Volunteer Teaching in Senegal
- Placement locations: St Louis
- Types of schools: Elementary, Junior and High School, University, Adult Evening Classes
- Age of students: 5 - 18+
- Class sizes: 30 - 60
- Role: English teacher or teaching assistant
- Requirements: None
- Extra-curricular roles: Drama, Science, Sports
- Accommodation: Host families
- Length of placement: From 4 weeks
- Start dates: Flexible
Projects Abroad Teaching volunteers have had an increasingly important role as English teachers at schools across St Louis since 2005. Although French is the language of education, commerce, and media in Senegal, the rise of tourism has resulted in English becoming a highly valued skill and Senegalese society is more aware of the benefits of being able to use the language.
In Senegal, we work with students of various ages, from children to adults. English is compulsory for school children from the age of eleven to the end of high school. Many university students continue to pursue English studies regardless of their majors. There is also great interest among adults - particularly those working in internationals fields like tourism, trade, and education - to improve their English skills.
Half of the Senegalese population is currently estimated to be living below the poverty line. For those living in underprivileged communities, the ability to speak English is a gateway to better employment opportunities and improved quality of life. As a volunteer working to raise literacy levels and knowledge of English, the impact you make will have significant long-term effects.
To participate in this project, you need to be passionate about engaging with others and committed to helping others make progress with their English skills. You can get involved throughout the year as part of a gap year, career break, or vacation. You don’t need a TEFL certificate or previous teaching experience to join.
Volunteering as a Teacher in Senegal
Our Teaching placements are based in St Louis. Some schools are private and some government-funded. You can choose to work in elementary schools, junior and high schools, a university, or you can teach evening classes for adults. Depending on your placement, you could be a teaching assistant or the teacher in charge of leading the class. We also offer opportunities to get involved in extra-curricular activities such as drama, science, and physical education.
If you are placed at a junior and high school, you will be a teaching assistant supporting a local English teacher. The average class size is between 40 and 60 students, and students are between the ages of 11 and 19 years old. Your role here will be to help plan and teach lessons and develop the students' confidence in spoken English. Lessons are often based closely on textbooks and a set curriculum, but there are plenty of opportunities for you to develop interesting themes over subsequent lessons, and to introduce more creative teaching methods.
In elementary schools, you will teach independently as English is not normally taught at this level. However, a local teacher will be there to assist you if needed. The students are between 5 and 12 years old.
If you are interested in teaching adults, you can work at a university, the College AHL Guillabert, or teach adult evening classes. Older students are eager to improve their language abilities and will want to learn from you and hear about your life.
At the College AHL Guillabert, the school is open from 8am to 5pm, with classes running throughout the day. The children here range in age from about 12 to 18 years old with classes of thirty pupils on average, although sometimes you may find this can go up as high as sixty due to a lack of funds to pay for extra staffing.
You will teach classes for around four hours a day. For the rest of the work day, you will plan lessons and spend time with the other teachers.
Did you know? Many secondary schools have classes with ratios as high as 65:1. Although, there is still a high number of students who simply vanish from the education radar for ever. It is estimated that 2 in 10 Senegalese children complete secondary school.
In the past, our volunteers have taught lessons on subjects as diverse as society, religion, and women's rights, and found great enthusiasm among older students to tackle such topics. Due to the fact that there are no organizations outside Dakar that offer English classes outside of school environments, Projects Abroad volunteers fulfil significant roles in the community.
If you would like to contribute further, you can get involved in creating and running ‘Clubs d'Anglais’ at your school, as well as give lessons to adult learners in evening classes or workplace-based groups.
Volunteers with advanced French language skills also have the opportunity to teach full-time at the Talibe Centre offered through our Care Project. The children here do not attend school and your efforts to provide them with an education are vital. At this placement, you can expect to teach basic English, French, and math.
You can read more detailed information about the aims of the project in our Senegal Teaching Management Plan.
Volunteering at a Teaching Placement in Senegal with Projects Abroad
The schools take their long summer vacation from the end of June to mid-October. During this time, summer school projects are arranged for children who want to take extra classes. The emphasis is on fun and variety and those interested in summer volunteering abroad tend to teach English and a second subject of their choice. These could be sports, drama, or science, for example.
Whatever skills and talents you have, volunteer work in Senegal will give you the opportunity to put them to good use. Be imaginative with your teaching to make learning fun and enjoyable for the students and yourself.