Where we work / Lebanon

The Syrian refugee crisis gripped our hearts, and we have decided to respond.

Lebanon

Though teaching children doesn’t fit the typical model that we have followed for more than three decades, when we saw the devastation that the war in Syria was creating, we knew we had to use our expertise to help. Many of our students in Lebanon have never been in a classroom because they have only known war. Our teachers are uniquely positioned to show deep and lasting love to their students by empowering them for a bright future.

Currently 1.5 million Syrian refugees find a safe haven in Lebanon, and our organization has shown up to help. We have opportunities in Lebanon; both short-term (summer) and long-term teaching positions are available.

frequently asked

questions

Job description

Which city is the new role in?

ZAHLE

What's our history with this school?

The first ELIC teachers came as part of a summer program in 2013, with the full-time teachers coming soon after.

List duties and responsibilities of the role.

Teachers lesson prep and teach English for grades KG-5. Additional duties may include doing remedial with individual students, monitoring breaks and recess, and helping to support the school as requested during staff absences or unique circumstances.

Describe weekly work schedule and hours for the role?

There are morning and afternoon groups of students. Teachers have one or two periods of teaching each morning and each afternoon. The period is 45 minutes. School days are Monday-Friday. Staff devotions start at 7:30 am, and classes end at 2:45 pm.

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

ELIC teachers teach the English classes at the school.

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

Classes vary in size from 15-25 students. Teachers will generally prepare for one grade level, one lesson each day.

What is the student demographic?

Students are mostly Syrian from refugee families.

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

Lesson planning generally fits into the prep periods of the school day if time is used well. New teachers might spend some time on weekends or evenings.

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

Teachers do not hold office hours. Teachers can work in the teachers’ lounge or at home during the school day.

How many teachers are already placed at this school?

During fall 2021, five teachers were at the school.

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

There are frequent opportunities for engaging with non-ELIC staff that are our coworkers. Most speak English well. The teachers’ lounge and staff devotions are a great place to start relationships, and there is an opportunity to continue those relationships as friendships outside of the school setting.

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

A bachelor’s degree and ELIC LTO training is needed.

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

A degree in education, particularly elementary or special education, would be helpful. Only one of our teachers holds an elementary education degree, and only three of the six teachers hold education degrees. There are supports and resources for education-minded individuals that don’t have degrees in education. Prior teaching experience is beneficial, especially with classroom management.

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

Prior teaching experience is not necessary but is certainly helpful, especially when working with younger students. Previous TESOL experience is useful, but again, it is not required.

Are there age restrictions for a new teacher?

No, there are not any age restrictions.

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

These kids are so cute. They’ll tell you they love you and draw you pictures all the time (at least in the younger grades).

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?

Classroom management cross-culturally is challenging but not impossible. Ask questions, get help, seek resources, and you’ll find that you can do it.

Any additional helpful points of the job opening?

The opportunities to know students and their families beyond the classroom are exciting. We interact with graduates that are teenagers now and students whose families live in our neighborhoods. It’s awesome to see these relationships develop as CR opportunities.

Team Dynamics

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

Fall 2021: 2 males and 3 females, all single

Who are the current team leaders and/or what is the current leadership structure in Zahle?

Elizabeth began as team leader in Fall 2021

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

Washington State, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Michigan, California

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

Generally, once a week for a team meeting.

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

Team meetings rotate from house to house. We start with a team meal for about an hour, then talk about CR-related things, plan for upcoming school or community things, attend the regional meeting, and end in singing and prayer as often as we can.

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

We see each other at school every day. Usually, teammates get together once a week or so, often in smaller groups, for meals, hikes, shopping, etc. Additionally, we have Arabic lessons together based on our Arabic levels.

Share a fun team story

We had four team birthdays during the lockdown and had a blast celebrating because we had nothing else to do. We made delicious meals and enjoyed a personalized jeopardy game, a murder mystery, a game night, and other crazy fun.

Share a challenging team story.

