University English Teacher for Technical and Academic Purposes

Before You Apply

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Project Description

Peace Corps Mexico has a unique program to promote science and technology. The program works under the National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT) and has traditionally placed Volunteers in public research centers throughout central Mexico to help promote innovation and technology transfer. Recently the Peace Corps has expanded its program to place Volunteers in technical universities where University English Teachers for Technical and Academic Purposes have the opportunity to contribute to the formation of Mexico's future scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs. This shift enables Peace Corps to target training to Mexico's technical universities and assist them in developing and implementing their English curriculum to increase access to educational mobility opportunities. These opportunities include the 100K Strong Americas Program and the U.S.-Mexico Bilateral Forum on Higher Education, Innovation, and Research (FOBESI), two bilateral agreements between the U.S. and Mexico that have created a high demand for English teachers in Mexico.

Volunteers collaborate with technical universities offering higher educational opportunities to students from low-income families. In most cases, they are located in towns, outside cities, to serve students from rural communities. These universities do not have native English speakers as professors, so students benefit greatly from interacting with Volunteers. Volunteers are assigned mostly to universities adopting the new “BIS” (Bilingual, International and Sustainable) educational model. This model is based on the development of student competencies that will allow them to succeed and become leaders in a global knowledge economy and serve as social change agents. A few of these universities are implementing exciting new programs and initiatives addressing the needs of students with disabilities (hearing and sight impaired). Volunteers facilitate English language instruction for undergraduate engineering or business majors.

In addition to teaching daily, Volunteers plan their lessons and assess students’ progress. Other activities include: facilitating conversation clubs, designing course curricula in English, developing materials, recommending teaching resources, and preparing students for oral presentations, writing professional resumes, and practicing for future job interviews in English. Volunteers with teacher training experience may provide TEFL methodology trainings or workshops to other English teachers. Volunteers also assist in test preparation (such as TOEFL/TOEIC). Volunteers are expected to co-teach with English faculty as well as professors of science/business subjects, so students can improve their technical vocabulary. In some cases, Volunteers need to develop their own instructional material. Volunteers will be teaching mostly to students with very basic knowledge of English. Providing one-on-one instruction and tutoring is also part of the Volunteer’s assignment. Volunteers are encouraged to get involved in the university’s extracurricular activities or community projects to promote understanding of American culture and volunteerism.

As Peace Corps Mexico expands its program to work with more universities, there is a possibility that you will be the first Volunteer in your site. This will give you the opportunity to pave the way for the program and identify firsthand the activities where volunteers can have more impact.

Required Skills

Candidates will have one or more of the following criteria:
• Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in English, Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), English as a Second Language (ESL), Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL), foreign language, or Applied Linguistics
• Master of Education (M.Ed.) with graduate or undergraduate concentration in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL, TESL, or foreign language
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in Secondary Education with concentration in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL, TESL, or foreign language
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline with secondary education state certification in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL, TESL, or foreign language
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL, TESL, or foreign language with 6 months classroom teaching experience at the secondary level in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL, TESL, or foreign language
• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline with classroom teaching experience at the secondary level in English, TEFL, TESOL, ESL, TESL, or foreign language

Desired Skills

• Competitive candidates will have a master's degree in English, Teaching, TEFL, TESOL, EFL, TESL, Linguistics, or any foreign language
• At least three years of experience teaching upper level students (university and/or high level ESL students)
• Experience in adult training or working in an academic environment
• Classroom management experience
• Interest in teaching English at a university level
• Excellent interpersonal communication skills and cultural sensitivity
• Background in science, technology, engineering and/or business administration
• Experience providing effective feedback, mentoring and support to students and colleagues
• Flexibility, adaptability, initiative, emotional maturity and ability to overcome challenges, cross-cultural awareness, resourcefulness and sincere commitment to Peace Corps service

Required Language Skills

There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position. Please take a moment to explore the Language Comments section below to find out more on how local language(s) will be utilized during service.

Additional Language Information

Competitive candidates for this program will have at least a minimum level of Spanish. Peace Corps Mexico strongly encourages all applicants to our program to begin studying Spanish as soon as possible. Language skills are key to integration as well as a safe and productive service. The more Spanish you have before arriving will only positively contribute to a productive service. Counterparts –university professors– will usually have a good command of English and Volunteers will be expected to speak English at all times to students. However, commitment to learning the language will be appreciated and fundamental for safety, security and integration into the Mexican culture.

Living Conditions

Universities are located in states of central Mexico. They are established on the outskirts of medium-to-large-size cities, near industrial parks, or adjacent to small towns to provide access to students from rural areas. Volunteers should expect to commute approximately one hour each way on public transportation. Volunteers are expected to work regular office hours (Monday-Friday; 9am-5pm) or the schedule agreed upon with the university.

Host family stays are required during the 11-week Pre-Service Training (PST) and initial 3 months of service at site. Host family accommodation during PST in Querétaro provides a private room in a family home with basic furniture and private or shared bathroom facilities. The Volunteer will live with the new host family for 3 months in site. After the first three months of service, other options for housing may include a room in a shared house, a private apartment or house, or a part of a family house. Whenever possible, we encourage Volunteers to continue living with their host family, which will help them integrate in the community.

Peace Corps Mexico seeks to reflect the rich diversity of the U.S. and bring diverse perspectives and solutions to development issues in Mexico. Once Volunteers arrive at their sites, diversity and inclusion principles remain the same but take on a different shape, in which your host community may share a common culture and you are the outsider. 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/.

In most of the central region of Mexico, and throughout the mountainous areas, it can be cold in the evening through much of the year. Daytime highs can get very hot, but a rain jacket and hat are often useful in the evenings. Some cities or towns are known as more traditional and others as more progressive. Rural areas and most small towns of Mexico are characterized by more traditional and conservative cultural and societal values. Volunteers should learn and be respectful of their practices, customs, and way of life.

Peace Corps Mexico requests that each host university provides the minimum materials necessary for the Volunteer to do his/her job, but at the same time we expect Volunteers to be flexible, use available resources, seek alternatives, and be creative in working in different environments. The most common university setting provides a shared work space for the Volunteer, and occasionally a computer.

Volunteers who work in a university environment will generally be expected to dress more professionally than those in rural field positions. Typically, men wear pants with a polo or long-sleeve shirt. Men never wear sandals in a professional work environment, and doing so could easily be perceived as a lack of respect for your collegues or organization. Women wear skirts, pants, or other business casual clothing. We encourage all Volunteers to bring one outfit for formal occasions (women—dress or long skirt/suit; men—jacket, shirt, tie, appropriate shoes).

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 in 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 assignments.

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.

Medical Considerations in Mexico

  • Mexico may not be able to support Volunteers with the following medical conditions: ongoing counseling.
  • The following medication(s) are not permitted for legal or cultural reasons: Adderall.
  • Volunteers who should avoid the following food(s) may not be able to serve: none identified.
  • After arrival in Mexico, Peace Corps provides and applicants are required to have an annual flu shot and to receive mandatory immunizations.

Before you apply, please also review Important Medical Information for Applicants [PDF] to learn about other health conditions typically not supported in Peace Corps service.


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