TEFL/Secondary School English Teacher

Before You Apply

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Project Description

The Government of Comoros has requested TEFL/Secondary School English Teachers to teach English as a foreign language to help strengthen its English language strategy in middle and high schools across the three islands. The people of Comoros regard the English language as a gateway to further the development of their country.

As a TEFL/Secondary School English teacher you will participate in Peace Corps’ TEFL training program which allows you to earn a Peace Corps TEFL Certificate upon successful completion of program requirements. This program provides 120 hours of standardized training and practice teaching along with two years of teaching experience framed through quarterly online learning events facilitated by post staff.

The Certificate program is validated by the Center for Applied Linguistics in Washington, DC. The US State Department and the English language learning sector worldwide have touted Peace Corps’ TEFL Certificate program as a high-quality credential.

Participation in four online pre-departure learning assignments is required. The assignments start three months before your arrival. Each takes no more than two hours to complete. Completing the assignments is part of the TEFL Certificate requirements. These modules introduce invitees to the basics or teaching as well as Peace Corps’ approach to teaching and give invitees opportunities to interact with post staff and fellow invitees.

Volunteers work with counterparts, team teaching where possible, to incorporate different learning styles, critical thinking, and task-based activities designed to improve students’ English skills. Through modeling and training, Volunteers are expected to build capacity of the teachers in their schools to implement more student-centered teaching approaches, while learning classroom management skills, teaching grammar principles and other techniques from their counterparts. In addition to improving English through direct teaching, Volunteers create after school English clubs, literacy activities and work to expand the use of libraries, digital libraries and Information Computer Technology (ICT) resources at their schools.

TEFL/Secondary School English primary activities are:
• Teach middle/high school English courses;
• Support the current English language curriculum;
• Develop teaching materials, lesson plans, and curriculum;
• Co-teach with their Comorian Counterpart;
• Provide technical support;
• Establish after-school “English clubs” for students, community members, and government or non-governmental organization partners; and
• Expand the use of libraries, digital libraries and ICT resources

TEFL/Secondary School English teachers have opportunities for secondary activities which may include the following:
• Design and implement teacher training;
• Reinforce EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teachers’ capacity to speak and teach English;
• Provide mentorship and professional development opportunities for EFL teachers; and
• Introduce English at the Primary School level;
• Teaching Primary School Teachers how to teach English
• In addition to teaching English, Peace Corps Comoros promotes gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. You will receive training on gender challenges in your 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 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.

Required Skills

• Competitive candidates will have a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline and a strong desire to teach English

Desired Skills

Volunteers who are curious, independent and self-starters will thrive as part of the fourth group involved in the TEFL Certificate Program in Comoros. Volunteers committed to teaching English with a focus on building strong local partner relationships will create sustainability and make a lasting impact.

Required Language Skills

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

PCVs will learn local dialects during Pre-Service Training in country.
However French, Swahili or Arabic skills may be helpful.

Living Conditions

TEFL/Secondary School English Teachers typically live in 1 of 2 housing options, depending on availability. Volunteers will live in either a modest house, or with a host family, with an independent room of their own. Volunteers living in more rural areas may have less access to homes with plumbing, running water and electricity.

Personal appearance is important to Comorians. Starting at pre-service training, the dress code is business casual. Following pre-service training, you will need to continue to dress appropriately, similar to Comorian teachers in your community, this will help you gain respect in your host community, facilitate integration, and increase your credibility and effectiveness. It is advised to take cues from your Comorian colleagues, and dress conservatively.

Cell phone service covers most of Volunteers’ sites. Smartphone use is becoming more common as 4G networks are available and accessible in most regions. International calls made from the Comorian network are possible, but not always reliable. WhatsApp tends to be the favored communication of choice among Volunteers.

Internet access is available in many communities and connections are available through USB drives or smart phone connections, however, service can be very slow depending on cell tower locations.

As part of the TEFL Certificate program Volunteers are strongly encouraged to bring a laptop which not only increases options for internet access, but also enables Volunteers to complete required assignments off-line and upload them at a later date. While Volunteers may also complete the assignments through local internet cafes or other access points, having a laptop will facilitate successful participation in training. Please note that tablets and smart phones are alternatives, while the most effective is a laptop.

The population on the three islands of the Union of Comoros is approximately 800,000. Sunni Islam is the predominant religion, practiced by 98% of the population, while the remaining 2% are Roman Catholic. French and Arabic are the official languages, but Shikomori (also called Comorian, a mix of Kiswahili, Bantu and Arabic) is the most widely spoken language. Each island speaks a different dialect of Shikomori. Outside of the capital, Moroni, the majority of people speak little to no French.

Comoros is a Muslim nation and religious proselytizing is illegal. However, the government and people are generally tolerant of non-Muslim visitors and residents – provided they are respectful of Comorian and Islamic traditions. Drinking alcohol is uncommon among the people, and there are very few stores where one can purchase alcohol. It will be very important for Volunteers serving in Comoros to abstain and/or moderate their consumption of alcohol as per cultural norms in order to be respected and integrated into the culture. The society is largely matriarchal in which wives generally inherit land and housing. Traditional gender roles continue to dominate the society, with many women staying home to take care of children and chores. Crime is not significant in Comoros, and violent crime is almost non-existent.

Peace Corps strives to create an inclusive environment for all. We support individuals from different backgrounds and staff have been trained in diversity, inclusion, and LGBT issues. However, Comoros 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/gender identity in their communities. Staff and currently serving Volunteers will address this topic during pre-service training, and identify support mechanisms for incoming trainees.

On these small and interconnected islands, Volunteers will need to consistently demonstrate good behavior in order to maintain a good reputation in their communities as well as preserve Peace Corps’ positive image.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Comoros: 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 Comoros accepts couples. Your partner must also apply and qualify for this position, and both partners must be committed to teaching English. Please note that Comoros is a very conservative Islamic state and public displays of affection are not culturally acceptable.
Couples will live together but will teach at separate schools in the community.

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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