Where we work / Tunisia

Tunisia, a cultural and historic gem of North Africa, abounds in natural beauty

Tunisia

Known for its historical attractions including the ancient Roman ruins in the city of Carthage, this coastal country also boasts white-sand beaches and crystal-clear waters. Stand on the highest peak in Tunisia, the smallest country in North Africa, and you can view the panoramic beauty of the Mediterranean Sea to the north. To the south, you’ll see the vast expanses of the Sahara Desert (and as the crow flies, Italy is close by, just across the sea).

You can also explore short-term programs we offer in Tunisia.

In this country of contrasts, farmers use the simplest agricultural techniques to grow fruits, vegetables, and grains — yet technologies such as cell phones, the Internet, and social media are changing the way Tunisians interact with and view the world. Tunisians tend to be less conservative in modesty standards and alcohol consumption than other people of Muslim faith but maintain a strong Islamic identity.

Family is central to Tunisian culture and social life, and meals are considered a special time to gather and reflect together. Tunisian cuisine can be described as a delicious fusion of Mediterranean and Amazigh (sometimes referred to as “Berber”) flavors. Well-spiced, roasted vegetables, lamb, seafood, couscous, and tajine (similar to a deep dish frittata with eggs, meat, and vegetables) are frequently on the menu. Dishes often include a side of harissa, a popular red chili paste.

More and more, Tunisia’s large young adult population (60% of the population is under the age of 30) is passionate about exploring life outside of the country’s borders and worldview. At the same time, students from all over the continent of Africa are coming to study in Tunisia, giving our teachers opportunities in the classroom to interact with future leaders, not only in the country, but also the entire North African region. Consider your place in being an answer to a generation’s questions about what brings meaning to life and developing the leaders of tomorrow in a beautiful, unique part of the world.

frequently asked

questions

Job description

Which city is the new role in?

TOZEUR, TUNIS

Our history with this school?

Our teachers started in Tozeur in 2020.
Our first partnership in Tunis began in 2019. 

List duties and responsibilities of the role.

Teach comprehensive English; Primary Education majors; First Year students; maintain a positive relationship with school administration and colleagues.  In our Tozeur adult classes, teaching adult levels can range from beginner to advanced and specialized in business, communication, engineering. It depends on the partner and the need that we are trying to meet. Most courses will have a curriculum, and some courses will be creating content from provided resources that meet the need of the students. Also, we are the branch managers for the language center in Tozeur – this means we do administrative work, budgets, and advertising for the English courses. Teacher responsibilities also include maintaining a positive relationship with our local partners and professionally representing the language center well.  

In Tunis, Hourly English Teachers choose curriculum, write syllabi and scope and sequence, plan weekly 1.5 hour lessons for all 4 levels, teach and leave students, write exams and occasionally proctor

Describe weekly work schedule and hours for the role?

At the Tozeur University, 9-hours/week; 2 classes/week; 1.5 hours per class; 3 sets of student groups.  At Tozeur adult classes courses can range from 4-weeks to 8-weeks. They are typically 2 or 3 times a week in the evenings. They generally are 2-hour classes. Example schedule: Teach 2 adult classes. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday evenings from 5-7 pm. Other times are lesson prepping, maybe administrative duties, and maybe other strategic opportunities that fulfill the vision of the language center.

At Tunis UIT, Roughly 6-8 hrs of in-class teaching which is a hybrid of in-person and online. Taking attendance is expected but no class list has been created (this is their first time offering English and all university Ss are expected to take the final exam); upload weekly PowerPoint and how to Moodle and/or Teams. At Tunis UIK, roughly 6-8 hrs of in-class teaching is a hybrid of in-person and online. Taking attendance is expected but no class list has been created (this is their first time offering English and all university Ss are expected to take the final exam); upload weekly PowerPoint and how to Moodle and/or Teams.

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

At Tozeur Univesity, English only. In the Tozeur adult classes, Comprehensive English. We follow the CEFR (Common European Framework Reference for Languages; A1, B1, C1..) https://www.cambridgeenglish.org/exams-and-tests/cefr/ for leveling our students. We use Navigate curriculum from Oxford in our comprehensive English classes. English for Special Purposes (ESP) is an option since we are trying to meet the needs of our clients. Business English, Engineering English, Public Speaking…these are potentials. No opportunities to teach something other than English.

UIT has two main branches: the Germans Business School which is conducted entirely in English and the UIT Ss of varying degrees which receive a general English course. This year, the subjects were general English A1, A2, B2, And C1 and soft skills (speaking lab ?). For GBS Business English was taught.

We teach in two main schools at UIK: School of Business and School of Architecture/Design. Majors are mixed together for English classes with varying English abilities. Professor classes are split into higher level and lower level groups.

