The region of Oceania, Micronesia (or the Federated States of Micronesia) is made up of thousands of small islands and divided up into four smaller states: Yap, Pohnpei, Kosrae and Chuuk. The official language of English is widely used for government operations, but the majority of the population speaks one of many local, indigenous tongues. English language instruction is not popular yet, as the tiny nation of Micronesia is not integrated in global economics or politics.
However, you will find that many high school and college students are proficient in English and eager to pursue further language training. A balmy 80 degrees year-round and considered one of the safest countries in the world, Micronesia is a great spot for teachers of all subjects looking to volunteer their time to international education.Photo credit: rapidtravelchai
Most teaching jobs in Micronesia are listed through volunteer programs. There isn’t a large demand yet for ESL teachers, hence the lack of paying jobs inside the country. Volunteer programs typically seek teachers that are willing to teach English, math, or science in public middle and high schools or colleges.
In secondary schools, the range of English language skills range from beginning to fluent, creating a challenging work environment for volunteer teachers. However, if you have little experience teaching and do not hold a TEFL certification, Micronesia could be the ideal destination for you. Schools are not looking for certified ESL teachers, but those who can be enthusiastic and engaging in the classroom.
When and Where to Look for Jobs:
Micronesia is made up of 4 states; the most popular locations for teaching are Pohnpei, Kosrae and Chuuk. The school year begins in early September, so peak hiring occurs in the springtime or early summer months.
Applicants must be a native English speaker and hold a Bachelor’s degree. However, TEFL/TESOL certifications are not required, so inexperienced teachers have the opportunity to teach in Micronesia.
Salary & Cost of Living:
As a volunteer, you will receive a monthly stipend that will cover food and other basic amenities. The program also handles accommodations/room and board; teachers will likely live with a host family or in some cases, in a shared apartment.
Most imported goods and restaurant meals do not come cheap in Micronesia. Eat like the locals and you might save, but do avoid purchasing Western goods.
Classroom & Work Culture:
Materials in the classroom are worn-in; you will not find textbooks or school supplies in good condition. However, if you think creatively, or are able to bring some materials from home, students will engage and the lack of resources will not be troublesome.
Respect local cultures, particularly Yap traditions (as they are the most traditional/conservative of the four states).