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High School English Educator

Project description

To better prepare youth for global work, high school classes in Malawi are taught in English. The stronger a student's command of English, the better chance they have to succeed academically in any subject. We invite you to work alongside partners in Malawi to support youth education by serving as a High School English Educator.

In this role, you and your Malawian colleagues will challenge your students to think critically and creatively and strengthen their command of the English language through classes that incorporate interactive techniques and facilitation. You will also collaborate on innovative teaching practices with your fellow educators through model teaching and mutual peer observation of general and English teaching skills, in addition to promoting the use of digital libraries.

After class, you and your fellow teachers will support clubs (English clubs, debate clubs, newspaper clubs, etc.) and other extracurricular initiatives that your school will choose to implement, such as establishing or improving a school library or promoting parent-educator collaboration. You will also collaborate with teachers to focus on social-emotional learning skills, helping to foster a positive learning environment through the arts as well as the clubs mentioned above. You will learn to promote the love of reading not just in your school, but also in homes, the community, and with your village leaders. High School English Educators will also have numerous opportunities to collaborate with Malawian counterparts to engage and empower girls in academic achievement, goal setting, and gender norms through dynamic clubs and camps.

Due to the prevalence of HIV amongst youth in Malawi, all Volunteers are trained on activities to support HIV prevention and are expected to implement these activities during their Peace Corps service.

In Malawi, your work will not come without unique challenges. Rural high schools sometimes have few teaching and learning resources. Peace Corps Malawi supports Volunteers with Teaching and Learning Using Locally Available Resources (TALULAR) techniques. Peace Corps Malawi promotes the use of portable digital libraries, where teaching and learning resources can be accessed by teachers and students. Students face a variety of obstacles to completing their education, such as: long distances to school, poverty, teen pregnancy, HIV, and malaria.

The training you receive from Peace Corps—combined with your unique experiences, expertise, passion to contribute to a positive change and the relationships you build in your community—will aid you in being flexible and creative when approaching your work as an High School English Educator and co-facilitator. Volunteers should be prepared to commit to two years of challenging yet highly rewarding work and to take part in the unique experience of supporting the development of Malawi’s next generation of leaders.

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 will have one or more of the following:

• Experience in classroom teaching (any subject)
• Experience mentoring and/or tutoring English language learners in schools or similar activities
• Experience promoting youth sporting activities and other talents
• Experience planning and delivering lessons in a participatory manner
• Strong communication, public speaking, and organizational skills
• Experience with youth programs

Required language skills

There are no pre-requisite language requirements for this position. During Pre-Service Training, Volunteers will receive training by Malawian language instructors to communicate in the local language used in their assigned host community. By the end of Pre-Service Training, Trainees must achieve an Intermediate-Mid level of local language ability before taking the official oath to become a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Living conditions

Typically, housing is provided by the school. Most of the houses are constructed of brick with concrete flooring and corrugated metal roofs. Homes may be located on the school grounds or nearby in the surrounding community. Like most rural residences in Malawi, the homes of Peace Corps Volunteers typically do not have electricity or running water. Volunteers use candles and solar lamps for lighting in their living spaces, cook with wood/charcoal stoves, and collect water from a nearby communal pump. Toilets are typically in the form of outdoor latrines, or squat toilets, and bathing is done using a bucket. Mobile phone coverage is available. Basic necessities such as vegetables, grains, and household goods can be purchased in the community or at a nearby market town.

Transportation: Travel in Malawi can involve long bus rides on dirt roads. Peace Corps Volunteers may walk long distances or cycle between villages for their work. Peace Corps can provide a bike to assist with daily routines.

Teaching Environment: You will be assigned to a rural high school to work five days a week from 7:30 AM to 2:30 PM. You will have additional activities that take place after school. Resources at the school may be scarce such as few teaching and learning resources. Some schools do not have electricity, instead they use small solar chargers and lamps. Teachers in Malawi are creative and learn to improvise to be successful with limited resources. The use of TALULAR and digital libraries have assisted teachers significantly to successfully carry out their work.

Volunteers must be prepared to teach between 50 and 100 students in a class and to work in conditions (both at school and at home) without electricity or running water. Volunteers must conduct themselves as a model citizen in their community. Student attendance may be sporadic due to inability to pay school fees, domestic requirements at home, and food insecurity. Amidst this, there are teachers and students who are passionate about learning and want to see themselves succeed. It is very inspiring. As a result, you can watch your students grow and flourish during your service. With your commitment and collaboration with Malawian counterparts, you will see students increase attendance and embrace the challenge of learning. The efforts of you and your fellow teachers will result in your school becoming more sensitive to gender issues.

Cultural Attitudes and Customs in the Workplace: It is important that all Volunteers respect and earn the trust of the people in your community and be open-minded, motivated, patient, and flexible in ambiguous situations. An important aspect of your work will be your ability to communicate with your community members in their language. It is also essential that Volunteers work within the hierarchical structure of the community to conduct their work in a culturally appropriate way, and always in partnership with Malawian counterparts. Your professional appearance and work habits, along with the respect and deference you demonstrate for your fellow Malawians, will go a long way toward gaining respect and credibility in the workplace.

Dress Code: Personal appearance is very important in Malawi. You will need to dress professionally for work situations in your community: button-up shirts, slacks, and dress shoes for men; sleeved blouses, long skirts, and professional shoes for women. There are some occasions (professional, holidays, weddings, swearing-in) that invite more formal attire, such as a fancier dress, a jacket, or a tie. Dressing appropriately will help you gain respect in your host community, facilitate integration, and increase your credibility and effectiveness. Peace Corps will provide additional dress guidance, and Volunteers are advised to take cues from Malawian colleagues and dress to their standards of professionalism.

Learn more about the Volunteer experience in Malawi: 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 Malawi can accommodate heterosexual couples. Your partner must apply and qualify for one of the following positions in Malawi:

Health Educator
Environment and Food Security Educator

Couples have the same living conditions as single Volunteers.

Due to cultural expectations, unmarried couples in a domestic partnership are highly encouraged to present themselves as a married couple to their host community.

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 Peace Corps’ FAQ page for Volunteers who identify as LGBTQIA+

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