TEFL/English Language Teacher
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In an effort to improve its English education program, Ethiopia’s Ministry of Education requested Peace Corps’ assistance in helping to improve proficiency and use of the language through better classroom instruction and teacher support programs. In response to this request, Peace Corps Ethiopia developed the Promoting English Language Learning in Ethiopia STEP (PELLE STEP) program with one goal in mind:
• Students attain communication skills in English necessary to access academic and/or professional opportunities.
English Language Teacher Volunteers are assigned in rural primary schools to serve as English teachers. They are responsible for up to two classes each of grade 5 and grade 6 daily and engage in tutorials and extra-curricular programs for their students. These extra sessions will be designed to focus on reading, speaking, fundamental communication, leadership, and life skills programs. Alongside their classroom teaching roles, they also plan formal and informal teacher support programs such as trainings, mentorship, and teacher professional club activities. Some English Language Teacher Volunteers support a community of practice and professional development within their schools. They also work with primary schools on clubs, camps, and gender activities.
This is an exceptional opportunity for anyone who wants to connect with hardworking, underprivileged students, especially girls. In the classroom and through the extra-curricular activities, Volunteers will have the opportunity to promote English language learning and much more. Peace Corps Ethiopia promotes gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. You will receive training on gender challenges in your host country 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 school/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 and their impact.
Education Volunteers will participate in Peace Corps' TEFL Certificate program. This is a 30-month program of training and professional development that begins with online pre-departure modules and continues throughout Volunteer service. Staff observe and evaluate Volunteers throughout the process to give feedback for improvement and make sure certificate benchmarks are being met. If expectations are met at the end of service, Volunteers will receive a TEFL teaching certificate, which is validated by the Center for Applied Linguistics in Washington, DC. Volunteers coming to Ethiopia must be ready to complete the requirements of the TEFL Certificate program even if they already have a TESOL Certificate or academic credential.
• 3 months, 10 hours/month, or 30 hours of English, foreign language, or literacy tutoring experience with primary, middle, or high school students or adults
• Developing libraries and/or reading programs
• Developing teaching resources appropriate to primary school teaching
• Participating in after-school and summer youth programs focused on English proficiency
• Using technology in the classroom to enhance English proficiency
• Working with teachers on professional development activities
Required Language Skills
Within the community, cell phone service is fairly reliable, but electricity and internet services are not. Internet may be present in larger towns, generally within a day’s trip. Where available, sporadic but slow connection is acquired through data on smart phones. The closest shopping town may be 20-30 miles away, though basic foodstuffs will be available in your community. Volunteers must be prepared to accept their assigned living conditions as they will be living under the same conditions as the people with whom they work. Pre-service training (PST) will help you adapt to the lifestyle.
Your diet will be local foods such as locally produced injera, a spongy pancake made from the grain, Tef, and eaten with sauces, spinach, beets, carrots, and various meats. Vegetables and fruit may be seasonal.
Your transportation will be by foot, bicycle, or local public transportation. Public transportation is available at most Volunteers’ sites and usually runs at least a few times a week to and from the nearest shopping town. Public transportation is likely to be crowded, uncomfortable, and unreliable. Many sites are at high altitudes, over 8,000 feet. As such, the position requires a level of physical fitness that will enable the Volunteer to successfully fulfill the job requirements. Peace Corps can provide you with a bike and a helmet, which must be worn at all times. Due to safety risks, Peace Corps Ethiopia prohibits the use of motorcycles or vehicles by Volunteers.
Ethiopians are varied in their business attire, and respect professional appearance at all times. Although Volunteers’ counterparts' resources are limited, they will present themselves in a professional way. You will be expected to dress professionally and maintain a neat appearance. Volunteers are looked upon as role models, and as such their appearance and their clothes need to be neat, clean and mended.
Sexual norms in Ethiopia are conservative and strict, and volunteers are expected to respect them. Public displays of affection between members of the opposite sex are not generally socially acceptable. Ethiopia also 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. Staff and currently serving Volunteers will address this during PST 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.
Volunteers who are of an American racial, ethnic, or national minority or whose religious or spiritual beliefs differ from the majority of their country of service may find they experience a high degree of curiosity or unwanted attention from host country nationals. Please be aware that American concepts of politeness and appropriate behavior are not universal. Ethnically, nationally, or racially diverse Americans may be asked where they are “actually from” or if they are “really” American. Many Volunteers have been able to turn these encounters into learning experiences, share their American values, and deepen local community members' understanding of Americans.
Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Ethiopia: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, and safety — including crime statistics [PDF] — in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.
• TEFL/English Language Teacher
• TEFL/English Language Teaching Specialist
Couples in the Education program will live together during the 12 week Pre-Service Training with the same host family. During the homestay, couples will only have one room to themselves.
After Pre-Service Training, couples will live together at their permanent site. Usually couples are provided 2 small rooms at their site so that they can have their own space.
Both could be placed in the same primary school or different or adjacent schools in the same town. Depending on the size of their host school and school population, each partner might teach in same grade level, but where possible, each partner will teach at different grade levels.
Medical Considerations in Ethiopia
- Ethiopia may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: asthma, including mild and childhood; some types of gynecologic support; insulin-dependent diabetes; mammography; requiring a psychiatrist for psychotropic medications support; seizure disorder; ongoing counseling.
- The following medication(s) are not permitted for legal or cultural reasons: Adderall, Ritalin and Vyvanse.
- Volunteers who should avoid the following food(s) may not be able to serve: none identified.
- After arrival in Ethiopia, Peace Corps provides and applicants are required to have an annual flu shot, to take daily or weekly medication to prevent malaria, and to receive mandatory immunizations.
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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