University English Teacher

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Project Description

The Peace Corps Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) Project began its activities in 1993. The Ministry of Education and Science (MOES) of Ukraine requested English teachers to help expand and improve the quality of English language education. More than 2000 TEFL Volunteers have served successfully in Ukraine. The success of secondary school level Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) Volunteers led to the expansion of the project to universities and In-Service Teacher Training Institutes in 1998.

The Peace Corps TEFL Project aims to enhance teachers’ and students’ English language communication abilities and to encourage independent thinking and problem solving through the creation of a motivating and interactive learning environment. Volunteers transfer language and teaching skills through team-teaching with Ukrainian teachers and facilitate professional development workshops on contemporary methodologies and student-centered techniques. Along with English teaching and professional trainings Volunteers promote attitudes and skills essential for a shift to a market economy and democratic society – problem solving, critical thinking, civic responsibility, environmental awareness and healthy life style.

Enabling Policy Environment

Ukraine is in the middle of a pivotal democratic transition with a clear trajectory of reform. The main focus is made on the Law On Higher Education which was adopted in 2014. Some of the essential changes in the area of higher education were the implementation of the Bologna process, the attempts to become part of the EU research network and the liberalization of higher education system in Ukraine. The reform perceives higher education as a public good and responsibility and it aims to: improve the quality of higher equation in two main directions: teaching and research-scientific work. Volunteers will work alongside their counterparts to improve English proficiency through team-teaching conversational English or content-based English, typically around 18 hours per week. Everyday formal and informal communication in English with you will increase the self-confidence of English teachers to use English in their classrooms, and equip them with new, student-focused, interactive, and communicative methods of teaching.
Volunteer presence, especially in underserved locations, can make a real difference in a student life. Volunteers help foster students' interest in learning English as a language of international communication. Volunteers promote cross-cultural learning exchange through English language initiatives outlined in the MOES reforms including a greater emphasis on English instruction at a college level, facilitating regular teacher training events/clubs, supporting summer camps at all sites they serve, promote inclusive education and student-centered learning.

Especially in the eastern and central regions of Ukraine, Volunteers will place a special focus on working with internally displaced people (IDPs). You will be able mainstream young people who are in institutions and help integrate internally displaced people into their new communities. Your work to encourage dialogue between young Ukrainians of all ethnic, social and economic groups will make Ukraine stronger.
University Education Volunteers implement community projects, assist in establishing English language clubs and resource centers, and promote healthy lifestyle and volunteerism. Volunteers sometimes place a special focus on socially disadvantaged, special needs, and internally displaced people. In the summer, after regular teaching hours and during breaks you can run community English clubs, camps for literature, creative writing, etc. University Volunteers also hold career development workshops, women’s empowerment seminars, and speaking clubs. They often work in libraries, run debate clubs, and promote technology for development.

As a University Education Volunteer, you will work at pedagogical universities/colleges or other educational establishments, and facilitate teacher professional development trainings at the In-Service Teacher Training Institutes. You will be teaching English, modeling communicative methodologies, and promoting critical thinking and problem solving skills. In addition, you will be sharing American culture and demonstrating values such as diversity, tolerance, and the open exchange of information.

You will also work with teachers' associations and educational departments to provide teacher trainings to help improve their language skills and share English language teaching practices. It is very important for you to build a strong relationship with your counterpart(s) and cooperate in the classroom with Ukrainian teachers as your ultimate goal is to develop your counterparts' capacity to continue similar work after your departure.

University Education Volunteer teach 18 academic hours/or nine pairs per week. You will teach six to nine groups of 12 to 20 students. Your students' ages will range from 15 to 23. For Volunteers placed at Teacher Training Institutes, your institution will usually provide periodic 2-3 week courses for teachers. Regular hours of operation are from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Your schedule and teaching load will be determined in collaboration with your colleagues. Students and teachers are trying to improve transparency in their education, and you can have a front row seat to this process. Ukrainian University students are hungry for a Western-style education, and eager to improve their English.

Higher Education is undergoing of reform process which is a radical shift in educational methodology conceived through a highly participatory process. Students and teachers are trying to improve academic integrity in their education, and you can have a front row seat to this process. Ukrainian University students are hungry for a Western-style education, and eager to improve their English.
TEFL Volunteers and their counterparts will support the education reforms at the level of individual teachers and students through the people-to-people approach that best characterizes Peace Corps. Volunteers can do their part to strengthen the autonomy of district and regional schools, support schools to be more inclusive, and work directly with teachers and empower them with more independence in the classroom. Most importantly, they focus on the learner so overall educational outcomes are improved.
As a teacher you will respect and protect the rights and dignity of the learners you meet. You will prepare and deliver thoughtful and impactful lessons. You will also listen to students’ voices, hear their opinions, and protect their rights to education, participation, assembly, expression, etc.
Teachers will also promote world peace and friendship because peace begins in the classroom. By being a good, patient, and kind teacher, you will be part of the peace process. You will help students develop the values, knowledge, attitudes, skills, and behaviors to live in harmony with themselves and others. In return for the respect you demonstrate to your community, you and your hard work will be appreciated and respected.

