The admission process of Teach For Armenia Foundation’s Leadership Development Program ends on April 30. Upon completing several stages, selected participants will start preparing for the new school year.
For the 6th time in a row, Teach For Armenia recruits various specialists, trains them to become Teacher-Leaders and places them in communities of Armenia and Artsakh for two years, where children are deprived of the opportunity to get good education due to a huge lack of teachers.
Teachers from communities often ask Teach For Armenia why they don’t involve current teachers in the program. The Foundation conducted a pilot program in a couple of regions last year by training several teachers working in villages. The results were inspiring and this year they decided to expand the “Current teachers as Teacher-Leaders” program.
Up till now, pedagogical education was not required for applying to Teach For Armenia, and selected participants were placed in the regions, taking into account not their desires but the educational needs of the community. Now, current teachers who will continue working in their community can also become participants in the program, although they will use new methodology.
“The program is the same for current teachers with one difference only: they don’t relocate, they stay in the community and in the school they are working at. Like other applicants, they have to complete the whole admission process: application, testing, assessment center, online training course, and Summer Academy. During their two-year commitment, they get mentorship and financial assistance. In addition to teaching, they form extracurricular groups and implement community impact programs,” says Gor Nazaryan, Manager of Recruitment and Engagement at Teach For Armenia.
Teachers from schools of Shirak, Lori, Tavush, Aragatsotn, Gegharkunik, Kotayk and Armavir regions (with at least 40 students) and from Artsakh (with at least 20 students) can apply to the program. The applicants must be no older than 40 years of age, have qualification of pedagogue and specialize in the subject they are teaching, as well as have at least one-year work experience in the given field. Upon completing the program, they commit to working in the same school for at least 2 years.
It is especially important to recruit teachers of mathematics, natural sciences, Armenian and English languages, as well as PE. There aren’t many applicants who want to teach these subjects.
“We are recruiting current teachers also because there aren’t many people teaching these subjects, both among teachers and applicants. According to our data, there is a big shortage of math and science teachers, over 50%. During the admission process, we will give priority to these subjects, but, of course, we will also consider the applications of those teaching other subjects,” says Gor.
Gor Nazaryan says that there are many reasons for applying to the program. It’s a good opportunity for teachers to grow professionally, implement projects and develop their own community.
“It’s an excellent opportunity for intensive training with a two-year commitment based on local and international experience. By working with teachers we help them work with new methods, so that they can engage students during the lesson to make studying interesting. Within the framework of our program, they get mentorship, which is extremely important. Each one of the teachers has a mentor who works with an individual development plan.
This program is a fantastic opportunity for those who want to direct their knowledge to the development of a given community and school. Participants also gain other knowledge and skills, such as project development and management. This is the basic knowledge that can be used to implement community programs and organize group activities.
They also receive financial assistance. Or course it differs from the salary received by the teachers who are placed in villages, because current teachers continue to live in their community, they don’t relocate and change their way of living,” says Gor Nazaryan.
Teach For Armenia is cooperating with “Armath” engineering laboratories and “StartUp Armenia” Foundation. Thanks to the financial and professional assistance, Teacher-Leaders can create “Armath” laboratories or help their students implement their innovative ideas through the “StartUp Clubs” program.
Teach For Armenia Teacher-Leaders have already established “Armath” laboratories in villages of Artsakh and Armenia on their own initiative. But starting from this September, the cooperation will be more coordinated.