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Peace Corps Volunteer

English Language Co-Teacher and Youth Educator

Project description

Georgia has been in transition politically, socially, and economically since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Though Georgia is a country with tremendous opportunities, currently schools struggle to equip students with necessary skills in English due to lack of resources, technology, authentic practice, non-formal education opportunities, and other factors. This is particularly evident in rural and underserved communities. The government of Georgia’s stated development efforts recognize English language skills as a key tool to for Georgian citizens to attain personal, educational, and professional opportunities. Investing in youth is more important for Georgia than ever considering its declining youth population.

Volunteers in the English and Youth Engagement (EYE) for the Future project work with public schools under the supervision of the Ministry of Education, Science, and Youth of Georgia. The project expands personal, professional, and educational opportunities for students, youth and teachers through English language learning, youth development and community engagement.

Volunteers help develop students’ English language proficiency through formal classroom teaching and after-school clubs, camps, contests, and other activities.

Volunteers are assigned to public schools, where they co-plan and co-teach 18-22 hours per week in the classroom.
Volunteers are typically assigned to teach any five-seven grade levels between grades 1 and 12.

Volunteers work directly with one to three Georgian English teacher counterparts to enhance their English proficiency and improve teaching practices in the classroom through informal English language practice, conversation sessions, co-teaching, co-planning, model teaching and/or peer observations, resource development, including use of technology in teaching. Volunteers work to develop and enhance supplementary resources for teaching and learning English, or other educational materials focused on conducting clubs, camps, workshops, events, or community projects.

Volunteers work with youth on employability skills and support youth community engagement through awareness raising day celebrations, volunteering activities and employability workshops. Beyond the primary assignment, Volunteers offer intercultural exchange through American culture presentations and holiday celebrations; they encourage civic participation and support youth, particularly adolescent girls, to pursue their educational and career goals. Data shows that girls face challenges pursuing successful careers regardless of their high performance at school level.

Volunteers are expected to support their students, youth, and partners in identifying strengths and building on individual, organizational/school, and community assets to ensure that project activities are sustainable both during service and after the Volunteer completes service.
Peace Corps Georgia offers high-quality technical training and support in the areas of assignment for all trainees and Volunteers, earning a strong reputation for excellence.

Peace Corps Georgia is committed to providing all Volunteers with relevant professional and cultural training and expects commitment from trainees and Volunteers to fully participate and excel in learning new skills through these trainings.

Required skills

Competitive candidates will have:
• BA/BS in any discipline;
• Strong desire to teach English.

Desired skills

Additional desired qualifications include:
• At least 40 hours of teaching experience in a formal or non-formal setting prior to departure;
• Teaching certification in any of the following disciplines: English, TEFL, ESL, foreign language.
• BA/BS or graduate degree in English, Teaching, TEFL, Linguistics/foreign languages, Literature, Education, or Youth Development;
• Experience teaching English and/or English as a foreign language.
• Experience and/or willingness to help teachers define their professional development needs and pursue professional development goals;
• Experience and/or creativity in developing learning materials, curricula or syllabi for formal and non-formal education;
• Experience with youth after-school programs or youth development work (such as youth events, awareness days, clubs, summer camps, volunteering activities, youth employability skills training or youth community engagement)
• Strong interest in the field of education and youth development, a strong commitment to teaching and supporting youth, and a desire to work with students, youth, teachers and community, including on community initiatives and projects.

Required language skills

There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position. Recommended: Knowledge of Georgia’s unique alphabet upon arrival in country. Georgian is a Kartvelian language with a unique script, 33 letters, and some challenging sounds. Volunteers must be motivated and ready to dedicate themselves to learning a complex language that is not spoken widely outside of Georgia. In many schools and communities, there are a limited number of people who speak English. Therefore, Volunteers must commit to learning and practicing Georgian language skills as an essential element of successful service. Volunteers are required to achieve at least an intermediate low level of proficiency by the end of their 11.5-week Pre-Service Training. Peace Corps Georgia also places Volunteers in communities with predominantly ethnic minority populations (Azerbaijani or Armenian). Volunteers placed in these sites will also receive basic training in Azerbaijani or Armenian languages, sessions highlighting the local cultural characteristics, and continued language and cultural support throughout their service.

