Peace Corps teachers in China
As Peace Corps teachers head back to the classroom this fall, they join the ranks of more than 45,000 education volunteers who have served in 131 countries since 1961.
Two Farmville volunteers are among the more than 3,000 Peace Corps volunteers teaching in 48 countries around the world. Throughout the month of September, the Peace Corps is highlighting the work of education volunteers as part of a larger effort to promote the agency’s programs around the world and showcase the professional skills that volunteers bring back to American communities following their service.
“The Peace Corps’ commitment to our education sector is reflected in our world-class training of volunteers, the teaching we do alongside our host country partners, and the dedicated professionals who return from service to become educators in the United States,” said Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen. “The two years I spent teaching as a volunteer in Tunisia transformed my career and showed me the unique privilege that teachers have to inspire achievement in the hearts and minds of their students.”
Volunteers work in elementary, secondary and post-secondary schools, teaching math, science, and conversational English, and serve as resource teachers and teacher trainers. Education volunteers also develop libraries and technology resource centers. Last year alone, volunteers collaborated with their host country partners to create more than 1,000 libraries.
Taylor Southall and Julius Jones are a married couple currently serving in the People’s Republic of China. Both Longwood University graduates are serving as secondary English education teachers at Liupanshui Normal University. In addition to teaching, they coordinate extracurricular activities including speech and song competitions, a movie club, and a cooking club for the university students.
“Most of the students at the university have never had a foreign teacher before, and many of them have never even seen a foreigner. My main goal is to be present and available for them, and to create a comfortable, relaxed environment for them to practice their English. My primary assignment is classroom teaching, English corner, and office hours. I teach Oral English and my husband teaches listening. We both focus on activities in the classroom that encourage the students to speak up,” said Taylor.
“We love that the people are genuinely kind here. More often than not, people are willing to patiently listen to what we are trying to say in their language. They are also excited to teach us about their culture,” Taylor said.
“In small villages and mega cities with 10 million plus people, when we need help navigating the city or ordering food, strangers are more than willing to help out. The people of China have been super kind to me and Taylor since we arrived in June 2017. The local cuisine has been more than amazing. It has put any Chinese food I’ve eaten in the states to shame and I can’t wait to bring back recipes to share with family and friends,” Julius said.
For more information, visit peacecorps.gov.