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

At Tozeur University, 90 students; 3 sets of student groups. At Tozeur adult classes, the teacher will have between 6-10 adults per class. They could be teaching 2-3 classes at a time.  At Tunis UIT, the classes are large, and many Ss cannot attend because of conflicting schedules. As a result, about 15-30 Ss attend each class, with many more watching the class recordings as they have time. Again, they’re working on a roster but don’t have one. We were told to focus on the ones who came in person unless quarantine put us online. There are roughly 250-300 Ss who will take the General English Exam.  At Tunis UIK, enrollment is larger, but actual attendance varies. Sometimes there is one student, sometimes there are 15. Teacher classes were between 6-12. The part-time teacher had five different preps, and the full-time teacher had 10 different preps. With the new MOU, teachers will have a max of 6 different preps.

What is the student demographic?

At Tozeur University, Ages 19-20; from all southern provinces; lower bac scores. At the adult classes, the students are adults ages 17+. The demographic has a socio-economic range, age range, a variety of careers (engineers, businessmen, mothers, and fathers learning for their children, single females). This variety in demographics helps us to integrate into the community and become a part of the social fabric. At Tunis UIT, lower levels are usually 70% sub-Saharan African and the other 30% being Tunisians or online in Arab countries. Higher levels are generally 70% Tunisian and 30% sub-Saharan. At the Montplaisir campus, the majority of students (maybe 90%) are sub-Saharan African and the rest are Tunisian or from other Arab countries. At the Chotrana campus, about 70% of the students are Tunisian and the rest are sub-Saharan African. Lower levels for English are usually sub-Saharan African students. French is the common language, and all classes except for English are taught in French.

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

Generally, it can be expected that teachers will prep about 3-6 hours weekly. 

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

There is no English office, but in terms of facilities, there is a teacher’s lounge.

How many teachers are already placed at this school?

There are currently eleven teachers across Tunisia, with more coming. 

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

In the teacher’s lounge; being on campus at the same time as other faculty. ELIC teachers will interact with local partners. It’s expected to develop positive relationships. These local partners provide our facility (office room with whiteboard, desks, and chairs) and help us recruit. In Tunis, The head of the English Department is the main go-to person. She speaks great English and is very responsive in person as well as through text/email. Other teachers and office staff speak both French and Tunisian Arabic (Derja), although French is the preferred language. Some of the office staff speak English.

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

Tozeur University, Masters.  Tozeur adult classes, BA; Wheaton Certificate. Tunis UIT, BA degree. Tunis UIK, BA degree and a TEFL certificate (aka Wheaton certification).

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

Master’s plus teaching experience; self-motivated; takes initiative. Certificates in ESP, experience with adult education. BA degree with teaching and tech background and some French, MA, Ph.D., MBA.

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

At Tozeur University, a master’s degree is required. Prior teaching experience is also recommended.

Are there age restrictions for a new teacher?

No, but you must have a MA at Tozeur University. 

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

There are a lot of opportunities to create classroom cultures; students respect you even if they don’t like the subject of English. University life offers lots of potential for students, fellow teachers, and clubs. Students love to get to know you and are very motivated to learn English, practice communication, and build friendships with you! Many students want to know about your life, what you think of Tozeur, and love to share their culture with you.

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

The unknowns may be a challenge. Because we advertise and only know our classes based on our clientele needs, teaching at the language center demands flexibility. One moment we think we have 2 students, and then the next day there are 8, then one week later we have 6. Teachers need to be prepared for variability in scheduling, last-minute changes, and adapting to the adult’s schedules.

Any additional helpful points of the job opening?

Student demographics are from unreached southern places; the primary education major is new in Tunisia, so we are a part in forming and developing the program at the school; teacher future teachers is a large place of influence. The language center is a great way to integrate into the community! We’ve met all types of demographics in Tozeur and it opens our eyes to the community, the needs, and how to meet those needs. Many people have told us “We need opportunities like this in Tozeur” or “I need English for my job, but there’s nowhere to learn here.” Also, anyone with a little business mindset, this is a good fit! We need advertising strategies, budgeting skills, and creativity to continue growing the language center.

Team Dynamics

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

In Tozeur, 2 single females; there are three expat families that play an important role in our community because there are so few people here.

In Tunis, currently, there are 3 teams in the capital (13 people)– 1 Equip team with 2 first-year teachers and 2 team leaders, 1 long-term team with 5 teachers and 1 member care, and 1 leadership team with 2 MCS and country director.

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

Current Team Leaders: Gentrys, Ashley + Jenny in TZ

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

North Dakota and Colorado; Chadaron State and Colorado State University. US- South (AR, SC, TX, NC/FL, GA) and MidWest (OH,OK), VA, WA/CO . Schools– Liberty, OBU, WashU, Auburn, North Greenville U, Southern Miss.

