Secondary Education – TEFL/English Teaching

Before You Apply

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Project Description

The Peace Corps Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) Project began its activities in 1993. Ukraine’s Ministry of Education and Science (MOES) requested Volunteers help improve the quality of English language education. The project was later expanded in 1998.

The Peace Corps TEFL Project aims to enhance teachers’ and students’ English language communication abilities and to encourage independent thinking through the creation of an interactive learning environment. Volunteers transfer language and teaching skills through team-teaching with Ukrainian teachers and facilitate professional development workshops on contemporary methodologies and student-centered techniques. Along with English teaching and professional trainings, Volunteers promote attitudes and skills essential for a shift to a democratic society – problem solving, critical thinking, civic responsibility and healthy life style.

Enabling Policy Environment
To assist with Ukraine’s pivotal democratic transition, TEFL Volunteers address and implement The New Ukrainian School reform. TEFL Volunteers assist local Departments of Education as they implement a holistic approach to education and develop core skills for life. Inclusive Education has come to the forefront of Education reform across the country. TEFL Volunteers will build awareness, promote inclusive classrooms and reduce stigma of students with differences.

Volunteers work alongside their counterparts to improve English proficiency through team-teaching conversational or content-based English to students in grades 3-11 for 18 academic hours per week. Everyday communication in English with Volunteers increases the self-confidence of teachers to use English in their classrooms and equips them with child-focused, interactive teaching methods.

Volunteers in the eastern and central regions of Ukraine place a special focus on working with internally displaced people (IDPs) through Conflict Sensitive Education. Volunteers mainstream young people who are in educational institutions and help integrate internally displaced people into their new communities. Teachers encourage dialogue between young Ukrainians of all ethnic, social and economic groups.

Peace begins in the classroom. By being a patient, and kind teacher, you will help students develop the values, knowledge, attitudes, skills, and behaviors to live in harmony. In return for the respect you demonstrate to your community, you and your work will be appreciated and respected.

Required Skills

Competitive candidates will meet one of the following criteria:
• BA/BS in Secondary Education with concentration in English, English/Foreign Language Teaching; or
• BA/BS in liberal art or social science; or
• BA/BS in any discipline with at least 30 hours of English, foreign language, or literacy tutoring experience with primary school, middle or high school students, or adults.
• Flexibility, adaptability, emotional maturity and ability to overcome challenges, cross-cultural awareness and sensitivity, creativity and sincere commitment to Peace Corps service.

Desired Skills

• Strong communication skills;
• Prior experience in organizing camps and/or extracurricular activities;
• IT skills;
• Any background with displaced, refugee children;
• Any background with inclusive education, mainstreaming, or related activity;
• Youth engagement: dance, drama, music, sports activities

Required Language Skills

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

The Ukrainian language is considered to be a difficult – but not impossible – language to learn. The key to success is attitude.

Peace Corps Ukraine offers a strong, 9-week, pre-service language learning program to get you started with your language learning journey. Ukrainian is the national language, and every Volunteer is advantaged by having a language foundation in Ukrainian. Volunteers should be prepared to serve in Ukrainian-speaking communities even if they bring Russian language skills. However, many communities also speak Russian outside of formal settings because Ukraine is a bilingual country. Volunteers may elect to switch to Russian after training, but their training in Ukrainian will remain an asset.

Trainees must demonstrate a minimum novice-mid oral proficiency in Ukrainian by the end of pre-service training.

Prior experience of studying a foreign language will be of use.

Living Conditions

• Host Family
Host family stays are required during the 9 week pre-service training (PST) and initial 3 months of service. A host family may be the only option for Volunteers during their service in some communities.
You will eat with your Ukrainian family. The Ukrainian diet is bread-based diet with lots of wheat and grain breads, pork and dairy prepared daily. It is also very rich in fruits and vegetables during the summer, but mostly root vegetables during the winter months. Nearly 50% of Ukrainian households have indoor pets, and cats or dogs can be expected in many homes. Host family accommodation provides a safe private room with basic furniture and shared bathroom and kitchen facilities.
After the first three months of service, Volunteers may move into separate housing. Other options for housing may include a room in a dormitory, a private apartment or house, or a part of a family house.
• Diversity Challenges
We encourage you to access our website for more information regarding diversity and inclusion at:
Peace Corps is challenging regardless of where you serve, and in some way or another you will be a minority and may invite unwanted attention. Peace Corps Ukraine’s PST will address these types of issues to prepare you for service.
• Transportation
Volunteers will use public transportation just as most Ukrainians do. The country is well-served by trains. On shorter routes, Volunteers use mini-buses for inter-city transportation. Many roads are in poor conditions. Volunteers usually walk from home to the first available transportation, and this could take between 10 to 45 minutes In most small villages walking is the main way of getting around or getting to the main road. High car accident rate and pickpocketing are main Safety and Security threats for travelers. PCVs are provided with the respective training on how to mitigate the risks during Pre-Service Training.
• Climate
The climate in Ukraine includes four distinct seasons and is similar to the upper Midwest or upstate New York. Winter lasts from November to March and can be cold with heavy snowfalls and ice.
• Dress
Men and women should bring business casual clothing for work and casual settings. When it comes to packing, less is more. Also, Volunteers tend to overpack for winter and forget that Ukraine can be very warm in the summer, and air conditioning is uncommon. There are abundant second hand shops in Ukraine and Volunteers and staff make good use of them.
• Physical requirements
Assignments in Ukraine are physically challenging and will require volunteers to be physically fit to walk up and down stairs, ride public transportation, and sometimes use a Turkish squat toilet. Volunteers must be able to walk on uneven terrain/pavement and carry at least 20 pounds.
• Working conditions/hours
Volunteer service is a full-time job. You will work a full day based on the schedule of your school, center, or organization. The usual schedule is Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. There also will be times at which you will need to work on weekends. While in the school environment you will be expected to work during class time, much of your work with students will occur after class time or in the latter part of the day. You may find that some of your colleagues do not firmly observe business hours, but as a development worker you will be expected to set a good example by being punctual and by always being available at the workplace during business or school hours.
• Internet Access
Internet is available in most places, though the connection speed and consistency can often be lower than to what you are accustomed. At times, Internet access will be limited due to irregular power supply, poor telephone lines, or limited Wi-Fi capabilities. 3G internet via cellular network is available in all big cities, most of towns and a part of small communities.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Ukraine: 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

Peace Corps Ukraine has volunteer placements for couples.

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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