Where we work / Jordan

Jordan, a safe haven for so many in a region of unrest

Jordan

A safe haven for so many in a region of unrest, Jordan has a timeless reputation of welcoming visitors. From the first “ahlan wa sahlan” said in greeting, the people of Jordan delight travelers with their fascinating homeland. Blessed with a disproportionate number of natural and man-made wonders, Jordan inspires the imagination and fascinates travelers in search of origins of faith.

The land of Jordan, in part, forms a land bridge linking Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. Its capital, Amman, is a vibrant and modern city. Education is valued—just over 2.5 percent of the total population is enrolled at university (a proportion comparable to the UK). Traditions of hospitality are ingrained in the culture—so much so that Jordan’s increasingly critical plight is how to serve the huge numbers of Palestinian, Iraqi, and Syrian refugees who have run to them for help.

Jordan could be the place where you find tangible ways to bring restoration, language skills, and new opportunities to people needing to reinvent their lives on the other side of tragedy.

frequently asked

questions

Job description

Which city is the new role in?

We have teachers in Mafraq and Zarqa.

History with this school?

The Community Center’s English program began in 2016 as an initiative of the Alliance Church in Mafraq. Two, first-year teachers launched the program by developing curriculum, placing students, and teaching six-week-long introductory English courses for adults. In 2017, the church appointed a full-time English Program director, multiplying the number of classes available and implementing new levels of professionalism, standardization, and efficacy. Today, the program’s classes cover a variety of levels and skills and remain free and open to anyone—regardless of gender, nationality, religion, or education level.

One of our Mafraq teachers taught in Zarqa four years ago for one semester. But other than that, it’s a new school for us as of Fall 2021.

List duties and responsibilities of the role.

Mafraq: 

Teachers in the English Program (with the exception of short-term volunteers and interns) will:

• design and deliver English language lessons in which the lesson content is primarily authentic, communicative, contextualized, and aimed at multiple learning styles.

• design and evaluate valid and reliable assessments.

• demonstrate commitment to students’ learning progress in and outside of class.

• attend teacher training sessions (e.g., bi-annual pre-service training weeks; faculty meetings, etc.).

• coordinate with other teachers to help streamline instruction at the same class or level or in a mentoring capacity.

• complete administrative tasks (e.g., assisting with new student testing, logging online student attendance; submitting student pictures for ID cards; submitting final grade reports, etc.).

• substitute teach for colleagues when necessary.

• participate in extra-curricular events (e.g., end-of-session celebratory event, “English Fun”).

Zarqa:

Teacher duties include lesson prep and classroom instruction for K-12 classes.

Describe weekly work schedule and hours for the role?

Faculty members of the CCM English Program may teach full-time (twelve or more hours per week) or part-time with special permission (four or more hours per week). Teachers are expected to invest the necessary amount of time to effectively design instruction, plan out lessons, and grade students’ course work, although the amount of preparation per class will vary according to each teacher’s prior training and experience, a teacher can anticipate one hour of preparation to one hour of teaching. Classes are two hours long and meet twice weekly (i.e. M/W or T/TH). We only have classes Monday through Thursday. The exception is if we have a short 2-4 week conversation class offerings, ie. at the end of the year before summer. The regular session generally runs 3 times a year, with a length of 8-10 weeks. (Note: As Ramadan moves up the calendar, eventually we will be able to have 4 full sessions.)

The school in Zarqa runs a normal K-12 schedule. Teachers work mornings until the early afternoon five days a week.

What class subjects will the teacher be teaching? Are there opportunities to teach something other than English?

English/language arts is the primary subject for us, but spots are also open for Math, science, sports, and the artsas long as the applicant has experience or background.

How many students will the teacher have? How many different classes?

Classes can range from 5 to 25 students, depending on dropouts. The average class size is about 12 or 13 students. There are some opportunities to teach other classes that can be considered “electives.” These will only be available depending on the number of teachers, the primary needs of core classes (Pre-Level 1 – Level 5), and permission granted by the program director.

What is the student demographic?

Mafraq: Ages range 15-66; Gender make-up is 52% male and 48% female; Nationalities include: 56% Jordanian, 37% Syrian, 7% other (i.e. Yemen, Egypt, Iraq, etc.) (Stats as of December 2020)

Zarqa: mostly Jordanian; covers all types of socio-economic backgrounds.

How much classroom prep time is required/expected each week?

Teachers are expected to invest the necessary amount of time to effectively design instruction, plan out lessons, and grade students’ course work, although the amount of preparation per class will vary according to each teacher’s prior training and experience, a teacher can anticipate one hour of preparation to one hour of teaching. This may be shortened as a teacher gains experience, or if they teach more than one section of the same course. Generally speaking: if there are twelve teaching hours, then a minimum of twelve hours of preparation are expected.

