Teach for Palestine

Teach for Palestine

This organization has been expired and its programs are no longer offered.


Teach for Palestine is a registered public charity 501 (c)(3) that recruits volunteers to be English teachers and mentors for Palestinian youth and refugees. Based in Nablus, the program aims to give at-risk youth the tools needed for a successful future, by strengthening their English language fluency. International teachers are recommended to have prior experience and a TEFL certificate.


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Yes, I recommend this program

First let me state the old regime of Teach for Palestine (TFP) was terrible. Management made life in a difficult place an even bigger challenge. For example, placing our photocopier which we needed regularly on the other side of the city in someone's garage, also known as the TFP Office. Thankfully, there has been a complete turnover and the new management are people I worked with as volunteers, who I respected for their dedication when we worked together.

I was placed in a refugee camp on the outskirts of Nablus and worked in a rundown community centre with a large half-covered gap in the wall and a missing window pane. Conditions like this make the experience though, you get to see the real Palestine. 5 days a week I would teach 3 classes to varying class sizes and levels. There was supposed to be a low, medium, and high class, but I found I had a low, medium low, and medium class. I was often overwhelmed by the behaviour management issues I had to deal with on a daily basis. However, the kids are the best part and despite everything I had to deal with they made everything worth while.

Everyday, after work, I would walk back to our apartment through the ancient Souk (market). Down cobble stone lanes lined with vendors and a street with an street with a mosque and a church. I would stop by a falafal stand for a 2 1/2 shekel falafal sandwich. It is a routine I miss. I recommend Teach for Palestine for the people you will work with, the students you will have the pleasure of teaching, and the incredible region that is Israel/Palestine

What would you improve about this program?
Better support and appreciation for volunteers.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Like the last two reviews, my experience with Teach for Palestine was with the previous management and it was less than stellar. Communication was bad, support was fairly non-existent, and even respect from the managers was something I rarely experienced. However, and there will be a lot of howevers in this review, the experience was genuinely special. My fellow volunteers were amazing people and we cultivated a family atmosphere in our apartment right from the start. My students were amazing and I will never forget many of them. The city and the Palestinian community was largely welcoming and I never felt unsafe. If you do end up choosing TFP, you will not regret your choice of location.

Again, my experience was tarnished by the management. However, there has been a change in leadership and the current organizers are largely the same teachers I was lucky enough to be living with in my time there. While I cannot guarantee they will be nice (they're the bosses after all), I can confidently say that I believe they will be fair and that they are doing their best to improve upon the mistakes of the past.

If you go, be prepared for simple living quarters. Internet is slow but available, there is no cable, and electricity is a genuine concern which can cramp the lifestyle that many of us have gotten used to. This is something you should have already realized before going to a place like Palestine though. When speaking to the management during the hiring process, be sure to insist on details concerning your role and placement in the organization. Though they may not have worked out all the details before the start of the teaching period, they should have enough to tell you what your costs should be, if you will be required to pay your transportation to and from your teaching site, and what kind of support you can expect to receive. I didn't get any of this info and I regretted it later on. But again, knowing the kind of people the current managers are, I believe they will be honest with you and do their best to answer your questions to the best of their ability.

So do your due diligence and don't jump into anything, but know this: the bad things you may have read on the internet about TFP are/were true. However, all of those things happened under the previous management and all of the people involved in making it a clusterfuck of disorganization are gone and have been replaced by genuine human beings that, in my experience, are awesome. Also keep in mind that Palestine will be a transformative experience for you regardless of the management. It's a special place that deserves all the help it can get.

What would you improve about this program?
Increased communication and support. Candidness in the hiring process.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Firstly, let me start by saying that TFP has undergone some management changes lately and this can only be a good thing. My review is based on my experience with the old management but knowing the new managers, I believe they will be able to iron out the problems fairly quickly.

The teaching side of TFP is challenging but enjoyable- the kids are very sweet and affectionate and most of them want to learn. I would advise bringing as much of an international focus as possible into the classes as they love it- I tried to arrange short skype sessions with people back home for them to practice their English and it was a hit! My main issue with teaching was that we had very little freedom- I had several years teaching experience back home and abroad and was told in the interview that we had control over what we taught but when I got there it was a different story- we had to submit lesson plans every week and had to make our resources from scratch- very little had been kept from previous teachers. In my opinion this was a waste of time, paper and ink!