Volunteers are encouraged to take advantage of local language tutoring support throughout their service.

Volunteers with Russian language skills may find this to be an asset in some parts of Georgia and with some segments of the population. However, use of Russian language in recent years has also become sensitive with some groups, so Volunteers are advised to use cultural and situational awareness when using Russian.

Living conditions

Georgia is a small country with a rich history, culture, and cuisine. While some aspects of the cultural and physical environment may be challenging, Volunteers who are flexible, enthusiastic to integrate into their communities, and motivated to contribute to the development of others will be able to form meaningful relationships and find satisfaction in their work.

HOUSING
Trainees and Volunteers are required to live with host families during Pre-Service Training and three months after swearing-in. Although Volunteers are eligible to move into separate housing after the initial three months of service, most Volunteers choose to live with host families for their entire service because of the close relationships, safety, and cultural integration it affords. In many small sites there will be a scarcity of independent housing options and therefore living with a host family for two years may be the only option available for the Volunteers. However, some of the host families in Georgia offer compound living situations. The experience of living with a host family in Georgia is often one of the most rewarding aspects of Volunteer service. Families offer Volunteers a deeper understanding of local culture and customs and help them become an integral part of the community. Peace Corps Georgia host families represent a regional, religious, language and ethnic diversity of Georgia. In every host family setting, Volunteers have a private room with a functioning lock on the door. Every household is equipped with a kitchen, bathroom, and at least one room with a heating source for cold weather periods. The plumbing in the houses is mostly indoors, but sometimes outdoor taps can be used in the villages. Most village type houses have squat toilets, but some of them also have Western style toilets additionally. Houses are mostly built with natural materials (e.g. bricks, concrete, etc.) In Western Georgia second floor of most houses is made of wood.

TRADITIONS INVOLVING ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION
Alcohol is prevalent in Georgian society. Georgian men may consume large quantities of alcohol at supras (traditional Georgia meals led by a toast master) - mostly homemade wine or vodka - and drink full glasses in one gulp. Georgian women generally consume less alcohol and do so mainly at gatherings of women. In mixed-gender settings, women participate in the toasting but generally consume moderate amounts of alcohol. To maintain a professional image and adhere to policy, Volunteers should consume alcohol in moderation and never appear obviously intoxicated in public. Volunteers will be taught strategies for how to say no and avoid excessive alcohol consumption while remaining culturally sensitive and will be introduced to Peace Corps alcohol policies during PST. All Volunteers are advised to follow guidelines of minimal drinking.

DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION
Georgia has strictly defined and conservative gender roles, especially for women. Georgia is seeing increasing numbers of international visitors but, as foreigners, Volunteers may still experience unwanted attention in their communities. Ethnically diverse Volunteers may face additional unwanted attention. While same-sex relationships are not considered a crime, sexual orientation and gender identities are typically considered taboo topics. As a general practice in the past, LGBTQ+ Volunteers have chosen to be discreet about their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Peace Corps is committed to creating a supportive and inclusive environment for Volunteers.

Please view the Georgia Country page to learn more about living conditions in Georgia: https://www.peacecorps.gov/georgia/preparing-to-volunteer/living-conditions/

Get detailed information on culture, communications, housing, and safety (including crime statistics) to make a well-informed decision about serving: https://www.peacecorps.gov/georgia/preparing-to-volunteer/safety-and-security/

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Georgia: 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 Georgia can accommodate couples that serve together in the same or different sector. Due to cultural expectations, couples in a domestic partnership are highly encouraged to present themselves as a married couple to their host community due to local cultural expectations.

Couples are placed together in one host family's home for the duration of Pre-Service Training. After swearing-in as Volunteers, couples will also be placed together at their permanent site.

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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