We’ve had to do a lot of communicating through COVID and the current economic/political situation about expectations, restrictions, etc. Sometimes these have gone well, and sometimes they haven’t gone as well. There has been a definite improvement from Fall 2019 to now, and it’s been encouraging to see that growth.

Share a meaningful team story.

This year, we have three groups of graduates (teenagers) meeting for Word studies each week. The boys play soccer and then gather, and the girls play games and do crafts around the study. It’s been awesome to share with these kids and help them move beyond an elementary understanding of the Word they started at the school.

Additional helpful points about the team?

Lebanese hospitality is incredible. People here are so welcoming. Even during a COVID year, I’m with a good team, expats, and local friends that I’m so thankful for.

City & everyday life

How long have we been in Zahle?

Since 2013.

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

New teachers move in, buy groceries, learn the layout of the neighborhood, and more. There are team meetings and training. The school will also include some introductory time.

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

Teachers live within walking distance of each other and the school in apartments. The apartments are comfortable and spacious. Generally, teachers have a roommate of the same gender from the team.

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

Lebanese Lira (LBP) is the local currency. Given the current economy, we use only LBP that we exchange from USD.

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

We walk to and from school. There are lots of buses and taxis to reach things outside the neighborhood.

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

Zahle is known as the city of wine and poetry. The Boulevard and surrounding areas have so many great restaurants. Around us, there are options for hiking, history, and much more.

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

Food is readily available at small shops, and larger grocery stores have most things you could want. Eating out varies by household, but there are many great options from Lebanese food to sushi if you want to eat out. The team has meals together at least once a week.

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

During school days, most teachers eat before school or during breaks. Some have food delivered to the school; others go home to eat. Teachers generally don’t share meals with students but sometimes do eat with coworkers.

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 Zahle known for?

Lebanese food, like hummus, tawook, fattoush, etc. It’s so good!

Does Lebanon have any western chain stores or restaurants?

Dunkin’, Starbucks, and McDonald’s.

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

We enjoy the food! We’ve also gone on some hikes or explored new areas around the city. Mostly, it’s about who we’re with.

How do people exercise in Zahle?

Many of us run regularly. Some teammates have gym memberships. We walk frequently. We hike some.

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

If we stay in Zahle, we often meet with friends for a meal out or host people in our homes. The fellowship has a Saturday night gathering for young adults and a Sunday morning gathering. Outside the city, there are so many great places to visit: the coast, mountains, ski resorts, historical sights, Beirut, etc.

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

Thinkers and Bread and Beans are the team’s favorite coffee shops to get some work done. Probably our favorite restaurants are the ones on the mountainside with beautiful views of the Bekaa Valley.

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

Your heart will explode with love for the children.

Any additional helpful points for Zahle?

The Berdawni is a cool restaurant and shopping area opened late to spring to late fall. It’s tree-covered and has a river flowing through it.

Family & growth

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

In a normal year, MCSs come to visit once a semester. We do weekly checkins online and occasional phone calls.

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

Because of COVID, our involvement in the local gathering was limited this year. In past years, team members have been able to attend the gathering and its other meetings regularly. Additionally, other expats have prayer times. Some opportunities are up to individual team members to engage in.

What does ongoing professional development look like in Lebanon?

We do our professional development guided by our teaching specialist. We discuss what we’re learning about once a month at a team meeting. Additionally, we’re often supporting each other with teaching ideas and collaborating to help our students.

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

Right now, no, but team members are looking into continuing education, and it has been done before.

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

This year, team members meet with a local teacher 1-2 times a week for an Arabic lesson and study independently. We’re all driven to improve in our Arabic and are making progress!

Are there any families with children in Zahle? If so, how many children are on the team? What is the age range (oldest and youngest)?

No

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

We haven’t had anyone from Pinnacle come as a family, but other expats are raising families here.

What schooling options are available for families with children?

That’s unknown, but there are expat families with school-aged kids here.

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

There isn’t anyone that meets that criteria currently, but a non-teaching spouse would focus on community building and organizing events.

Any additional helpful points for families?

I would guess raising a family here would be pretty cool. Kids would be an awesome connecting point to so many families in the community and would open doors for great CR opportunities.