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English Language Co-teacher

Project description

Peace Corps has a long and rich history in North Macedonia. Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs) have played a pivotal role in the country’s growth by offering their skills and talents for over 25 years with 845 Peace Corps Volunteers having successfully served in the country. Since Peace Corps North Macedonia’s inception, Volunteers have inspired their students, created sustainable projects and programs, and formed lasting person-to-person connections, leaving an enduring legacy in their host communities. Specifically, there is a need for English teachers in primary (grades 1-8) and secondary schools (grades 9-12), particularly in rural communities and smaller towns. Volunteers teach Monday to Friday, 20-30 hours a week, in addition to lesson planning and engaging in extracurricular activities (clubs and other activities at the school). The school year begins September 1 and ends June 10, with one winter break in January. The North Macedonian educational system is fairly sophisticated, and many schools are staffed with teachers who are well-trained and experienced in traditional teaching methods. However, many schools may have limited resources for teaching aids and materials. Therefore, you may work with your colleagues and community members to develop strategies to improve educational resources in your school and community.

Peace Corps North Macedonia has a successful 25-year partnership with the Ministry of Education and Science. All Volunteers will co-teach with a local English teacher counterpart. Your skills as an English Language Co-teacher will help address the demand for English education in North Macedonia. The English language teacher project focuses on accomplishing the following four objectives:
1) Improving teaching methodologies.
2) Increasing student success in English language learning.
3) Strengthening life skills of students through English.
4) Increasing community members involvement in student learning and/or school improvement.

Volunteers participate in a range of activities that include, but are not limited to, the following:
• Co-teaching and potentially assisting in the implementation of student-centered teaching methodologies
• Formulating and preparing joint lesson plans with colleagues
• Preparing interactive teaching aids, games, and classroom materials
• Developing English language-centered extracurricular activities such as drama clubs, English clubs, and summer camps
• Sharing information about American traditions and culture with students and colleagues
• Taking part in school events and events connected with North Macedonia’s traditions
• Assisting teachers in the process of inclusion of children with special needs in the classroom

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

• Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science degree in any education field, English, TEFL, or Linguistics.
• State certification in elementary or secondary education.
• Full-time classroom teaching experience in English, foreign language, or literacy with primary, middle or high school students.
• TEFL Certification.
• Experience working with people with disabilities, including physical, cognitive, emotional, and psychological disabilities.

Required language skills

There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position. Thanks to the diverse population in North Macedonia, multiple languages are spoken throughout the country. There are two languages taught in our program, Macedonian and Albanian. Some Volunteers will learn only Macedonian, while another group will learn both Macedonian and Albanian.

Peace Corps staff will be looking for Volunteers interested in learning multiple languages as some placements will be in communities where more than one language is spoken. Other languages Volunteers may find in their communities include, but are not limited to: Roma, Turkish, Bosnian, and Serbian. Peace Corps Volunteers who need support to learn an additional language are able to work with Peace Corps staff on a learning plan.

Living conditions

• Living Conditions: All Trainees will be placed with host families during Pre-Service training (the first three months in country). After training, Volunteers will move to their permanent communities, where they will live with another host family for at least the first six months. In many rural communities, the host family arrangement may be the only housing option. Typical host family accommodation provides a room with basic furniture and shared bathroom and shared kitchen facilities. Volunteers should come prepared to live as their hosts do, frugal in their use of utilities because of the high cost of electricity. The housing will be modest, yet functional, healthy, and safe.

• Social and Cultural Norms: Volunteers should expect to have much less alone time than they may be used to. North Macedonia is a collectivist society and Volunteers who spend ample time with their resource families, neighbors, and colleagues will enjoy a higher level of integration. During these interactions Volunteers should always practice COVID mitigation measures, which will be covered both pre-departure and in country. Volunteers should be aware that it is common to smoke both indoors and outdoors and it may be hard to avoid during service.

• Diet: North Macedonia has a delicious cuisine, thanks to its hyper-local production of fruits and vegetables. Fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables are readily available year-round at local markets. Typical meals consist of chicken, pork (among the Macedonian population), rice, beans, pasta, and fresh salads. While difficult at times due to the meat-heavy diet, vegetarians have successfully served in North Macedonia.

• Weather: North Macedonia has four distinct seasons. Winter lasts from November to March with some snowfall and cold temperatures, similar to the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. Temperature lows during winter may be in the range of 4-14F, depending on the area of the country. Roads are frequently icy and not cleared. Many public buildings are not heated or poorly heated. Homes will also likely be colder during the winter than in the U.S. because most homes lack central heating so Volunteers rely on wood-burning stoves and space heaters. It is very common that only one room in a home is heated and the entire family gathers there. Volunteers should come prepared with very warm winter clothes and clothes that can be layered. Summer lasts from June to September and can be hot and dry. Temperature highs during summer may be in the range of 100-110F in certain locations. Air conditioning is not available everywhere, and often not used extensively as in US even if available. Fall is rainy and foggy and spring is pleasant with some rainfall.

• Dress Code: Personal appearance is important to people in North Macedonia and teachers dress professionally at work. Some schools are more relaxed about dress codes, while others are more conservative. Both teachers and students wear uniforms in some schools, while in other schools, both can choose their own attire. Men usually wear slacks, shirts (sometimes a tie), and a sweater or a jacket in cooler weather. Women usually wear dresses, skirts (knee-length or longer), or slacks.

• Diversity and Inclusion: Volunteers of an American racial, ethnic, or national minority or whose religious or spiritual beliefs differ from the population in North Macedonia may experience a high degree of curiosity or unwanted attention. This can be uncomfortable, but Volunteers are encouraged to use these moments as opportunities to deepen local community members’ understanding of U.S. diversity by sharing their values and experiences. Peace Corps North Macedonia is committed to creating a supportive and inclusive environment for Volunteers of all backgrounds. Peace Corps Staff will address these topics during Pre-Service Training and identify support mechanisms for incoming trainees.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in North Macedonia: 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 North Macedonia welcomes couples. Your partner must apply and qualify one of the following positions:

• Community Development Associate
• NGO Advising Volunteer

Couples may be placed in separate training communities during Pre-Service Training (11 weeks); but will serve in the same community during their service.

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/.

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