PRE PEACE CORPS:

Along with my invitation packet, the Peace Corps provided a small booklet that is referred to as my “Volunteer Assignment Description” and this essentially summarizes what I will be doing in Rwanda for the next 27 months.

Following training, I will be placed in one of the 5 provinces of Rwanda (North, South, East, West, or Kigali) as a secondary school teacher. I will be given a counterpart (who I will be working with, maybe in the classroom, maybe not) and a supervisor. Generally, a Peace Corps English teacher has the following duties:

  • Teaching English as a foreign language
  • Teaching Math and Science at secondary level
  • Train subject area teachers on more effective ways to teach English
  • Implement learner-centered methodologies that are relatively innovative in some Rwandan classrooms
  • Provide ICT (Information and Communication Technology) support to secondary schools, colleges, universities, institutions, and projects;
  • Support students and teachers to improve ICT skills
  • Develop (along with host Rwandan teachers) compilations of lesson plans, teaching materials, and language resource centers
  • Assist the Ministry of Education through its decentralized offices with English teacher training activities
  • Help schools and communities with resource mapping (serving as a liason with international and local funding sources for projects)

More than all of these more formalized duties, however, Peace Corps makes it clear that above all I will be a teacher, learner, colloborater, motivator, and community member all at once.

Along with teaching around 15 – 20 hours per week in the school, I will have other commitments that come with teaching, as well as opportunities to develop what Peace Corps calls “secondary projects.” These are projects that are aimed to address a need within a community but also be something that the volunteer is also very interested in.

In my final interview I discussed an idea of creating and organizing a community wide soccer tournament as to increase access to recreational opportunities for the youth, and the placement officer said this was a good example of a secondary project, and that sports are usually great tools to reach people in a given community. I am hoping I will be able to pursue something like this while teaching in my community.

DURING SERVICE:

My job? Y’all forget it. Now that I’m well over 18ish months into this thing, it’s far from a job anymore. It’s my life. All of the things above are true. But, I wrote them from the information that Peace Corps provided. How could I really know?

I wake up every morning in my village, drink coffee, and usually run. These are the consistent things in my life. Usually, I teach, and usually I visit students. I try in my spare time to work on projects (sports development and creating a library) and outside of work, I cook, read, and just hang around the road. It’s really fun, promise. Some days, I love this life more than I have loved anything. Some days, I wish I could run far far away. But the best part is, that 90% of the time I genuinely think I have the best “job” in the world. And the rest of the time? Well, I find the people I love and have them remind me why I came in the first place. If you think you might be interested in Peace Corps and have questions, feel free to email me! Would love to answer. If you think this is for you, well, go for it. No regrets.

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