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

Equip Team- We have two weekly team meetings (1 is a devo/dinner) as well as one-on-ones each week.

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

Announcements, LCD, CR, PD, lifting together, planning time with students, processing living overseas, and moving forward with PVM. Community is very important and difficult in this location. It’s isolating and small in number. Therefore, it’s important to prioritize community and unity.

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

Equip Team- We’ll get together maybe once a week (weekends usually) for team time or time with local friends together – movies in, dinners out, game nights.

City Team- We’ll get together for birthdays, celebrations, dinners out, game nights, etc a few times a month.

Share a fun team story

We went on a hike in mountains nearby and had a wonderful time in nature and getting caught in the rain. We have gone out to the desert and ridden down dunes in cardboard boxes. We spend time with the other expats in this city because there are less than 10 adult expats in this whole town. They are an important part of community in Tozeur.  In Tunis, Country Team- the holidays this year were really great with the country team. Thanksgiving we spent arguing about the correct way to put sheets on the bed and Christmas we opened stockings stuffed with valentines, toy cars, ornaments, and goofy gift cards!

Share a challenging team story.

In Tozeur, pioneering in a new location comes with challenges and as a team, we’ve gone through discovering new things, having successes, and having failures. Flexibility and adaptability are key. With lockdowns coming and going, our schedules are ever-changing…truly, every single week the schedule changes. But an ever-changing environment is also part of the culture and nature of our work.

In Tunis, Equip Team- Our team is fairly spread out work-wise (different universities/teaching placements, different levels of teaching and language learning), so we tend not to overlap with our local contacts. However, we were able to have a movie night where we each invited a few special people from our contacts and planned the night– which movie, discussion questions, snacks, etc. It was fun to work together! We did end up differing on the movie selection and choice of discussion questions, but it was a good opportunity to learn more about each other and CR, which is worth some miscommunication or confusion.

City & everyday life

How long have we been in Tunisia?

We have been working in Tunisia since 2018.

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

The first week is getting oriented to the city and setting up their home. It’s recommended to have language already or to start language learning as soon as possible (survival Arabic). The new teachers will be shown around the city and learn where important amenities are.

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

In Tozeur, the housing includes apartments or single-family dwellings. There are options for 2-4 bedroom places that include the kitchen, bathroom, living room, and sometimes there are enclosed courtyards. Homes are generally spacious. The set-up would depend on the choice of housing that is found. In-country staff would assist in finding housing. Some places come furnished, partially furnished, or unfurnished. For unfurnished, teachers would have to buy amenities such as a refrigerator, oven, couches, washing machine, beds. For other options, furnishings can be negotiated. Rental prices are cheap in Tozeur. Tozeur is a 10-minute drive across town, so housing is close to teaching locations. The team lives in one location right now.

All Tunis teachers live in the same neighborhood and can walk to each other’s houses. All schools are between a 10-30 minute taxi ride from our neighborhood. Housing is not provided by the schools. Teachers have the freedom to set up their own home in Tunis. The in-country staff will help find housing for incoming teachers. There are many housing options available with many amenities to make life comfortable and enjoyable.

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

The local currency is the Tunisian Dinar. People typically carry cash at all times. However, credit cards are accepted at most large supermarkets.

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

People travel to school by car. Some people own/rent a car. The most common form of public transportation we use is taxis and Bolts (ordered taxis). The metro is available but none of us use it due to theft. There are buses and public vans but we don’t normally use them.

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

Tourist sites in the Sahara desert; excursions; Star Wars film sites; oasis towns; date palmeries and the date industry; lots! Carthage is in Tunis with the possible site of the canonization of the NT as well as ancient Roman ruins. Sidi Bou Said is a beautiful seaside town on top of a hill with iconic blue and white architecture. Tunis is on the Mediterranean sea.

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

In Tozeur, Carrefour Market and MG are like grocery stores; there are lots of small shops and produce stalls; not many eating out options, but some exist; typically 1/3 meals are cooked, 1/3 meals are given from friends or neighbors, and 1/3 meals eat out. In Tunis, there is a local supermarket within walking distance from our houses as well as veggie/fruit stands. We have a wide variety of thoughts on eating out on our team. Some people eat out 4-6 times a week and some rarely eat out. The cost of eating out can add up if you are not strictly eating Tunisian food. Eating out International food can be pricey. Cooking at home is fairly easy. Some people share meals and some don’t.

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

In Tozeur, teachers don’t eat with students in the cafeteria; there is a teacher’s place at the cafeteria; not on campus much for meals. In Tunis, during school hours, teachers usually eat in their offices or go out to lunch. Some universities have outside seating. Teachers usually do not share meals during school hours with students.

What local dish is Tunisia known for?

Mtubga – a crepe-like wrapper with onions and hot paste inside – yummy! Brik, leblebi, couscous, tagine, salada mechweya, harissa, and sandwiches for days.