Will the teacher have an office on campus? Will the teacher be expected to hold office hours?

Due to current space limitations, the CCM English Program is not able to offer a private desk or private workspace for individual teachers, other than any of our four classrooms not in use. Teachers may use any equipment in the main office, including either of two designated English Program laptops, a shared office computer, and a shared printer/copier. Teachers have individual mailboxes.

How many teachers are already placed at this school?

Mafraq: As of Fall 2021, 5 teachers.  

Zarqa: Hopefully a team of three in Fall 2021

How will the new teacher engage with non-ELIC faculty & teachers at this school?

The English Program operates under the “community center,” which operates under the umbrella of the Mafraq Alliance Church. Therefore, our leadership works out important decisions with Pastor Nour. There are other various organizations that include the work of local Jordanians and other ex-pats from around the world. The church also has short-term teams that come through on a regular basis from various organizations. We generally don’t directly work with these teams, but we do interact with them when we are in the church. It’s not an expectation to participate (in-house visits, etc.) with these short-term teams or other long-term teams/individuals, this is a choice for a teacher in their free time. In terms of faculty that works directly with the English Program, our program director is not from our organization but shares a very similar vision. The program also occasionally brings in other teachers (these may be individuals or people from another organization). With regards to interaction: all teachers are to interact cordially and professionally. Many of our teachers have become friends with teachers and long-term workers from outside our organization, and gain deep encouragement from these relationships.

There is also engagement with non-ELIC teachers in Zarqa. The faculty/staff have a good vibe; people enjoy working with one another and we’ve seen evidence of really healthy work culture.

What are the bare minimum degree requirements needed by a new teacher in this role?

Mafraq: teachers with a TEFL, CELTA, or an equivalent certificate or a bachelor’s degree in an area of linguistics and/or education are preferred but not absolutely necessary, as mentoring and support can be provided for teachers who come with minimal training.

Zarqa: A bachelor’s degree in any area of study along with ELIC training and certification is the minimum to teach English. Bachelor’s degrees in other backgrounds can also qualify you to teach the subjects you studied. (So, a biology major could qualify to teach high school biology.)

What are the ideal degree requirements needed by a new teacher in this role?

Potential teachers should have at least three months prior experience in teaching English as a Second/Foreign Language (ESL/EFL) and/or experience working in an educational environment with international students. This includes designing lesson plans, delivering instruction in classes with six or more students, and creating and evaluating language assessments. Experience in working with Muslims and/or other people groups in the Arab world is preferred but not required.

Native speakers of English are preferred but not necessary if non-native speakers demonstrate fluency and comprehensibility at an advanced level in a standard dialect of English (e.g., American English, British English) and have an advanced command of academic vocabulary.

The study of Arabic is not required of teachers at the CCM English Program but it is strongly encouraged. Studying Arabic not only helps English-speaking teachers to understand the causes of mistakes that Arabic learners tend to make in English, but it also helps teachers to empathize with the learners who face the arduous task of acquiring a foreign language. Knowing even a little Arabic also helps teachers build relationships with students and their families, both in and outside of the classroom.

What are the experience or resume qualifications needed by a new teacher in this role? Is prior teaching experience necessary?

In Zarqa, this is very flexible, but things that help include teaching or working with K-12 age groups, youth work, camps, etc. Any type of teaching background.

Are there age restrictions for a new teacher?

No

What's something the new teacher will learn after their first week in the classroom that will encourage them as they move forward?

The students LOVE their teachers, even despite language barriers. The teachers will find that it’s easy to love the students back!

What's something the new teacher will learn after their first week in the classroom that will be a challenge for them as they move forward?

Teachers will find their own personal areas of growth, but that might include classroom management or creating lessons that are engaging and original.

Any additional helpful points of the job opening?

The classrooms in our program are full of opportunities to connect and chances to grow professionally. Here is a video about some of our students.

Team Dynamics

What is the current team size and team demographic in Jordan?

In Mafraq As of fall 2021:

  • One married couple without children
  • One married couple with one child
  • One single man
  • One single woman
What is the current leadership structure in Jordan?

We have a team leader.

Where are some of the team members from in the US or Canada? Hometowns? Alma maters?

Mafraq has teachers from Wisconsin, Oregon, Indiana, and Michigan. Their alma maters include Concordia University, University of Oregon, Alaska Bible College, Butler University, and Calvin University.

Zarqa has teachers from South Carolina, Connecticut, and Colorado. Their alma maters include Georgia Southern University, Colorado State University, Cairn University, Pikes Peak Christian College, and University of Massachusetts.

 

 

How often do you see your teammates each week in formal team meetings?

We have formal team meetings once or twice a week.

