Special Needs Educator

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Project Description

Improving the quality of teaching and inclusive education in public primary schools for students with special needs. Special Needs Educators participate in a range of activities that include, but are not limited to, the following:

• Assist Special Needs Educators and teachers in public schools in improving the school’s approach to inclusion
• Train and coach school staff for teaching in inclusive classrooms: data collection tools, lesson planning, differentiated teaching, classroom & behavior management, modification & accommodations of the classroom and resource development
• Coach school staff on how to work with parents and include them in the education process or school activities
• Work with parents on empowerment activities and the development of support groups
• Assist with resource development and lesson planning
• Support the process of inclusion of beneficiaries into communities where there may be a high level of stigma and exclusion towards people with special needs
• Support government daily centers to promote social inclusion and life skills development of persons with special needs

Special Needs Educators’ work is embedded within Peace Corps North Macedonia’s English Education project. This project focuses on supporting the schools’ efforts to develop inclusive practices and provide high quality education to all students.
1) Improve teacher capacities to design and teach in an inclusive classroom
2) Strengthen the capacity of schools and community organizations to promote social inclusion

Required Skills

Competitive candidates will have one or more of the following criteria:
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education (general);
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in Education with experience working with persons who are learning disabled, developmentally disabled
• One year of experience working with children with developmental disabilities in a school setting.

Desired Skills

• MA in Special Education
• Experience in working with parents, organizing support groups, and trainings
• Experience with co-teaching in an inclusive classroom
• Certification (or at least working knowledge) in special education methods such as ABA, PECS, Sensory Integration, Brain Gym or any other method that helps children with special needs
• Experience working with children on the special needs spectrum, including autistic and Down syndrome children, and students with learning disabilities

Required Language Skills

There are no prerequisite language requirements for this position.

Please take a moment to explore the Language Comments section below to find out more on how local language(s) will be utilized during service.

Due to the diverse nature of North Macedonia, multiple languages are spoken throughout the country. During Pre-service Training, Peace Corps trains Volunteers primarily in the official language of Macedonian. Some Volunteers are trained in both Macedonian and/or Albanian as Albanian is the second most widely spoken language and because Peace Corps North Macedonia places Volunteers in sites where Albanian is the primary language spoken.

Other languages Volunteers may find spoken in their communities and homes include but are not limited to the following: Roma, Turkish, Bosnian, and Serbian. Peace Corps Volunteers who need support to learn an additional language are able to work with staff on a learning plan.

Living Conditions

• Living Conditions: All Volunteers will be placed with host families during Pre-Service training (the first three months in country). After training, Volunteers will move to their permanent communities, where they will live with another host family for at least the first six months. In many rural communities, the host family arrangement may be the only housing option. Typical host family accommodation provides a room with basic furniture and shared bathroom and shared kitchen facilities. Volunteers should come prepared to live as their hosts do, frugal in their use of utilities because of the high cost for electricity. The housing will be modest, yet functional, healthy and safe.

• Weather: Winter lasts from November to March with some snowfall and cold temperatures, similar to the mid-Atlantic area of the U.S. Many public buildings are not heated or poorly heated. Homes will also likely be colder during winter than in the U.S. Special Educators should come prepared with very warm winter clothes and clothes that can be layered.

• Social and Cultural Norms: Volunteers should expect to have much less alone time than they may be used to. North Macedonia is a collectivist society and Volunteers who spend ample time with their host families, neighbors and colleagues will enjoy a higher level of integration.

o Volunteers should be aware that it is more common to smoke indoors and outdoors in North Macedonia than it is in America, and it may be hard to avoid during service.

• Diversity and Inclusion: Peace Corps is challenging regardless of where you serve, and in some way or another you will be a minority and may experience unwanted attention. Peace Corps North Macedonia’s Pre-Service training will address these types of issues to prepare you for service and post is extremely committed to supporting Volunteers of all backgrounds throughout their service. Volunteers representing a wide diversity of Americans have served with great success in North Macedonia.

o Ethnicity/Gender Norms: In some communities Volunteers of color or women may initially experience additional unwanted attention
o Sexual Orientation: Many LGBTQ Volunteers have served safely and successfully in North Macedonia. LGBTQ Volunteers may need to be thoughtful about living openly in their communities and use their best judgment to determine the best way to approach this with their counterparts and community members.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in North Macedonia: 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 North Macedonia welcomes couples. Your partner must qualify and apply for the Community Development Associate position.

Couples will remain together during training and will serve in the same community during their service.

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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