Here are a few of the questions that we are most often asked about the teaching programme. If you have any further queries then just e-mail our Education Officer on firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Where will I be placed in Lesotho?
- What are the programme dates?
- What about training and preparation?
- How do I apply?
- What will be expected of me?
- What about accommodation?
- What level of English will the students have?
- What kind of support will I receive?
- What about Visas, insurance and vaccinations?
Participants will be placed in the same town in Lesotho outside the capital city. For the 2017 programme we will be returning to Thaba Tseka District about 4 hours drive from the capital in the south west of Lesotho.
Are the dates fixed or is there some choice?
The programme follows the Lesotho academic year, which begins in January next year. The teachers will fly to Lesotho about a week before the term begins for a few days’ orientation in the capital city and in your new home town. Exact start dates will be confirmed in November. You will be teaching in Lesotho between January and June with another fortnight in Wales on return.
Dolen Cymru offers all teachers accepted on this programme a training programme specially tailored towards their needs. The training programme involves four separate courses, the first two in Cardiff and the second two delivered after arrival in Lesotho. They will take place on weekends in Cardiff Bay and accommodation and travel expenses will be provided where necessary.
1. Introductory Training Course:
Delivered by Dolen Cymru in October. This training course serves as an introduction to the programme and the partner organisations and an ice-breaking/team-building event. Sessions include Sesotho language lessons, health and safety (HIV, travel vaccinations etc), roles and responsibilities, what to take, preparation work, a Q&A session with returned teachers, and introduction to Basotho culture.
2. Pre-Departure Training Course:
Delivered by experienced staff in November. This training focuses on the professional development of the teachers, awareness raising of development issues, coping strategies for working in a new environment (e.g. dealing with large and multi-level classes, teaching through the medium of a second language), supporting teacher development (mentoring, classroom observation etc) and teaching ESDGC on their return.
3. On-Arrival orientation
Delivered by partners in Lesotho in January. This training is delivered in the first week in Lesotho and focuses more sharply on the local context. Sesotho language is incorporated throughout and a session is done on Basotho culture. The training also focuses on the development context in Lesotho (HIV/AIDS, political situation and the economy) and the impact these have on education.
4. Further Training
On arrival in your placement District you will attend teacher training for the academic year ahead and work closely with Basotho colleagues who have been placed in Wales as part of the Commonwealth Fellowship scheme and the Wales Teacher Placement Programme.
What happens after my application has been accepted?
Download the application form. Complete the form and return it along with a current CV to Dolen Cymru by the next application deadline. If you are short listed you will be called to Cardiff for an assessment day. If you pass this you will then be called to interview and will be told within a week whether you have been accepted for the programme.
Any offer of a place on the programme will be subjected to satisfactory references and medical checks. You will also be required to undergo an Enhanced CRB Disclosure
It is usual for foreign teachers to work with whole classes, on average around 40-50 students, although it can be higher than this. You will be invited to contribute your own ideas as well as follow the set curriculum.
Your accommodation will be arranged by Dolen Cymru’s office in Lesotho. You will share a house with other teachers from Wales. The standard of the houses will be high in comparison with local norms. All houses will have electricity (usually on a meter), running water, a flushing toilet and cooking facilities. The houses will usually be within walking distance to your school or if not a short taxi journey. The cost of accommodation is likely to be around £100 - £120 per month and is not covered by the programme. Your volunteer stipend will cover all of your living costs more than reasonably.
Pupils are taught English from an early age in Primary schools and the higher classes in many Primary schools will be taught through the medium of English. All Secondary schools in Lesotho teach only through the medium of English. However, it is important not to forget that English is a second language in Lesotho and there will be some barriers to communication. The reading and comprehension of English is a challenge for most learners and even some teachers. You will be supported by your Basotho teachers when in school, so it is important to model good language learning practices. TEFL skills will come in useful as will some basic Sesotho. You will be given introductory Sesotho lessons at every stage of your training.
Each group will be accompanied by a mentor, a person who will be responsible for supporting their professional development and for ensuring their wellbeing. The group mentor is Dolen Cymru’s representative on the ground but will also be a part of the team, working part-time at a school and living with the teachers. You will have an allocated teacher in your school who will be your in-schol mentor and you will also be supported by the Dolen Cymru staff in Lesotho and members of Lesotho Wales Link, Dolen Cymru’s partner organisation in Lesotho. They will be on hand to give advice, liaise with the schools and local officials and offer you excellent support throughout your stay there
On arrival you will receive a 14-30 day tourist visa and then you will acquire a volunteer's resident permit. Your passport will however need to be valid for at least six months after the date of entry in order to leave through South Africa. During your Easter holiday you may need to apply for an extended South African visa in order to depart Lesotho. You will be covered by Dolen Cymru’s insurance policy for all activities during your stay with the exceptions of risky activities such as rock climbing or skiing.
There is no malaria in Lesotho and it is recommended that you visit your GP surgery for current advice on vaccinations. You will also be asked to completed an online health questionnaire which is completely confidential, administered by a company called Interhealth.