What do formal team meetings entail? What's the take away? Why do you meet? What's the value of formal team time?

Professional Development, CR planning/strategizing/training, devotional and singing, team development. Meetings are generally two hours. Each meeting’s specific agenda will be shared in advance.

How often do you see your teammates each week informally...just for fun? And what do you do together?

Teachers see their teammates on most school days. They also sometimes get together for additional meals in the evenings or other hangouts like language tutoring, visiting houses together, coordinating a shopping trip, etc.

Share a fun team story.

We’ve had a great time putting on murder mystery parties for some birthdays, and we have such fun interactions with teammates and our ex-pat friends!

Share a challenging team story.

Finding team balance in the midst of Covid-19 was difficult (especially the beginning), but we supported one another through online teaching, playing games online together, and learning how to communicate our needs more clearly.

Share a meaningful team story.

There have been some very special students that our whole team has visited together. These moments are super honoring to our students and they have often opened up to some wonderful, meaningful conversations.

City & everyday life

How long has ELIC been in Jordan?

Since 2015. 

What does the first week typically look like for new teachers? How do they get their lives "started"?

Activities of the first week include moving in, shopping for groceries and essentials, meeting church staff and members, team building, school-specific training, prepping for classes, etc.

What does housing look like in Jordan? How far away are housing options from the school? From their teammates?

Mafraq: Our teachers all live in apartments within the same neighborhood (as a safety precaution). We have apartments that we have kept within the organization family, but a teacher could choose to find new accommodations within the area. New single teachers generally move in with other single teachers, but this is something that can be arranged and discussed per situation.

Zarqa: Teachers live in school-provided apartmentsall within walking distance. Very safe and looked after by school management. Couples live together, while singles will be with another single from our team if there is another teammate of that same gender. If not, then the roommate will be another faculty member (probably another North American/like-minded). Sometimes two of our teammates might be roommates and share with one other teacher who is not with our organization.

What is the local currency in Jordan? Do people typically carry cash? Credit cards?

Jordanian Dinar (JOD) Cash and credit cards are widely used across Jordan.

How do people generally travel to their school? What is public transportation like in the city?

Most teachers take the ten-minute walk to the church, but taxis are readily available for one Dinar. Taxis are the main form of transportation, though men can also choose to ride a bike. There are also regional buses that go to nearby towns and cities for a cheap price, as well as “service” cars that offer relatively cheap carpooling to other cities. Team members may also choose to rent a car (either infrequently or on a month-to-month basis) from a major city like Amman or Irbid.

What is Jordan culturally known for? Where are fun spots to take new visitors?

Mafraq is known for its traditional Bedouin and Islamic culture. There are some historical spots within the area, such as Umm Al-Jimal. The main other fun social spots are some local restaurants and cafes (generally there are separate men’s and women’s cafes), most of which are very culturally Jordanian, though some are gradually becoming more westernized.

Modern Zarqa was originally built around a Jordanian military base community, but today it’s a big city. It’s known for having pockets of Islamic conservatives. And way back, the Zarqa river is the modern name of the river where Jacob wrestled with the Lord.

What does shopping for food look like in Jordan? Do people normally eat out? Cook for themselves? Share meals with teammates?

Supermarkets and corner stores continue to expand and offer more and more “foreign” goods. The fruit and veggie markets offer a decent variety, and many go to the “souq” where the best price haggling takes place. Most teachers cook for themselves, but their delivery services have increased exponentially in the past six months. There are the typical options: burgers, pizza, fruit smoothies, shawarma, and falafel. There are also some other options like Turkish chicken, Yemeni, and even a Chinese restaurant. If a teacher has special dietary needs or is looking for something unavailable in Mafraq, most likely the items can be found in Amman or Irbid.

There are modern grocery stores in Zarqa, as well as smaller corner stores and open-air markets for fruits/veggies. There are also tons of affordable restaurants serving local Arab food. Many teachers love to cook. Team meals are definitely an option if the group agrees to it.

What do meals look like during school hours? Do teachers share meals with students?

Teachers have breaks when they can eat as they want. Teachers will often visit students in their homes during non-teaching hours and share traditional meals.

In Zarqa, the school provides a late lunch for faculty/staff at the end of each school day. The food is quite good!

What local dish is Jordan known for?

No specific local dish, but probably Mansaf, which is like chicken and rice with a special sauce called Jameed, generally topped with some slivered almonds.

Jordanians love Mansef (boiled lamb over rice), falafel, hummus, grilled meats, white cheeses, and wraps.

Does Jordan have any western chain stores or restaurants?

Nothing directly imported from the west yet, like Starbucks or McDonalds. One can find, however, some western products (i.e. Starbucks Frappuccinos in glass jar) in the grocery stores. 

