Volunteers are generally warmly welcomed into the heart of the community, with examples of proffered hospitality including invitations to traditional wedding ceremonies that can last days! The standard, and style, of accommodation varies between countries but will always include basic facilities and furnishings. It is not unusual to find mango, banana or avocado trees in the garden and many volunteers cultivate their own fruit and vegetable gardens.
‘Time IN’, published in 2002 by VSO and the Institute of Education, sought to quell the concerns many teachers, education managers and policy makers in the UK have about the value of a VSO placement and, in doing so, addressed the misconception that VSO is actually taking teachers away from the profession at a time when they are desperately needed.
The findings contained strong indications that sabbaticals can dramatically improve teacher commitment, motivation and - most importantly - retention. The strongest retention findings are in beginning and mid-career teachers who return to UK education and are committed to stay in the sector long term. Over the last ten years, 73% of working-age VSO teachers returned to positions in UK education. This is in comparison to survey findings from the GTCE which suggest that one in three teachers will leave the profession within the first five years of their career.
Teachers participating in the research generally said that volunteering reminded them about why they went into teaching in the first place. For many teachers the professional development opportunity VSO offers was a consideration when they applied. VSO teachers often hold positions of greater responsibility than in the UK and gain experience of a wider variety of roles. They return to the UK with greater proficiency in policy making, management and training, a wider range of teaching styles, an enhanced awareness of global issues and better team working skills.
VSO is endorsed by, and works in partnership with a range of education bodies and unions including the NUT and the NASUWT.
A current example (May 2012) would be an Inclusive Education Methods Support Officer in the Teacher Education Division in Ghana, supporting the Division to improve its teacher training curriculum and providing advice on inclusive, student-centred teaching methodology for primary teachers. Find out about the placements being recruited currently.
VSO volunteers receive training both before they depart and when they arrive overseas, return flights, health insurance, accommodation, and a living allowance when working overseas.
For further information on opportunities for teachers visit www.vso.org.uk
or call 020 8780 7500.
|Download VSO - BATOD Magazine article Sept 2004
Please note that this webpage carries more recent links and information than the article.