The apartment was fine, basic but perfectly adequate for our needs. If you are the type who can't live without high-speed Internet or power showers, then this is not the place for you- you are in a developing country, do not expect luxury. I did find it frustrating that the management seemed incapable of planning ahead and we would regularly run out of electricity or Internet (these work on a pay as you go system and have to be topped up by a certain date every month), paper and photocopier toner and we were left stranded as such. Our director seemed quite disinterested in us and gave us very little support during our time there- luckily the assistant director (who has now taken over) was much more pleasant but very overworked. All of the volunteers bonded really well and we became firm friends, which was fantastic!

So would I recommend this programme? Under the new management, yes. My main problem with it during my stay was the high level of disorganisation and I really think it will be very different now. Palestine is one of my favourite places I've ever visited and Nablus is a fantastic city to live in, as long as you are prepared to live a lot more conservatively than you would at home. People are really friendly there and you can develop a great social life as long as you are open-minded and positive. And your students will be the most amazing kids you've ever taught!

What would you improve about this program?
Better organisation and support from the management- we were all very motivated at the start but when the answer to any query you have is 'this is Palestine, it won't work here', it quickly drains your enthusiasm.
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Yes, I recommend this program

TFP is a very worth while organisation, giving extra English lessons to Palestinian children who want to advance their English skills. The sites that they teach in (refugee camps and neighboring villages) can certainly be challenging and resources can be difficult to get hold off but if you have energy and commitment then these do not have to be obstacles to being able to construct a very productive three month teaching term.

The management has been through some changes in the last few years and I think there is now a more positive and focused approach to what the organisation is trying to do.

Nablus is a great city to experience Palestinian life. It is quite safe as it is within the are "A" parts of the West Bank. Accommodation when I worked with the organisation was a spacious apartment which had great views over the city and a wonderful roof to relax after an afternoon of teaching

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No, I don't recommend this program

While I highly suggest moving to Palestine and experiencing day to day life, culture, amazing food, and the politics of the occupation. Do so by working for a more respectable certified NGO than Teach For Palestine/Pioneers.

Upon arriving to the program in August I quickly learned that things were not as they seemed through the Skype interview and information I was given about the program prior to coming. For me this was a big deal because I made some very big changes and moved my life to Palestine only to discover:

1. We were promised to be paid one amount and then found out we would have to settle for a significantly lower pay, this varied based on your responsibilities. There was a very strained sense of trust after discovering that we were told one thing and given another.

2. Our supervisors told us that we would have freedom over our lesson plans prior to coming, then demanded they be in control of them at all times. They demanded that we turn them into them every week for approval. Every single second of our time spent working had to be approved. We would get reprimanded (by this I mean verbally assaulted and put down by our supervisors) if we didn't turn them in or if they didn’t meet their “standards” every Thursday evening. Our supervisors held themselves to a much different standard. They could take all the time in the world getting them back to us and we weren't allowed to use them in our Sunday class until they were reviewed, this issue caused much stress and frustration.

3. We don't get weekends. We get paid very little and are expected to work between 60 and 80 hours a week. Even when we had finished all of our lessons and have them submitted before the weekend, our supervisors always find something else for us to do to fill up the weekend time. Either our lesson plans weren’t good enough for them and we had to change them, we had to come into a mandatory Saturday meeting, we were expected to reorganize our classrooms even after we had arranged them the way we wanted. If we did happen to find a way to take some time to ourselves, we were quickly reminded that the supervising staff doesn’t have time for weekends so neither should we.

4. We would be working more than 60 hours a week if we are at Pioneers and TFP. We had to arrive at 7 to the school every morning, 6:45 if they give you morning duty. Then didn’t finish until 5 or 6 in the evening. Only then to have a ton of work that’s needs to be done after the work day was finished. I was working 12-14 hour days, I had 3 classes at Pioneers, then 3 classes in Balata camp after I left Pioneers. I was also expected to run other workshops visit kids homes in the camp after I left work, and come into the school after hours to work on a mural that I was expected to complete on my own.

