Sustainable Development Goals

The Project

In the outer Dili suburb of Bedois, St Therese Parish has requested the assistance of a qualified and experienced Preschool Teacher for their pre-school (Pre-Escolar Santa Terezinha Do Menino Jesus Bedois) that provides an early childhood program for over 40 children. The program broadly aims to prepare pre-school children for starting primary school.

Palms Australia has provided support and mentoring to the local Director and teaching staff through two previous participants and have requested further assistance to build the staff’s understanding of child development; family involvement; curriculum development; resource development; and program planning and implementation.

The Location

St Therese Parish is located in Bedois, an outer suburb of Dili, Timor Leste.

Timor-Leste, or East Timor, is a Southeast Asian nation occupying half the island of Timor. Landmarks in the capital, Dili, speak to the country’s struggles for independence from Portugal in 1975 and then Indonesia in 2002. Timor-Leste has a population of 1,246,310; 31.9% are living in urban areas, with a median age of 17.5 years.

The Challenge

Considerable progress has been made in improving education in Timor-Leste since gaining independence in 2002, particularly in urban areas. However, there is still an ongoing need for emphasis on the importance of education.

Despite the challenges, Timor-Leste has demonstrated it is serious about education with the development of curriculum reforms. However, many teachers are not qualified, and have only completed secondary education. Retention of skilled teachers is also a challenge.

About You

The successful candidate will demonstrate:

  • Qualifications and experience in preschool education
  • Previous experience in mentoring and supporting fellow teachers (preferred),
  • Willingness to learn tetum (local language),
  • Adaptability and flexibility,
  • Cultural sensitivity and openness to working within a different cultural context,
  • Willingness to work in Dili for 2 years, with limited resources and facilities, and
  • Willingness to engage their Australian community in promoting the work of the host organisation and their role.

How You Will Help

First you must be willing to learn from the local community.

Over the first six months you are asked not to change anything or suggest a change to operations.  During that six months you will take the time to learn language and cultural mores from a local counterpart willing to mentor you.  You will also start a register of the strengths of the current personnel and the assets in the community/country that might be used to achieve the goals of the assignment.

You need to commit to clarifying why things are done the way they are rather than presuming from your own cultural lens to outline what is missing. So, you need to ask questions to enable you to learn from your hosts, rather than in ignorance make suggestions about how things can improve. Palms training will prepare you for this approach.

In the second six months you will be ready and better know which of your skills and what of your knowledge applies to assisting the director and teaching staff in their understanding of:

  • child and family development
  • curriculum development
  • resource development and
  • program planning and implementation

Through skill exchange and support, staff directly mentored by the Australian teacher will use their new skills to continually develop their own teaching methods, which will improve teacher quality and student learning outcomes. Improved English proficiency will also mean that more educational resources become readily available to them.

Note: The monthly living allowance enables you to live a modest local lifestyle. Based on the cost of living in a particular country, it covers food, your daily commute, communication and other local costs. It is not set to enable you to meet financial commitments at home, such as a mortgage or a personal loan.  It will not cover the costs of eating out and other entertainment. Read more about what is covered in our FAQ. All applicants will be required to complete a Working with Children and Police Check.

Think you have what it takes? Register your interest

    * Successful applicants must be available to attend an orientation course in Sydney. Palms Australia will not fund international flights and will not sponsor visas to attend this course. Read our FAQ for more.