Two months from tomorrow I depart for my staging — a couple days in the US to get acquainted with my group and take care of last-minute stuff — and then for Ukraine on September 19th with my fellow Ukraine Groupe 39-ers! Wowzers. I started studying Ukrainian today and it’s tough! I think once I learn the Cyrillic alphabet (abetka) it will get easier.
So I thought you might be curious as to what I will be doing in Ukraine for 27 months — this post will reveal what I know so far:
My job title is Secondary Education TEFL Teacher. The Peace Corps TEFL program was launched in September 1993, with the goal of expanding and improving the quality of English instruction in schools and at teacher-training institutions. So this means I’ll be teaching English — conversational, communicative methodology, U.S. history/culture, American/British literature — to students ages 8-17. I will teach a minimum of 18 hours/week, made up of 6-9 classes with 12-28 students each. In addition to my teaching duties, I may be involved in developing English teaching materials and curriculum for my school, leading workshops on approaches to language teaching, and assisting with English development among my (Ukrainian) colleagues.
But those are just in-school activities… Secondary to my school-teaching will be work on community projects. These may include workshops on any number of things: healthy lifestyles, HIV/AIDS awareness, drug/alcohol prevention, multicultural awareness, ecology, journalism. I may lead English conversation clubs or educational activities at orphanages. The options seem endless! The most important thing that my assignment materials remind me of is that I will be part of a long-term development project. There won’t be quick fixes. But success often comes from a series of small changes.
So are they just going to throw me into a classroom right off the bat, you may ask? Nope — that’s where Pre-Service Training (PST) comes in. We — Ukraine Group 39, I think we’re all incoming TEFL teachers — will spend the first three months in and around Kyiv with host families, taking part in intense training, of which there are five components: technical training, language training, cross-cultural training, health training, and safety/security training. We will work in our communities to apply/develop our skills and experience, learn about Ukraine (economy, politics, education), study Ukrainian or Russian, and learn preventative health maintenance and safety measures. Halfway through PST we will get our site assignments — the place/project we will be with for the next 24 months! It could be anywhere in the country. Exciting times are ahead…
As a parting thought I leave you this video (below) showcasing the sights of Kyiv, with a pretty rockin’ soundtrack. Enjoy!
(Information courtesy of my Peace Corps/Ukraine Welcome Book and Peace Corps Assignment pamphlet. Video courtesy of YouTube.) http://www.youtube.com/v/6Ftf6napn3A&hl=en_US&fs=1