I will be working as a TEFL teacher in an Armenian school, grades 3-9. English is the students’ third language, following Russian as their second. My school has over 40 teachers and over 300 students. My counterpart is works as both the vice principal and one of two English teachers. She has previously worked with volunteers and has been to the states on a teacher exchange program. This translates into: I am lucky. I will be working with somebody who has experience with Americans and knows how to work with a volunteer.
I will be living with the secretary of my school. She is 45 and has a son who works in Russia. It will be just the two of us in her house which is pretty big and also has indoor bathroom and shower facilities. Her house is just 5 minutes American walking speed and 10 minutes Armenian away from my school. The city center is a good 45 minute walk but there are plenty of stores nearby and also a bus that runs up and down the main street.
My town itself has a population of about 15,000 and used to be an old resort town and is located in the middle of a forest reserve so there is plenty of hiking etc. Part of the town as been preserved as an “old town” and consists of a couple of restaurants, a hotel, a museum, and a few local art galleries. The rest of the town is spread out along one long main road that stretches through a valley.
Armenia is only about the size of Maryland and I will be living in the northern region, just about an hour north of Yerevan (the capital city), am pretty close to Georgia (the only border Americans can easily cross), and can conveniently get to a few other big cities and volunteers from where I am.
I’ll be moving from my training village on August 17th and will start school on September 1st.