In the Field – Educational Project Requirements
H.E.R.O.’s education program enables volunteers to work in assigned schools alongside local teachers to enhance student proficiency in literacy, mathematics and writing. As a volunteer teacher abroad, you will also have the opportunity to teach independently, while providing support to local teachers and engaging in developmentally appropriate extracurricular activities with students. Our summer tutoring program for elementary students is usually conducted over a six-week period and volunteers are able to participate either for the entire duration or for a partial stint. Food, lodging and transportation are provided for all volunteers. Volunteers are only required to bring their own spending money and the appropriate personal attire stipulated in the general mission requirements. (For information about our year-round pilot program initiated in 2016 to support eligible students in preparing for standardized exams throughout the school year, please click here).
Crossing borders to work with students and teachers from different cultures fosters a two-way exchange, building cross-cultural understanding and new approaches to education. It can also be a personally rewarding and impactful experience. However, teaching students in a new environment can also be challenging — even for the most experienced teachers. Our guidelines outlined below were designed to ensure that both our volunteer teachers and their students are able to navigate this experience to their mutual and satisfactory benefit. These protocols are promulgated in addition to our general mission requirements available here.
- MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS
To serve as a volunteer in our Literacy program you do not have to be a licensed teacher; however you do need to be demonstrably proficient in reading, writing and mathematics, have at least completed a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and have some experience working with children.
Prior to the mission, you will meet with our volunteer coordinators and the Program Director for the Literacy program. You will receive placement information, including class/grade assignment and specific curriculum requirements pertaining to your mission. It is imperative that you spend some time reviewing the lesson plans and other curriculum requirements of the grade you will be teaching. Once onsite in Guyana, volunteers will also meet with local teachers in advance to coordinate how they will work together for the duration of the mission.
- CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT
Most students are generally energetic and eager to learn. However, they are children and behave as such. It is unlikely that they will sit silently in class and listen attentively to everything you say. Please keep this in mind and exercise appropriate patience, positive reinforcement and other constructive behavioral management techniques within your classroom; engage with local teachers for assistance in maintaining order in the classroom.
Please also consider the following key tips to ensure a successful volunteer mission with our H.E.R.O Education Program:
- Have clear objectives and think of creative ways to bring each lesson plan to life for the students
- Provide a variety of activities/lessons that are interesting and engaging
- Provide clear, concise instructions for the students
- Punctuality is important; please ensure that you arrive on time and are prepared for each class
- Make sure that your voice is always audible and the entire class can hear you
- Pace your lessons appropriately
- Deal with off-task behavior accordingly
- Celebrate student success
- Dress appropriately
- Never hesitate to reach out for help and guidance, if you need it