University English Co-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

Peace Corps Mexico assigns University English Co-Teachers 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 scholarship. Peace Corps University English Co-Teachers are part of the English for Technical and Academic Purposes (ETAP) initiative which is part of Peace Corps Mexico’s Education Program. 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.

Volunteers in the ETAP track of the Education Program, will contribute to the strategic objective of increasing professors’ and students’ capacities to communicate in English for technical and academic purposes. Some of the activities they will undertake at the university will include:

• Co-planning and co-teaching English language classes
• 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

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 and a strong desire to teach English
AND
• At least 3 months at 10 hours/month, or 30 hours, of English as a Foreign Language tutoring experience with high school students, university students, or adults

Desired Skills

Competitive candidate 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 highly competitive. Spanish language is essential for a successful service. There is limited but high-quality in-person language instruction during Pre-Service Training (PST). Trainees are expected to integrate as much as possible during PST both in and with their host-families so as to maximize exposure to Spanish through the ten-week immersion program that is PST. Every Trainee will take a Language Proficiency Interview exam at the end of their PST, 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 much more than just a border. Volunteers accepted to serve in Mexico 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 hours per week on campus with roughly 50% of that time dedicated to co-teaching, 25% for tutoring students, planning and co-planning, 12.5% for extra-curricular activities, and another 12.5% for 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, Volunteers may arrange to stay with their host family if they are able to continue hosting them, or 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. Host families 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.

Mexico is very safe for Peace Corps Volunteers. Volunteers will be responsible for their safety, and will receive professional training and support from Peace Corps staff to develop their own safety strategies. Communities and host families are vetted to increase the probability of safe and secure service, but incidents do happen. When they do, Peace Corps provides the highest quality support to victims of crime. For Volunteer safety and in order for staff to coordinate emergency responses, Peace Corps worldwide policy requires that Volunteers report their whereabouts to Peace Corps every time they spend the night outside of their home. Failure to do so may result in administrative separation from Peace Corps service.

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 at other opportunities with Peace Corps.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Mexico: 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

Mexico can accommodate couples serving together as University English Co-Teachers. Therefore, your partner must apply and qualify for one of the following positions:

University English Co-Teacher and Teacher Trainer, or
University English Co-Teacher

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 clearance process and other health conditions that are difficult to accommodate in Peace Corps service.


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