University English Co-Teacher
As the only Peace Corps host-country in the world 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 is a national priority for the Mexican government. English represents a key that opens doors to the knowledge, economy, scientific and technical exchange, as well as to employment, commerce, and social mobility.
University English Co-Teachers in Mexico serve as linguistic and cultural ambassadors, collaborating to increase mutual understanding and professional opportunities for Mexican students and teachers. University English Co-Teachers 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 under-resourced communities, and many are on scholarship. University English Co-Teachers serve as on-site support for English teachers and learners, as well as a link to professional and academic opportunities through strategic partners such as the Regional English Language Officer (RELO), English Fellows Program, Fulbright, and EducationUSA.
Successful Volunteers support English language learning through teaching, co-planning, co-teaching, teacher training, student mentoring, and on or off-campus extracurricular activities with students and faculty. Co-planning and co-teaching take place mainly with part-time university English teachers and other faculty members who deliver technical coursework in English.
Additionally, University English Co-Teachers 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 to a teacher’s professional development, and exemplify a sustainable approach to English education in Mexico.
As a University English Co-Teacher, you will contribute to the strategic objective of Mexican students attaining communication skills in English that are necessary for them to access academic and/or professional opportunities. Some of the activities you will undertake at your university may 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, cultural awareness instruction for mobility program students, setting up language laboratories with open source resources, etc.;
• Mentoring and providing career counseling to students, including reviewing English-language resumes, practicing English-language job interviews, and helping to 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
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.
Qualified 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
Competitive candidates will have at least one or more of the following:
• Master of Arts (MA) in English, Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT), Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL), Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), English as a Foreign Language (EFL), Teaching English as a second language (TESL), or Linguistics;
• MA/MAT in any foreign language;
• Co-planning/co-teaching experience;
• Teacher training experience;
• Experience teaching high school, university, or adult students;
• Effective classroom management techniques;
• Experience providing written and/or verbal feedback, mentoring, and support to address challenges faced by students and faculty; or
• Academic or work experience in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or business administration.
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.
Spanish language proficiency is essential for a successful and satisfying service. Candidates who have more Spanish than the minimum requirement are most successful at integrating into their communities and work environment. There is high-quality, but limited, in-person Spanish instruction during Pre-Service Training. Trainees are expected to integrate as much as possible with their host-families so as to maximize exposure to Spanish throughout the ten-week training program. Every Trainee will take a Language Proficiency Interview exam at the end of Pre-Service Training, and must achieve an ACTFL-certified level of Intermediate Mid in order to swear-in as a Peace Corps Volunteer.
Candidates are encouraged to work on improving their language skills on their own before departing for Peace Corps Mexico.
The United States and Mexico are very interdependent and share much more than just a border. PCVs 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 are adjacent to networks of small communities 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 such a long 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% 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 limited bus schedules. Volunteers may occasionally be asked to substitute teach for university English teachers who are sick or who 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 those first three months, some Volunteers decide to live independently in apartments or small houses, while others continue to live with a host family. Host families may be a two-parent family with children, a grandmother living alone, a single parent who works all day, or any other type of family.
Additional information on living conditions you may encounter during service can be found at: https://www.peacecorps.gov/mexico/preparing-to-volunteer/living-conditions/
Through inclusive recruitment and retention of staff and Volunteers, the Peace Corps seeks to reflect the rich diversity of the United States and bring diverse perspectives and solutions to development issues in Mexico. Additionally, ensuring diversity among staff and Volunteers enriches interpersonal relations and communications for the staff work environment, the Volunteer experience, and the communities in which Volunteers serve. Our definition of diversity can include, but is not limited to: race, ethnicity, gender identity, age, religion, education, ability. During PST, multiple sessions and guidance will be provided to discuss diversity and inclusion. For more specific information about diversity and inclusion as it relates to serving as a Volunteer in Mexico, 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 were to face 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.
Mexico can accommodate couples serving together as University English Co-Teachers. Both partners must apply and qualify for this position. Couples will live in the same town, but are normally assigned to separate universities to have greater impact. However, they could be assigned to the same university depending on the circumstances.
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 this time, couples may choose to stay with the host family, or rent an apartment or small house. 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.
The Peace Corps works to foster safe and productive assignments for same-sex couples, and same-sex couples are not placed in countries where homosexual acts are criminalized. Because of this, same-sex couple placements are more limited than heterosexual couple placements. During the application process Recruiters and Placement Officers work closely with same-sex couple applicants to understand current placement opportunities.
For more information please visit: https://www.peacecorps.gov/faqs/lgbtq/.
Before you apply, please review Medical Information for Applicants to learn about the medical clearance process.
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