5. We were expected to stay in the space of their choosing. This could be coed, this could be living with your supervisors, this could mean living in a village far away and being expected to pay for transportation on your own everyday. I was paying between 150 and 200 shekels a month on transportation just to and from work, none of that was covered by TFP. After I asked to come up with a solution to this expense my supervisor, who is a single male, demanded that I move in with him in his apartment. The way he broke the news to me after I asked him for a solution to the huge cost of transportation was as follows in a very angry tone “you have to move in with me or you can leave.” Meaning I had to either move in with him or quit my job.

6. The supervisors that we were working under are terrible communicators and managers. I have never seen such unprofessional management in my life. During the course of 2.5 months I worked there I endured and other co workers endured insults and threats (ex. none of you are important to this job at all, I could fire you and there would be a line of others waiting to work for us. So you better do a good job or you should be thankful that I hired you to work here at all…..this was told to us when we expressed frustration from our intense schedules ) Nothing is ever a discussion with them, if you have a problem or if you ask a question you are treated like an incompetent individual, while not really ever getting an answer. For example, I got the smallest room in the new building ( a room that could fit comfortably 10 kids with desks and still allow me to walk around and help them work) I was expected to fit 20 students in this room. I asked for advice on how to arrange the desks, how it would work, maybe a new room would be better. I went for advice and I received insults and put-downs. How could I even think to ask for help? I must be an incompetent teacher! There was absolutely no support from the administrators.
They would also control who we were allowed to spend time with. We were not allowed to make Palestinian friends, we were told that every other NGO in Nablus was incompetent and spending time with people from other organizations was frowned upon. Also current employees have not been allowed to be around those of us who quit our jobs. This level of control was unbearable.

7. They have ridiculous policies in their contract. When asked to sign the contract we were told ( I was never asked to sign the contract, this is speaking from other coworkers experiences) that it really doesn’t mean anything; that it’s just a formality for them to get you a year long visa from Israel. What they are really doing is masking the fact that the contract they want you to sign says things like, You are not allowed to work anywhere in the Palestine if you leave the job and they can sue you $700 if you quit without giving notice (and even if you do give notice they will make it seem like you didn’t by lying about the circumstances and then demanding that you owe them money, this happened to me and one other staff member who left the job) No one can tell you where you can and can’t work.

In the 2.5 months I worked there I was miserable. I was working all the time, being treated like my hard work meant nothing, was watching other coworkers being treated the same way, was being put down by the administrators, being criticized in front of other co workers and students (something they do a lot of with everyone). I loved living in Nablus, I loved my co-workers they are all wonderful people and very supportive many of which I am still friends. I just couldn’t take the stress and couldn’t take dealing with the management. I was being forced to move in with my boss and when I was given the ultimatum and told how unimportant I was, I made the decision to leave my job. I was told that I would be receiving my pay after I left Nablus (I am still owed 800 shekels, $215) I left Nablus for another job in Palestine and after many email attempts to get the check from my employer I was told that I would not be getting paid because I broke the agreement of the contract, the one I never signed, by staying in Palestine and working for another NGO. I was told that I was not allowed to work anywhere in Palestine.
Since August, nine of the staff members have left this job because of management issues. Many of us are still owed money and have yet to receive it.

I hate to have such a negative review of this job but I must say what happened during working there. I don’t think anyone should ever endure what we went through while working for this organization. While I had many amazing experiences, met wonderful people, and learned a huge amount from this time, I would suggest finding another organization to work with if you want to move to Palestine.
Nothing is ever good enough there and you will never find yourself receiving any kind of approval for the hard work you will put into the program. The only reason most of us stayed for as long as we did was because the kids in our programs were amazing. It was very difficult leaving our job knowing that we would be leaving them too.

There are many other NGOs in Palestine with great reputations and with great management. This program is an amazing way to reach kids in Nablus and the surrounding camps and villages, it’s too bad that the management is so unprofessional. This organization would be much better with a brand new management team.

Palestine is a beautiful country, the people are warm, the food is delicious, the environment is safe. Living here is a great chance to see the effects of the Israeli occupation on the Palestinian people and see how warm and kind the Palestinian people are. I have been living here for the past 7 months and have since found another job in the west bank that I love. I feel very safe here, I have met some very wonderful Palestinians and made great friends. Moving to Palestine was the best thing I ever did, despite the short time I spent with TFP. I would recommend visiting Palestine to anyone, just find another NGO or program to work with.


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