Secondary Education TEFL/English 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

Peace Corps is pleased to partner with Viet Nam’s Ministry of Education and Training to implement the English Education Program. The program supports Viet Nam’s national priority of English proficiency for its secondary school students and emerging workforce, as well as strengthening teachers’ English proficiency and capacity to teach English. The objective of this project is the acquisition of English language skills by students and teachers, with emphasis on strengthening speaking and comprehension skills. There is particular interest in the communicative authenticity and cultural exchange that Peace Corps Volunteers can inspire.

Volunteers will be assigned to secondary schools (middle and high schools) and will live in towns or smaller communities that have been jointly selected by Peace Corps and the Ministry of Education and Training. These areas have less developed infrastructure and greater educational needs than the capital city. Schools may have up to 2000 students and a dozen Vietnamese English teachers on staff. There are typically 40-60 students in a class. National curricula are followed in order to prepare students for high-stakes national exams. English proficiency in these communities will likely be low. Volunteers will co-teach and co-plan English classes with their Vietnamese counterparts. In addition to classroom teaching, Volunteers will provide English language practice opportunities by implementing extracurricular activities, school events, and/or after-school clubs and summer activities.

Peace Corps Volunteers serving in Viet Nam will be the first-ever here. Like Peace Corps Volunteers around the world, they can look forward to learning a new language, developing teaching skills that are effective in local classrooms, navigating unfamiliar work and living environments, adjusting to local cultural norms, pursuing opportunities for intercultural exchange, and forging friendships with neighbors and colleagues. However, Volunteers in this program have a significant additional responsibility: helping to establish the reputation and credibility of Peace Corps in Viet Nam. The first cohort will have to navigate greater levels of ambiguity than a Volunteer in an established program. This cohort will help Peace Corps learn what it means to be a Volunteer in Viet Nam and build a stronger program. The individuals selected should have demonstrated high levels of self-awareness, humility, initiative, and maintaining one’s health and well-being, as well as the ability to work well with various stakeholders, including community members, school faculty, and the Peace Corps staff.

In order to establish credibility in the school community, Volunteers must be willing to abide by the same rules, norms, and standards that the Ministry and local leadership convey to local teachers regarding behavior and appearance. Volunteers will be co-teaching and co-planning English classes with Vietnamese counterpart teachers. Volunteers will be expected to be prepared and punctual for teaching responsibilities, to attend required faculty meetings, assemblies and events, and to adhere to the local school calendar and its holiday schedule.

Beyond the classroom, Volunteers will work towards Peace Corps’ goals by living with host families and spending time in their Vietnamese community. Integrating into one’s community – by which we mean sharing meals, practicing language, participating in everyday activities and special events, accepting invitations and developing friendships – is a hallmark of successful Volunteer service, and requires time and attention.

By the end of their in-country training, Volunteers will need to demonstrate competence in the Vietnamese language, classroom teaching skills, and progress in their adjustment to norms of Vietnamese communities. A commitment to continuing to learn and practice these new skills and behaviors outside of training and throughout service is essential.

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 meet the following criteria:

• A Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline and
• A strong desire to teach English and
• 30 hours of English, foreign language, or literacy tutoring experience with primary, middle, or high school students or adults

Desired Skills

Highly competitive candidates will possess one or more of the following criteria:
• Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in English, Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL), Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), English as a Second Language (ESL), Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL), foreign language, or Applied Linguistics
• Master of Education (M.Ed.) with graduate or undergraduate concentration in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL, TESL, or foreign language
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education with concentration in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL, TESL, or foreign language
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline with secondary education state certification in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL, TESL, or foreign language
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL and TESL, or foreign language with 6 months classroom teaching experience at the secondary level in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL, TESL, or foreign language
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline with classroom teaching experience at the secondary level in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL and TESL, or foreign language
• Experience conducting trainings.
• Experience developing teaching & learning resources.
• Experience with professional development for teachers, curriculum development, and educational materials development.
• Experience teaching at the middle school level or above
• Demonstrated experience in planning and organizing activities for children and young adults (e.g., youth camps/clubs).

Required Language Skills

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

Volunteers will receive intensive training in Vietnamese throughout pre-service training. Volunteers are expected to continue developing language skills during service – through self-study and/or tutoring - as use of local language assists with daily living and relationship-building.

Vietnamese is considered a difficult language for English speakers to learn to speak and comprehend, at least partly because it is a tonal language, where a single word can have multiple meanings depending on the pitch used. A desire to study and learn Vietnamese is essential, as Volunteers will work in areas where there is little English language spoken. Vietnamese is a Category IV language on the Foreign Service Institute’s language difficulty ranking, which ranks languages from easier (Category I) to more difficult (Category V) to learn for those with English as their native language.

Living Conditions

Volunteers will live with host families throughout pre-service training (the first three months in country) and for their entire two years of service (after swearing-in as Peace Corps Volunteers). Homes are likely to be at a standard similar to that of Vietnamese teaching colleagues. Host family accommodations provide Volunteers with a safe, private room that includes basic furniture and shared bathroom and kitchen facilities. During pre-service training, Volunteers will likely live in homestays clustered in close proximity to training sites and will participate in trainings with smaller groups most days, meeting with the larger group 1-3 days every two weeks. During the two-year service, each Volunteer will live in a different homestay in a town or township near to their assigned school. Volunteers may live up to an hour or more away from the nearest other Volunteer. Volunteers will be embedded in a community where they will have access to local markets and services, which will be readily available, including transportation to the capital city, Ha Noi, where the Peace Corps office is located. Wireless Internet access is readily available in most places, though the connection speed and consistency can be of varying quality.

As with all sites selected for Volunteers, all housing will meet Peace Corps safety and security requirements. Volunteers will have their own room, but will have less privacy than they may be accustomed to in the United States. Living with a host family is not the same as simply renting a room: you will participate in communal activities – such as cooking together, sharing meals and celebrating family events – and host families may feel responsible for your well-being and safety. They will likely be very interested in how you are spending time, what you enjoy eating, and your interests and hobbies. Because this is a new program, government officials will also likely be curious about your work, language development, and community integration. More broadly, Volunteers in Viet Nam should not presume privacy with regard to their internet usage; the government of Viet Nam routinely monitors all social media.

Regardless of where in the world they serve, Peace Corps Volunteers are often the subject of curiosity and/or unwanted attention regarding both visible and non-visible aspects of their identity – e.g., skin and hair color or texture, height and weight, race, ethnicity, tribe, national origin, language, religious beliefs, gender identification, sexual orientation, political affiliation, family structure, age, marriage status, socio-economic status, ability, and other aspects. Your colleagues and neighbors may be unused to interacting with foreigners and may have preconceptions about U.S. Americans. With the support of Peace Corps staff you will become adept at managing this type of attention; as you and your community get used to living and working together the level of this type of attention may fluctuate.

Peace Corps is committed to creating a supportive and inclusive environment for staff and Volunteers. During pre-service training, staff will provide Volunteers with information and support in relation to how a Volunteer’s identities may impact their experiences in relation to integration, safety, and other topics. Staff in Viet Nam will continue to gather information specific to what Volunteers may experience in Viet Nam and will welcome discussions on diversity or inclusivity-related concerns at any time.

Serving in Viet Nam

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Viet Nam: 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.

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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