Does Tunisia have any western chain stores or restaurants?

In Tunis, there is Chilis, KFC, Pizza Hut, and Papa Johns.

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

In Tozeur, coffeeshops are great to hangout in; go to the desert and grill out or fellowship. In Tunis, during the summer, we enjoy going to the beach for the day. There are places within a 30 minute drive that you can rent an umbrella and lounge chair on the beach. Eating out is always fun since there is a variety of international restaurants. Many people on our team enjoy card or board games. There is rock climbing, escape rooms, hiking, art scene, museums, pottery making, cooking classes, bicycle riding, movie theater, sports outlets, paddle boarding, and so much more in the capital.

How do people exercise in Tunisia?

There are gyms and an exercising road people go to in the evenings; many do workouts inside.

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

Typically with students in Tozeur; not a ton of nearby cities. We will go to a coffee shop with our students on the weekends or to a park. Some of us teach on Saturday morning/afternoons. There are many beautiful beaches and ancient ruins sites within an hour’s drive in Tunis.

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

In Tozeur, Chak Wak because it is in the oasis date palmerie and there’s a museum. There are also always tables to sit at. But there are mosquitoes in the summer. Another place is Sahara Lounge, which is also in the palmerie, outdoor sitting, and spacious. Another place to gather is Frozen Palm – it has ICE CREAM! Great for the summer and good for meeting people.  In Tunis, Oh Em Gee is one of my favorite coffee shops because it is on the roof of a mall overlooking the Mediterranean. The wifi is great and there are many healthy food options. Generally, the wifi is not good/strong in public places. My favorite restaurants include Go Sushi, Pita Gore (Greek), Momenti (Italian). These restaurants prepare dishes that are authentic and delicious. My favorite restaurant in my neighborhood is Echemi.

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

They may be surprised how many people will remember them. If they go back to the same places, the vendors will remember you. They may be surprised how many motorbikes there are…there are so many! They may be surprised how easily they can get around because it’s not too hard to learn Tozeur. They may be surprised how much dust there is on the streets and blowing into your house.  In Tunis, all the things you need to live on are easily accessible within walking distance in our neighborhood. At first, learning the currency seems challenging but it quickly becomes second nature.

Any additional helpful points for Tunisia?

When coming to a new city, there are so many newly opened doors and ways to meet the expressed need for English teaching. Plus, Star Wars!

Family & growth

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

Our Member Care Specialist is from another MENA country. We have a semesterly meeting, and preferably one in–person at our yearly conference (AMG). Weekly reports are also given to MCS.

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

Much of this is through the team and the other expats in this area. There are about 15 total brothers and sisters here, so we encourage each other in weekly fellowship. Our team of 2 people meets weekly and encourages development. There are opportunities company-wide for book clubs or seminars through the Greenhouse. There are also hopes for retreats too. In Tunis, a lot of this development happens on team, whether going through the sp. temperaments as a country team or reading/studying with a small team. Some of the ladies also had a book club last semester. In addition, there are fellowship opportunities with other expats.

What does ongoing professional development look like?

Teachers choose their professional development. One teacher did an online certificate through a university in the States. One teacher has professional development opportunities through the university in Tozeur. Teachers would work with the team leader to develop a plan for ongoing professional development that fits the specific context in Tozeur. As we are new to the universities here, there is a big learning curve and many professional development to strive to serve well at the universities. First-year teachers complete their observations and Wheaton certificate while teaching at a language club or university. University teachers collaborate to work with different curriculum and observe one another and at times work with local colleagues to co-teach courses.

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

Not at the moment.

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

Yes, there is a language center that teaches Arabic. It is a 1-1 tutoring with local Tunisians from this southern region. This way, they can learn a specific dialect here. This language center provides a comprehensive model curriculum – speaking, listening, reading, and writing. At the beginning is survival Arabic. Teachers can choose their number of hours per week. The beginning may look like 8-12 hours/week and then adjusting depending on teaching schedules.  In Tunis, yes! We’ve studied GPA as well as other 4-skills curriculum. There are online language learning opportunities as well as in person, and we can study French or Tunisian Arabic depending on the learner’s goals. Language setup is based on teaching load/schedule and will be determined in-country after working with our resident Language Coach (Lansen!).

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

Baby Conley arrived in November 2021!

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

There are a lot of expat families in Tunis, available to get to know through the fellowship and schooling options as well as an expat group chat. Tunisians are also very family-centered so you’ll see families out together in good weather, and there are a lot of kid parks around Tunis.

What schooling options are available for families with children?

Some expat families send their kids to French or Arabic schools, and there is also CCA, an English Classical school (Pre-K to 12th grade) run by Americans.

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

Language, MCS, and other roles for the city are readily available for non-teaching spouses! As well as getting to know locals and engaging in the community.