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English Education Volunteer

Project description

Moldova is a small and resilient country, tucked away between Romania and Ukraine in the furthest reaches of Eastern Europe. Moldovans are known for their hospitality and have welcomed Peace Corps Volunteers into their communities for over 31 years.

Volunteers in the English Education Project support Moldovan teachers, students, and community members to strengthen their personal and professional capacities by improving English language teaching and learning, developing capacity for critical thinking, and supporting school and community-driven initiatives. This is a full-time, in-class, formal co-teaching position, requiring daily classroom instruction. Instruction is implemented with a partner teacher and complies with the English teaching curriculum requirements of the Moldovan Ministry of Education and Research. Individuals serving as English Education Volunteers co-teach with local teachers and implement a range of approaches to English language instruction, including using a communicative approach and content-based courses in English in elementary, middle and high schools, to students of ages 8 to 19 (i.e., grades 2 to 12). They develop lesson plans together with their Moldovan English-teaching colleagues, enhance each other’s creativity, using individual strengths to complement each other, and learn how to share accountability for the quality of their team-taught lessons. The Volunteer’s formal teaching schedule is from Monday to Friday.

In addition to classroom teaching, Volunteers participate in professional growth activities, including co- facilitating with English teachers in Teacher Communities of Practice (potentially including workshops, online webinars, formal and informal sharing of learning experiences), share resources, develop teaching materials with local teachers and become involved in school and community-based projects. Volunteers create, organize and run English clubs, English language libraries, and undertake and implement a variety of other extra-curricular activities. These include debate clubs, climate and environmental awareness activities, as well as provide assistance to schools in the use of computers to supplement instruction. In the summer when school is not in session, Volunteers continue with their extra-curricular and community activities in addition to local summer camps and courses for adults to provide youth and community members with opportunities to gain new skills.

Peace Corps Moldova Volunteers promote gender equity and girls’ education and empowerment through their activities. Volunteers in this program receive in-depth training on incorporating methods of gender analysis into education, community assessment, and development efforts. Volunteers are encouraged to find culturally appropriate ways to incorporate gender equity into their work and projects.

Required skills

• Competitive candidates will have a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any discipline and a strong desire to teach English

Desired skills

Competitive candidates also demonstrate one or more of the following desired qualifications and/or skills:
• A strong desire to teach English and readiness to learn foreign language acquisition methodology
• Experience working with youth
• Classroom TEFL or foreign language teaching experience or literacy tutoring
• TESOL/TEFL certificate
Strong preference is given to candidates with at least 30 hours of English, foreign language, or literacy tutoring experience with primary, middle, or high school students or adults.

Required language skills

There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position. This position does not require language background as a prerequisite to service. Experience with romance languages is, however, beneficial for learning Romanian, the primary language that Volunteers are required to learn during Pre-Service Training. As Volunteers need to work closely with professional partners and other community members with limited or no English skills, it is critical for Volunteers to have good Romanian language skills. Trainees must demonstrate, at a minimum, an oral proficiency of Intermediate Low in Romanian at the end of the 12-week training period. They are also encouraged to develop their language proficiency further throughout their service. Volunteers will also be introduced to the Russian language which is spoken in Moldova.

Living conditions

Housing: Host family accommodation provides a safe private room, food, access to laundry, and internet. Host family stays are required during Pre-Service Training and for at least the first six months in the Volunteers permanent community of service. Most Volunteers live with a host family for the full duration of their service, but they may also seek private accommodation after the required six-month period if alternative arrangements are available. Regardless of housing options, Volunteers usually form close relationships with their host families.

Travel and Communication: All Volunteers will be placed in regional clusters so their nearest Volunteers may be in the neighboring village or within 30-60 minutes by vehicle to the predetermined cluster meeting point. Every Volunteer will be placed within three hours from the Peace Corps office in Chisinau by private vehicle, though the journey on public transportation may take longer.

Volunteers are strongly encouraged to come to Moldova with a laptop. It will be used during PST and to perform daily work during service. High-speed Internet connectivity is now available in an increasing number of communities, in some cases where there is no gas or running water. Even though Internet is generally available in all communities, access may be limited due to irregular power supply.

Professional Appearance: Moldovan cultural expectations around professionalism include business casual attire and emphasize a neat appearance. Long hair, untrimmed beards, and mustaches as well as earrings for men are not common in Moldovan culture. Visible tattoos and facial piercings are not openly accepted, especially in rural communities, regardless of gender. Volunteers may be encouraged to cover visible tattoos. Additionally, Volunteers with certain hair styles (locks, hair dyed bright colors, and shaved heads for women) may receive unwanted attention and curious questions regarding their appearance.

Climate: The climate in Moldova has four distinct seasons. Winter lasts from November to March, is usually quite cold, and characterized by snowfalls. High temperatures during the summer (sometimes above 90 degrees Fahrenheit) can also be challenging, given the lack of air conditioning in most buildings.

Diversity: Peace Corps is challenging regardless of where you serve, and in some way or another Volunteers will be a minority. Volunteers who are of an American racial, ethnic, or national minority or whose religious or spiritual beliefs differ from the Moldovan majority may experience a high degree of curiosity or unwanted attention. Please be aware that American concepts of politeness and appropriate behavior are not universal. Ethnically, nationally, or racially diverse Americans may be asked where they are “actually from” or if they are “really” American. LGBTQ+ Volunteers must be thoughtful about disclosing their sexual identity in their communities and school setting and should use careful judgment and PC staff guidance to determine the best way to approach this with their counterparts and community members, if at all. Host families and counterparts are generally very accepting of all Volunteers, despite limited exposure to American diversity, and will hold their own assumptions and biases about race, ethnicity, gender and sexuality. Many Volunteers have been able to turn these encounters into learning experiences, in which they can share American values, and deepen local community members’ understanding of Americans. Pre-Service Training will address intercultural communication as well as diversity and inclusion to support successful integration for all Volunteers. We encourage you to access the Moldova Country Page on the Peace Corps website for more information regarding diversity and inclusion.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Moldova: Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, and health/crime statistics in order to make a well-informed decision about serving.

Medical considerations

Before you apply, please review medical clearance and legal clearance to learn about the process.

Couples information

Peace Corps Moldova cannot accommodate couples who work in the same sector or an English Education Volunteer and Health Education Volunteer pairing.

If one member of a couple applies for the English Education Teaching position, the other member can only be considered for the Community Development Facilitator position.

Members of couples are separated for the duration of the 11-week Pre-Service Training period, living in separate host family households, and attending training in neighboring villages. While they must work in different sectors, couples serve in the same community after their training period. Once the couple moves to their assigned site, they are required to live with a host family for at least six months but must be prepared to stay with a host family for the duration of their service, given the limited availability of appropriate alternative housing for couples. Volunteers serving as a couple should be flexible and are expected to conform to local living standards.

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