04 September 2009


On October 6th, we will meet a handful of our fellow volunteer trainees in LA for one day of "staging." We are guessing that this is just to get all the volunteers in the same place, hand out the official Peace Corps passports that we just applied for, and get any last paperwork done before actually flying out.

On October 7th, we'll board the plane for Tonga, to start 10 weeks of intensive language, culture, technical, and vocational training in the capital city, Nuku'alofa. Having not had much teaching experience in the past, we are both especially glad that the training will probably include quite a bit of experiential student teaching as well as covering various teaching methods. We'll have to prove sufficient competency in these areas before we are sworn in officially as volunteers in December, with big fanfare and ceremony. After that ceremony, we'll start another three months or so of on the job training at our specific location.

During that training time, we'll also be given our final job placements; which island we'll be on, the school(s) in which we'll be teaching, and who we'll be reporting to. The Peace Corps does not give the final details until after most of the training, because a lot of the specific details depend on their observation of each volunteer during training, as well as input from the volunteers themselves once we have had a chance to get our bearings in-country.

Our Jobs:
(Taken from our "Assignment Descriptions")
Elena: Business Advising/Educator
  • Teach basic economics and accounting as per an established Ministry of Education curriculum 
  • Design an additional school-based curriculum that will introduce specific business skills courses that address business issues relevant to Tonga
  • Design instructional materials for the classroom, expand extra-curricular activities and educational resources related to business
  • Work with local community groups to organize, design, and implement a variety of educational and professional skills development activities
Mark: English Teacher
  • Teach alone and team-teach English
  • Improve ESL instruction and informal classroom assessment
  • Expand extra-curricular activities and educational resources
  • Facilitate educational outreach and community development activities by working with students and community groups to organize, design, and implement a variety of school-based educational or professional/life skills development activities
  • As needed, possibility of teaching technical skills, mathematics, and science

Just like volunteers have to apply for a Peace Corps position, host country organizations have to apply for volunteers. Along with demonstrating a job need, in our case, the schools have to provide sufficient housing that meets safety requirements and is a certain distance from the job; this could range in quality from a traditional structure with no electricity, to living with a host family for the two years, to a cement block house with its own internet connection. Our orientation materials say that most volunteers live in their own house with electricity and running water, and close to their place of work, so we are guessing that our accommodations will be similar.
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