Wednesday, May 19, 2010
After turning off my Ipod alarm on Friday morning, I checked my email (hoping for an update from my placement officer) and saw that there was an update in my Peace Corps toolkit! I FLEW out of my bed and ran to my living room to get my laptop and see what the update was:
"Congratulations! You have been invited to become a Peace Corps Volunteer."
After a few minutes of dancing around a freaking out I called my Mom and sent a mass text to all my family and friends. Such a relief, I was soo happy, excited and literally shaking. After calming down I realized I still had to wait to get all the details. :(
I finally (after what seemed like ages) got the invitation in the mail today!!! I've thought from the beginning that I was going to Benin. Even before I found blogs which talked about TEFL volunteers coming for training in July, I thought/hoped I would be going to Benin or Togo. I think it was a combo of me knowing someone from Benin who has family in Benin and the fact that one of the first Peace Corps blogs I read was by a volunteer in Togo.
Anyway, I digress. I am going to BENIN! I accepted the invitation about two hours ago. Here is the gist of my assignment!
Program: Secondary Education TEFL (7th-9th grade)
Job Title: English Teacher
Dates of Service: September 17th, 2010 - September 17th, 2012
Orientation Dates: July 14th-15th, 2010
Pre-Service Training (in Benin): July 16th - September 17th, 2010
As a TEFL Volunteer my primary duties will entail:
1. Preparing lesson plans and teaching as many as 200 students (not all in one class) so that they will be prepared for the following year of study and the national examination;
2. Motivating students to learn English and introducing creative thinking techniques through your lessons;
3. Helping students find ways to put into practice in daily life the basic concepts learned in class;
4. Developing and introducing new texts, materials and teaching aids based on locally available materials affordable to the school and the students;
5. Participating in faculty meetings, grading tests and supervising students;
6. Fostering mutual understanding between Americans and Beninese through involvement in community life and secondary project activities.
I will spend 16-20 hours teaching per week and am also required to take on secondary projects that contribute to the development of my community outside my primary teaching position. Ideally, secondary projects should be financed solely by local community resources, as community-funded projects tend to be the most sustainable types of projects.
As part of the Peace Corps' HIV/AIDS initiative, I will be trained to be an advocate and educator for HIV/AIDS prevention. All volunteers are encouraged to work with their host country partners to develop activities that integrate HIV/AIDS education into their primary work.
Additionally, Benin has a Gender and Development program which I will be involved in. Some activities as part of this program include distributing scholarships to needy girls, organizing girls' camps, "Take Our Daughters to Work" conferences with host country nationals, leading girls' clubs at local schools and giving training on a variety of topics pertinent to women.
I'm very excited, nervous and overwhelmed!