This month we find out a little more about one of our partner organisations, TeachBeyond. Christian TEFL took the opportunity to fire some questions at their UK National Development Co-ordinator, Jeremy Howden.
Hi Jeremy, can you tell us a little about how TeachBeyond started?
TeachBeyond was born on the western Canadian prairies in 1954, when Leo Janz committed himself to bringing the Biblical message of salvation and hope in Jesus Christ to post- war Germany. Several members of his family joined Leo and his wife Lydia to create The Janz Brothers Gospel Association, which began broadcasting over Radio Luxembourg in 1955. Other family members soon joined and news of the Association’s radio, church, music, and educational work spread to German-speaking communities in North and South America. From their work, independent Janz agencies developed in Brazil, Germany, Portugal, Switzerland, Russia, France, Belarus, and the UK. In 1956, the Janz Team founded Black Forest Academy in Kandern, Germany to meet the education needs of the children of Christian workers and missionaries.
In 2006 the Janz Team Ministries Board of Directors made a decision to recast the vision while remaining faithful to the original mission. A multi-national task force investigated new projects and directions for the mission. Out of this group came the phrase “teach beyond;” this subsequently became the name of the organisation in 2009.
So what is the typical age/nationality of a TeachBeyond volunteer?
Most volunteers are in their 20’s Ð 30’s though the oldest volunteer I have known was in her 80’s!! So we do have opportunities for retired teachers! Up until now most volunteers have come from North America but we are seeing increasing numbers join us from Europe and Asia.
How long do placements last? Can they be flexible?
Most placements are from 1 Ð2 years though we do have short term opportunities through our English Camp program. Some of the schools we partner with have short term placements of around 3 months and also some opportunities for student teachers so yes there can be flexibility in the length of placement. Some people choose to make a career out of serving at our partner schools and serve for a much longer time.
What makes the TeachBeyond experience unique or special?
TeachBeyond offers people the opportunity to live out their Christian life in a teaching role whether that is through formal or informal education. Through their Christian witness and through an education founded on Biblical values and principles this gives people the opportunity to impact the lives of children and adults around the world. This is the vision that God has given TeachBeyond Ð to see the lives of individuals and whole communities transformed through a holistic Christian education and God is opening many doors around the world where we are beginning to see this happen.
What kind of teaching work to TeachBeyond volunteers usually do – young learners, adults, conversation etc.?
We have a wide range of formal teaching opportunities from preschool to primary and secondary education. We also have opportunities for those interested in training national teachers in Christian education. There are also opportunities for informal education through our English Camps and increasing opportunities for TEFL work.
How does TeachBeyond use the funds generated through Christian TEFL?
At present TeachBeyond is not well known in the UK and therefore so are many of our opportunities for Christian teachers to serve overseas. So we will be looking to reinvest the funds generated through Christian TEFL into our work of increasing awareness of TeachBeyond in the UK and recruiting UK teachers to serve at our partner schools.