WORLD TEACH MARSHALL ISLANDS
This report describes the World Teach Marshall Islands program in the academic year 2011-2012.. This year, World Teach placed 30 volunteers at 34 schools (one volunteer taught deaf students at several schools). The volunteers were supported and supervised by two Field Staff, Field Director Todd Mulroy and Assistant Field Director Laura Sundblad. Of the 30 volunteers, 3 were placed on Kwajalein atoll, 7 on Majuro atoll, and 20 on outer islands. 7 volunteers terminated their service early; 6 of these were due to the dengue fever outbreak. 22 of the volunteers lived with host families, and 8 lived in faculty housing provided by the Ministry of Education.
The volunteers were trained during a three-week Orientation, a three-day Mid-Service Conference, and a one-day End-of Service conference. Majuro volunteers also attended a Mid-Semester training day. Field Staff conducted site visits with thirteen volunteers. Ten volunteers completed the World Teach Teaching English as a Foreign Language certification process. The majority of the volunteers taught English in elementary schools, but some volunteers also taught Science, Math and other subjects. Five volunteers were placed at the high school level.
Aside from teaching, volunteers engaged in significant public health, nutrition, exercise and literacy projects. Field Staff and select volunteers were instrumental in completing the James C. deBrueys Memorial Basketball Court on Bikarej, Arno. At the end of the academic year, WorldTeach launched a partnership with the Unbound Bookmaker, an online publishing business. Through this partnership, WorldTeach volunteers will help students create stories, which will be published in bilingual class books.
Health and safety remained paramount concerns in the 2011-2012 academic year. Apart from a vigorous emphasis on boat safety, volunteers were also trained in other health and safety matters. Still, illnesses were common, particularly on the outer islands. The dengue fever outbreak, which started in November 2011, caused six volunteers to depart the program. One volunteer was hospitalized. Later in the year, up to four more volunteers were infected with the fever, but none required hospitalization. In May, an Air Marshall Islands plane was diverted to Ebon to retrieve a volunteer who feared she had appendicitis. This revealed that WorldTeach was not covered under the outer island evacuation service. This provision has been added to the following Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Education.
Overall, the WorldTeach Marshall Islands program remains relevant and robust. Potential challenges include scaled down funding, health and safety issues particularly on the outer islands, and difficulty to recruit. Opportunities include partnerships with more local governments and with the College of the Marshall Islands. WorldTeach may also help the Ministry of Education in building the capacity of local teachers.
Field Director – Todd Mulroy
Assistant Field Director – Laura Sundblad
Program Manager – Shawn Pate
Director of Education – Katrina Deutsch