questions, e.g. one’s religion and marital status, and people will wonder why a Volunteer might want quiet moments alone. It is also common to find that as foreigners, Volunteers will experience the added element of curiosity from children as well as adults.

Tanzania 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 will address this topic during Pre-Service Training, and identify support mechanisms for incoming trainees. Please refer to the Local Laws and Special Circumstances of the U.S. Department of State's travel page for more information:

Serving in Tanzania

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Tanzania: 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

Peace Corps Tanzania can accommodate couples teaching the same or different subjects. Therefore, your partner must apply and qualify for one of the following positions in Tanzania:

-Health Extension Volunteer
-Sustainable Agriculture Volunteer
-Secondary Math Teacher
-Secondary Science Teacher

Couples will live together with a host family during Pre-Service Training but may be separated for short-term field-based activities if they are in different project sectors. During service, couples will live together in a village house. Due to Tanzania's cultural expectation that whenever couples live together they are by default married, unmarried couples should be prepared to present themselves as married throughout their service.

Medical Considerations

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

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