What's your favorite thing to do as a team in the city? What do people do for fun or during downtime?

We love to get together for games, parties/celebrations, movie nights, food, and so on. We hang out on campus, practice Arabic in the shops and markets, cook, go to parks, visit the teams in Amman or Mafraq, or go sightseeing. We also enjoy occasionally visiting families together.

How do people exercise in the city?

There are men’s gyms and women’s gyms. People also enjoy going for walks. There is also a possibility to use the American Hospital grounds as a place to go running.

How do people spend their weekends in the city? Are there cities nearby that people typically visit for a weekend away?

Many go on house visits, hang out and have meals, and spend time with family or roommates or other expats. Sometimes teachers spend a day or two with other teammates in our other cities of service (Amman or Zarqa). Many also enjoy going to Irbid for a day or afternoon, which is a bit closer than Amman. Some also plan trips down to Aqaba, Petra, Wadi Rum, Jerash, etc. The weekends are Friday/Saturday. Fridays in the Middle East are gloriously restful. 

What's your favorite coffee shop and/or restaurant in the city? Why?

Our team loves the Yemeni restaurant, the Chinese restaurant, the falafel places, a bakery that makes more western-style desserts, and a yummy burger place… just to name a few!

What will a new teacher be surprised to have learned after their first 60 days in Jordan?

They will find that Mafraq is a lot bigger than many realize, with many hidden gems! Jordanians are the kings and queens of hospitality. You’ve never felt welcomed like this in your life!

Any additional helpful points for the cities?

It is not a huge city like Amman, so there isn’t the same hustle and bustle. Mafraq is also the perfect taste of the true, original Bedouin culture. Mafraq literally means “crossroads,” and that’s the exact history of what it was. It’s fun to discover the deep historical roots, like some of the oldest known church structures in the world.

Family & growth

How do people generally work with Member Care Specialists in Jordan?

Assigned MCSs come in to visit once a semester. There is also an MCS couple on the team who are generally available to anyone who needs support.

What does ongoing personal/spiritual development look like in Jordan?

This is something that’s really individual, and it’s up to each person to think and lead for themselves. The team definitely plays a role (as much as they are open to for one another), and being connected to the local fellowship means that we have a built-in Body.

What does ongoing professional development look like in Jordan?

The Levant teaching specialist steers this. Each week, all teachers spend time researching and logging their ProD learning and then will share takeaways at specific team meetings. It’s a small but valuable time commitment. There are also occasional ProD efforts put forth by the school, primarily during the teacher in-service weeks during the beginning and middle of the school year.

Are any current teachers in Jordan continuing their education through our various MA opportunities? If so, what degree(s) are they pursuing?

Yes, one teacher is doing an online MA in linguistics from UMass.

Is language study available in Jordan? If so, what does that process look like for new teachers?

Teachers are encouraged to meet with a private tutor or language partner for a few hours each week. The goal during the first year is to be able to survive—greetings, numbers, directions, and food! Deeper learning happens in Amman within our two-year, full-time language study program (Wadi Jamil). WJ is available for anyone beyond their first year. In Mafraq, many teachers like to take lessons from the local Arabic center called “Shams.”

Are there any families with children in Jordan? If so, how many children are on the team?

One family and we have had several before with multiple children. Several babies have also been born in-country. Our current family has one daughter.

What's it like to raise a family in Jordan?

There is a lot of support for moms raising kids in Mafraq, for example through the Expat Mom’s Tea group. There are certainly challenges, but Mafraq is also a place where a lot of expat kids have grown up. The local fellowship is also a huge support and has private playgrounds.

What schooling options are available for families with children?

Many parents homeschool. One Jordanian sister (Mysoon, who lives next to Shams) has been a huge support for kids ages 3 to 5 for morning daycare and Arabic learning for their age. The Latin fellowship also has a private school that is available, as well as a daycare program at another fellowship. In Zarqa, children of teachers would most likely receive some type of financial discount or assistance at the school where we teach. All classes are in English.

What roles do non-teaching spouses typically play in Jordan?

Non-teaching spouses are usually focused on raising kids (if applicable), day-to-day tasks at home, and primarily finding CR opportunities around them. This may look like house visits, hosting in their home, helping with special events at the church and for the team. They have the opportunity to find their niche. In Zarqa, we are still figuring this out, but it’s important to know that the school faculty is a tight-knit community, and that would also include spouses.

Any additional helpful points for families?

Team Mafraq has been known to be a diverse team of families and singles. It is a huge light to the people around us as we work and serve together and also serve one another.

Any additional helpful points for growth opportunities?

Families on the team are a huge support to our single teammates. For example, since opposite genders can’t gather alone in houses, the families have often let singles use their space to have more opportunities to hang out with one another.