Volunteer Teaching in Jamaica
- Placement locations: Mandeville
- Types of schools: Elementary, High School, Adult Literacy Program
- Age of students: 6 - 18, adults
- Class sizes: 30 - 40
- Role: Teacher or teaching assistant (English, French, Spanish, Geography, History, Math, IT, Sports)
- Requirements: None
- Extra-curricular roles: Art, Dance, Drama, Dutch, German, Music
- Accommodation: Host families
- Length of placement: From 3 weeks
- Start dates: Flexible
As a Projects Abroad volunteer teaching in Jamaica you will have the opportunity to significantly contribute to the welfare of Jamaica’s education system and get a new perspective on this incredible country. You can gain invaluable development work experience without any previous qualifications and you are not required to have undergone TEFL training. Whether you are volunteering during your gap year, career break, or a volunteer vacation, you will have an important role to play in one of the schools that we work with.
Jamaica is a country of extremes – wealthy Jamaicans enjoying a modern, western lifestyle, frequenting shopping malls and exclusive golf clubs. The poorest people in society, some 16% of Jamaicans, live below the poverty line. The wealth distribution reflects Jamaica's slave-plantation heritage and the descendants of black slaves tend to be among the poorest classes in Jamaica. Yet it was the end of slavery that heralded the start of education for all and the government is currently investing in improving and modernizing the education system throughout the country.
Projects Abroad Jamaica is based in the University town of Mandeville. Although Jamaica's official language is English, many children grow up speaking Jamaican Creole (Patois) at home. Jamaican Standard English (a mix of American and British English) is taught in schools and is key to getting a sought after job in business or within the tourist industry.
Volunteering as a Teacher in Jamaica
Volunteer teachers in Jamaica can teach a variety of subjects, including English, Spanish, geography, history, math, IT, and physical education. You can also get involved in teaching extra-curricular activities such as art, dance, drama, and music. If you have a strong interest in music, you can also teach music in Jamaica on our Music Project, where you will work with children, teenagers, and possibly adults.
In most schools you will begin as a classroom assistant, supporting the teachers in their lessons. However, as you get to know the children better and start to grow in confidence you may want to take on more responsibility. Volunteer teachers work alongside the Jamaican staff to help improve the pronunciation of Standard English. By running lessons in Standard English and making them fun and inclusive you can help to develop the pupils' confidence. They will be interested in you and your life, which is a great opportunity to get them talking to you and with each other.
We also have a teaching placement in a centre for deaf children aged from 4 to 20 years old. This placement is ideal for anyone who knows American Sign Language. Volunteers work as assistant teachers or substitute teachers, teaching math and English. There is also the option to teach crafts, sports, and agriculture.
You can read more detailed information about the aims of the project in our Jamaica Teaching Management Plan.
Teaching English and Literacy to Adults in Jamaica
The Community Literacy Project provides volunteers with an opportunity to offer adult literacy education programs. Volunteers work with individuals and small groups of no more than 10 to 15 adults in an assigned community. Community based literacy programs and one-on-one interaction are known to improve literacy levels. It is with this in mind that the community literacy project is being promoted. Volunteers are provided with materials used by agencies that offer adult literacy education programs.
Volunteering at a Teaching Placement in Jamaica with Projects Abroad
Whatever your skills or interests, as a volunteer in Jamaica you will make an important contribution by improving students' English skills as well as their understanding of other subjects. You will also give them the confidence that comes from being able to communicate more easily and help to increase cultural awareness, which is one of the main aims of the government's current educational campaign.
Did you know? The student to teacher ratio in Jamaica is over 25 students to each single teacher, the 2nd highest in the Americas after Haiti.
Our Teaching volunteers receive regular workshops led by our Teaching Project Officer in Jamaica. The workshops provide tools and tips on how to better organize your work at your school, give information on key issues relating to the placement, suggest problem solving ideas, and offer an opportunity to receive and give feedback. You will also learn teaching activities and educational methods to use at your school.
The impact you have on the lives of your students will be long lasting. In addition, you will also be part of a much larger volunteer network, which is making a positive contribution to the wider community. It will be an experience you’ll never forget.
Being in the classroom gives me so much joy, to their smiling faces and the questions they ask is something one has to experience for themselves. Read more...
You can join the Teaching Project in Jamaica for less than a month if you don't have time to join us for a month or more. This project has been selected by our local colleagues as being suitable for short term volunteering for both the host community and the volunteer. Although you will gain a valuable cultural insight and work intensely within the local community please be aware that you may not be able to make the same impact as someone volunteering for a longer period.