By engaging in a teaching mission in 2019 or 2020, volunteers have the opportunity to support schools in Africa. On these projects, volunteers help local teams to provide the best possible education to children, often from disadvantaged backgrounds, from kindergarten to high school, and sometimes even to adults in need of training. The tasks you will be assigned are diverse, but your English skills will be particularly mobilized. Going to teach abroad is the assurance of giving your time to a cause that is really worth it and to meet new people.
Where and for whom to get involved: some examples of missions
In a volunteer teaching assignment, you may be called upon to give classes to students of all ages and in a variety of contexts.
- In nursery school
During a teaching mission in a nursery school, the volunteers organize activities for children from 3 to 5 years old. In this type of project, creativity and motivation are particularly valuable qualities for volunteers.
- In primary school
There are many projects that offer volunteers the opportunity to work in primary schools. The age of your students varies depending on the classes you will be assigned to and whether you feel more comfortable with children aged 5, 6, 7, or older children aged 8, 9, 10, or 11.
Give English, French or computer classes (office automation, Internet browsing…) in primary schools in Ghana, a small English-speaking country in West Africa. By taking part in this project, you are supporting local staff and children, who are unwillingly suffering from the lack of resources and staff in the Ghanaian public service. More details on this project.
Volunteers taking part in this project have the opportunity to give children lessons in English, French (which is one of the official languages of the country), or other subjects according to your skills. Classes are conducted with the support of a local teacher or independently, depending on your level of confidence and experience. More information on this volunteer mission.
- In middle school and high school
The way secondary schools operate varies from country to country, but often foreign language courses start in high school, where volunteers have the opportunity to teach pre-teens and teenagers aged 12, 13, 14, 15 and over.
For what purpose: what tasks are volunteers assigned?
- Give language courses
Western volunteers are mainly sought after for their language skills.
In general, the most valuable skill is English, for several reasons. First, English is very important for countries dependent on tourism, where English skills can help children have better prospects for the future and employment. English classes are also important in countries where it is an official language (e. g. Ghana or Tanzania), but where it is rarely known by children from working class backgrounds, who only know the local language, and therefore leave at a disadvantage compared to others.
You can also use your skills in your mother tongue in French-speaking countries (such as Togo, Benin or Morocco). These projects are ideal for volunteers who wish to make themselves useful but do not have enough confidence in their ability to teach English, or for teachers, trainers and/or students in French as a Foreign Language.
- Teaching other subjects
In addition to language courses, volunteers are also often offered the opportunity to lead courses in other subjects:
- computer science,
However, it should be noted that if you are going to teach a subject other than English or French, it is essential that you be able to communicate with children in a language they understand. The requirements are normally mentioned in the project description, and we invite you to contact the organisations via the contact form (at the bottom of each project page) if you have any doubts about what is expected of you once you are there.
When: at what time is it possible to commit?
If you want to engage in a humanitarian mission in teaching, be aware that if the courses are given in an official context (school, college, high school, etc.), the children have holiday periods, during which you will not be able to work. Dates and periods obviously vary according to countries and continents, but children may be likely to have holidays during:
- in summer, in June, July and August,
- winter and the holiday season, with December and January.
- spring (April, May) or autumn (October, November) holidays.
It is very rewarding to have participated in a volunteer program. I had the opportunity to have a babysitter I hired through Bsit who went to Africa to volunteer and she talked about it a lot with my children. She had a real sense of sharing and a good dose of pedagogy. I can only encourage you to volunteer if you wish.