TEFL Volunteer

Currently, departure timelines are not available and the Peace Corps is not issuing invitations to serve. Once we begin issuing invitations, applicants will have a minimum of three to four months’ notice between invitation and departure.

The information provided for each assignment is subject to change.

Project Description

As the only Peace Corps host-country that shares a border with the United States, Mexico shares strong cultural, political and economic ties with its neighbor to the north. Given the economic relations between Mexico and the United States, strengthening English-language capacities continues to be a national priority for the Mexican government. English represents a key that opens doors to the knowledge economy, scientific and technical exchange, employability, commerce, and social mobility. TEFL Volunteers in Mexico serve as linguistic and cultural ambassadors increasing mutual understanding and professional opportunities for Mexican students and teachers. TEFL Volunteers are assigned to small or medium-sized public universities that specialize in science, technology, engineering, design, and mathematics. The majority of students at these universities commute to campus from underserved communities and many of them are on scholarships. TEFL Volunteers serve as both on-site support for English teachers and learners, as well as a link to professional and academic opportunities through our strategic partners. Successful Volunteers support English language learning through their teaching, co-planning, co-teaching, teacher training, student mentoring, and on-campus and off-campus extracurricular activities with students and faculty. Co-planning and co-teaching take place with mainly part-time university English teachers and other faculty members who deliver their technical coursework in English. Additionally, TEFL Volunteers promote and participate in Communities of Practice (CoP), where teachers and Volunteers come together to learn and grow professionally. A CoP emerges when two or more people share an interest in a topic and come together to fulfill common learning goals.These CoPs contribute toward teachers’ professional development, and exemplify a sustainable approach to English education in Mexico.

As a TEFL Volunteer, you will contribute to the strategic objective of students in Mexico attaining communication skills in English necessary to access academic and/or professional opportunities. Some of the activities you will undertake at your university will include:

• Co-planning and co-teaching English language classes
• Establishing and facilitating Communities of Practice

• Independently facilitating or co-facilitating extracurricular activities for English language learning, such as conversation clubs, cross-cultural events, or English-language lunches
• Supporting institutional projects such as: youth development, culture awareness instruction for mobility programs students, setting up language laboratories with open source means, etc.
• Mentoring and providing career counseling to students, including reviewing English-language resumes, practicing English-language job interviews, helping edit and proofread student papers and presentations in a way that empowers them to improve their own English
• Providing information about academic and professional development opportunities for school staff, faculty and students through our network of strategic partners

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

Candidates must have a strong desire to teach English and both of the following:
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline
• At least 3 months at 10 hours/month, or 30 hours, of English as a Foreign Language tutoring experience with primary, middle, or high school students, university students, or adults

Desired Skills

Competitive candidates will have one or more of the following:
• Co-planning/co-teaching experience
• Effective classroom management techniques
• Experience providing written and/or verbal feedback, mentoring, and support to address challenges faced by students and faculty
• Teacher training experience
• Academic or work experience in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or business administration
• Strong social/interpersonal skills

Required Language Skills

Candidates must meet one or more of the language requirements below in order to be considered for this position.
A. Completed 4 years of high school Spanish coursework within the past 8 years
B. Completed minimum 2 semesters of Spanish college‐level coursework within the past 6 years
C. Native/fluent speaker of Spanish

Candidates who do not meet the language proficiency levels above can take the language placement exams to demonstrate their level of proficiency. Competitive applicants typically attain a score of 50 on the Spanish College Level Examination Program CLEP exam or a score of Novice‐High on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL OPI).

Candidates must meet the minimum language requirements to be considered for an invitation. Candidates that have more Spanish than the minimum requirement, and meet the required and desired skills for the position, are most successful integrating into their communities and working environment. Spanish language proficiency is essential for a successful service. There is limited but high-quality in-person Spanish instruction during Pre-Service Training. Trainees are expected to integrate as much as possible during Pre-Service Training with their host-families so as to maximize exposure to Spanish through the ten-week immersion program that is Pre-Service Training. Every Trainee will take a Language Proficiency Interview exam at the end of their Pre-Service Training, and must achieve an ACTFL-certified level of Intermediate Mid in order to swear-in as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Living Conditions

The United States and Mexico are very interdependent and share so much more than just a border. Should you be accepted to serve in Mexico, you will have an incredible opportunity to build bridges of peace and friendship between Mexico and the U.S.

Peace Corps Mexico’s host universities are located mainly in central Mexico. Some are established on the outskirts of medium to large-sized cities. Some are near industrial parks where students have internships, or adjacent to networks of small towns to provide access to students from rural areas. Some are in small towns tucked away in the mountains. Volunteers may have to commute up to one hour each way on public transportation to get to their universities, although a one-hour commute is very rare. Volunteers are expected to work at least 32-40 hours per week on campus. The following time distribution is recommended: 50% of the time dedicated to co-teaching and communities of practice, 25% for tutoring students, planning and co-planning, and the remaining time spent in extra-curricular activities and other institutional projects. Some Volunteers may need to stay on campus longer due to the aforementioned limited bus schedules. Volunteers may occasionally be asked to substitute and solo-teach a class for university English teachers who are sick or must attend a conference or required training events.

Host family stays are required during the 10-week Pre-Service Training (PST) and during the first three months of service. After living with a host family for the first three months of service, you may arrange to stay with your host family if they are able to continue hosting you, or you can seek other options which may include a room in a shared house, a small unoccupied apartment for rent, or a section of a family’s house. Your host family may be a two-parent family with kids, a grandmother living alone, a single parent who works all day, or any other variation of a host family.

Peace Corps Mexico seeks to reflect the rich diversity of the U.S. and bring diverse perspectives and solutions to development issues in Mexico. During Pre-Service Training (PST), multiple sessions and guidance will be provided to discuss diversity and inclusion. For more specific information about serving as a diverse Volunteer in Mexico and the support networks in place, please visit https://www.peacecorps.gov/mexico/preparing-to-volunteer/diversity-and-inclusion/.

SPECIAL NOTICE ABOUT CITIZENSHIP: Candidates who are either dual citizens of Mexico and the U.S. or who were born in Mexico and became U.S. citizens after 1998 are not eligible to serve with Peace Corps Mexico. Volunteer safety is of paramount importance, and the protections of U.S. citizenship promote volunteer safety. Under Mexican law, anyone born in Mexico who became a U.S. citizen after 1998 or anyone holding dual U.S. and Mexican citizenship is considered a citizen of Mexico, and not of the United States. If such an individual faced a legal, safety or other emergency situation in Mexico, the Peace Corps' ability to intervene would be limited. If you fit either of these categories, we encourage you to look for other opportunities with Peace Corps.

Serving in Mexico

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Mexico: 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

Mexico can accommodate couples serving together as TEFL Volunteers. Therefore, your partner must apply and qualify for this position.

Couples can have a very positive and productive experience serving in Mexico. During the 10-week Pre-Service Training, couples have the option of living with the same host family or living separately in order to maximize Spanish language learning. During the first three months of service, couples live together with the same host family. After the first three months, couples may live together in a rented room inside a family’s compound or rent their own modest apartment. Some couples may encounter situations such as being asked questions about having children or being the subject of comments or jokes about being monogamous. During Pre-Service Training, staff and Volunteers address these issues and Volunteers formulate their own strategies to be resilient and adapt to such realities.

Medical Considerations

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

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