TEFL/Secondary School English Teacher

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact Peace Corps domestically and internationally.

The information provided for each assignment is subject to change, including the tentative departure date.

Project Description

In Comoros, English is viewed as a gateway to further the development of the country. Therefore, the Union of Comoros government 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 (Anjouan, Grande Comore, and Moheli).

As TEFL/Secondary School English Teachers, Volunteers will participate in Peace Corps’ newly-developed TEFL training program which allows them 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 supervised teaching experience framed through quarterly online learning events facilitated by Post staff. This training is designed to respond to the goals of TEFL Volunteers. 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 advertised Peace Corps’ TEFL Certificate program as a high-quality, game-changing credential.

Participation in 4 online pre-departure learning assignments is required. Assignments start 3 months before Volunteers arrive. Each takes no more than two hours to complete. Completing the assignments is part of the TEFL program requirements. These modules introduce invitees to the basics of teaching as well as Peace Corps’ approach to teaching and give invitees opportunities to interact with Post staff and fellow invitees.

In country, as TEFL/Secondary School English Teachers, Volunteers will work with their counterparts to co-plan and 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 digital libraries (Solar SPELL) as learning resources.

The primary activities of a TEFL/Secondary School English Teacher are to:
• Teach middle/high school English courses with an emphasis on oral skills;
• Use and promote gender equitable practices;
• Support the current English-language curriculum;
• Develop teaching materials, lesson plans, and curriculum;
• Co-plan 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 digital libraries (Solar SPELL).

TEFL/Secondary School English Teachers have opportunities for secondary activities which may include but are not limited to the following:
• Create and organize projects that promote gender equity such as: Exploration clubs, GLOW camps, etc.
• 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;
• Teach other teachers and school administrators English;
• Introduce English at the Primary School level (4th and 5th grade only)

In addition to teaching English, Peace Corps Comoros promotes gender awareness and girls’ education and empowerment. Volunteers will receive training on gender challenges in the country and will have the opportunity to implement gender-related activities that are contextually appropriate. During their service, Volunteers will look for ways to work with community members to promote gender-equitable norms and increase girls’ sense of agency. As part of their work, they will also report on these efforts and their impact.

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

Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline and a strong desire to teach English.

Desired Skills

Peace Corps Comoros is seeking qualified candidates with:
• Commitment to working closely with a local counterpart to develop strong partnership to make long lasting impact
• Capacity-building experience
• Comfort working in a low-resource environment
• Experience working in the education field
• Interpersonal skills

Required Language Skills

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

Shikomori is a mix of Bantu, Kiswahili and Arabic which makes it a unique and beautiful language spoken only in Comoros. It is the mother tongue, is the most widely spoken language. Shikomori is the broad term for the 3 dialects: ShiNgazidja, ShiNdzuani and ShiMwali spoken on the 3 islands. While people from each island speak one of the 3 dialects, it is important to note that they understand each other.

French and Arabic are the official languages; however, outside of the capital, Moroni, the majority of people speak little to no French. Volunteers learn to speak the dialect of the island to which they are assigned.

Now,
• Imagine yourself learning and practicing Shikomori with 2 or 3 other volunteers under a mango tree sitting on a mat or locally made chair,
• Picture yourself greeting and engaging in conversations in Shikomori with your neighbors and community members on your way to school,
• Envision yourself bargaining prices at your local market in Shikomori

If you can visualize these scenarios, Peace Corps Comoros is seeking applicants like you with a passion for learning the local language and who exemplify easy and smooth integration in their community.

During Pre-Service Training (PST) you will learn one of the 3 local dialects depending on the island to which you are assigned. You must meet the Intermediate Low (IL) level in order to become a Volunteer. With the Intermediate Low level in Shikomori you will be able to successfully navigate daily tasks. Language training is conversational and emphasizes the Volunteers’ proficiency with common topics of discussion in the local language.

Living Conditions

Comoros is more than just beautiful beaches, it is a very safe, welcoming, beautiful Muslim island nation! Comorians can initially be reserved and relationships grow slowly, but once established, they are true and long lasting.

TEFL/Secondary School English Teachers' housing is commonly a cement house shared with a host family. Some houses will have concrete roofs and others tin. Volunteers may have their own room, however they may share the following spaces with their host family:
• Kitchen
• Living room
• Bathing area and pit latrine
Water for general use comes from:
• Reservoir (cistern)
• Public faucet

Electricity is available at Volunteers’ sites but is intermittent; they will experience frequent electricity shortages, so rechargeable flash lights and candles are highly recommended. Volunteers living in more rural areas may have less access to homes with plumbing, running water, and electricity.

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

Taxis constitute the main mode of transportation to move from one place to the other in towns and villages. However for remote areas, public micro-buses may be more common.

Comoros is surrounded by the Indian Ocean. The staple food is rice, typically eaten with a sauce (made with fish, chicken, meat, etc.), cassava leaves (mataba), or milk. Other common food will be cassava, plantains, and taro, all of which can be boiled, fried or grilled. Depending on the season, the following fruits and vegetables will be available: mangoes, jackfruits, oranges, papaya, lychee, avocado, as well as lettuce, cabbage, carrots, cucumber, fresh tomato, fresh pepper, onions etc.

Vegetarians may have some food challenges depending on the area they are assigned to and the season, but fresh and dry beans, cassava leaves (mataba), yogurt, eggs, milk and vegetables are widely available.

Comoros is a tropical, malaria-endemic country and all Volunteers must take malaria prophylaxis as a requirement to serve in Comoros.

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 mainly Malagasy immigrants who are Roman Catholic.

Comoros is a Muslim nation and religious proselytizing is illegal. 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 community. The society is largely matrilineal where women generally inherit land and housing. Inasmuch as women play active traditional gender roles, in some rural communities they continue to stay home to take care of children and complete household chores.

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 and gender identity in their communities and host countries. Staff and currently serving Volunteers will address this topic during Pre-Service Training, and identify support mechanisms for incoming trainees.

Comoros is a very safe country and crime is not significant; violent crime is almost non-existent. On these small and interconnected islands, Volunteers need to consistently demonstrate good and safe behavior in order to maintain a positive reputation in their communities as well as preserve Peace Corps’ positive image.

Serving in Comoros

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Comoros: 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

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. To gain community acceptance, couples are advised to present themselves as married regardless of their marital status.

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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