Required Skills

• MA in English, MAT (Master of Arts in Teaching), TEFL, TESOL, EFL, TESL, or Linguistics;
• MA/MAT in any foreign language;
• MA in Liberal Arts with some teaching experience; and/or
• MS with some teaching experience.
• Flexibility, adaptability, emotional maturity, ability to overcome challenges, cross-cultural awareness and sensitivity, creativity, and sincere commitment to Peace Corps service.

Desired Skills

• Strong communication skills;
• Prior experience in organizing camps and/or extracurricular activities;
• IT skills;
• Any background with displaced, refugee children;
• Any background with inclusive education, mainstreaming, or related activity;
• Youth engagement: dance, drama, music, sports activities

Required Language Skills

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

The Ukrainian language is considered to be a difficult – but not impossible – language to learn. The key to success is attitude.

Peace Corps Ukraine offers a strong, 9-week, pre-service language learning program to get you started with your language learning journey. Ukrainian is the national language, and every Volunteer is advantaged by having a language foundation in Ukrainian. Volunteers should be prepared to serve in Ukrainian-speaking communities even if they bring Russian language skills. However, many communities also speak Russian outside of formal settings because Ukraine is a bilingual country. Volunteers may elect to switch to Russian after training, but their training in Ukrainian will remain an asset.

Trainees must demonstrate a minimum novice-mid oral proficiency in Ukrainian by the end of pre-service training.

Prior experience of studying a foreign language will be of use.

Living Conditions

• Host Family
Host family stays are required during the 9 week pre-service training (PST) and initial 3 months of service. A host family may be the only option for Volunteers during their service in some communities.
You will eat with your Ukrainian family. The Ukrainian diet is bread-based diet with lots of wheat and grain breads, pork and dairy prepared daily. It is also very rich in fruits and vegetables during the summer, but mostly root vegetables during the winter months. Nearly 50% of Ukrainian households have indoor pets, and cats or dogs can be expected in many homes. Host family accommodation provides a safe private room with basic furniture and shared bathroom and kitchen facilities.
After the first three months of service, Volunteers may move into separate housing. Other options for housing may include a room in a dormitory, a private apartment or house, or a part of a family house. Volunteers may choose to live with their host families for the duration of their service, and finding this experience Volunteers will be expected to take part in the household chores. Ukrainians methods for household chores are different from those in the USA, and they will typically clean more than an average American household, and have less clutter. Volunteers will be expected to keep their living space neat and clean and according to the standard of their host family.
• Diversity Challenges
We encourage you to access our website for more information regarding diversity and inclusion at:
Peace Corps is challenging regardless of where you serve, and in some way or another you will be a minority and may invite unwanted attention. Peace Corps Ukraine’s pre-service training will address these types of issues to prepare you for service. Despite limited exposure to minorities, segments of Ukrainian society are gradually becoming more tolerant with regards to ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation. Ukrainians are not used to the wide range of diversity represented by the U.S. Consequently, diversity may be sometimes perceived with surprising curiosity and sometimes with blatant racism.
Peace Corps is committed to creating a supportive and inclusive environment for Volunteers of all backgrounds throughout service. In 2017, Peace Corps Ukraine created an Intercultural Competence, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Working Group to ensure volunteers are able to discuss diversity related questions or concerns with peers and/or staff throughout service. Volunteers of a diverse range of backgrounds have been able to successfully serve in Ukraine.
• Transportation
Volunteers will use public transportation just as most Ukrainians do. The country is well-served by trains. On shorter routes, Volunteers use mini-buses for inter-city transportation. Many roads are in poor conditions. Volunteers usually walk from home to the first available transportation, and this could take between 10 to 45 minutes In most small villages walking is the main way of getting around or getting to the main road. High car accident rate and pickpocketing are main Safety and Security threats for travelers. PCVs are provided with the respective training on how to mitigate the risks during Pre-Service Training.
• Climate
The climate in Ukraine includes four distinct seasons and is similar to the upper Midwest or upstate New York. Winter lasts from November to March and can be cold with heavy snowfalls and ice.
• Dress
Men and women should bring business casual clothing for work and casual settings. A specific packing list will be provided to you. When it comes to packing, less is more. Also, Volunteers tend to over pack for winter and forget that Ukraine can be very warm in the summer, and air conditioning is uncommon.
If you find that your current wardrobe is lacking in the recommended apparel, many Volunteers also find appropriate affordable clothing when they arrive. There

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Ukraine: 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 Ukraine has volunteer placements for couples.

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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