peace corps

Description of Service

All Peace Corps Volunteers are required to type out a DOS (Description of Service), so… I’m using it as a cop out blog that gives me a way to give you non-PCVs an overall generalized idea of what I’ve been doing. Also, it tosses an example out there to all of you soon to be RPCVs.

FYI… if you’re a PCV this will all be pretty boring. Also… even if you’re not. (I’ll see if I can’t spice it up with some picture captions though)

Description of Peace Corps Service
Name: Brandon Holly
Country and Dates of Service: Philippines August 2009 – November 2011

After thoroughly completing the extensive and competitive application process wherein the applicant was compelled to stress her/his skills, adaptability, and cross-cultural sensitivity, Brandon Holly began his Peace Corps training. His training began on August 22nd, 2009 in The Philippines and he completed a twelve week PST (Pre-Service Training) program. The PST program consisted of 176 hours of Tagalog language , 170 hours of hands-on technical training (working closely with teachers and education administrators), and 35 hours of culture training (history, economy, and cultural norms). In addition to all of this, he also lived with a Filipino host family and received 73 hours of Health and Safety training.

I always feel like opening paragraphs like these make me sound like a tool. But... it could be worse.

Brandon Holly was sworn in as an official PCV (Peace Corps Volunteer) November 13th, 2009. During his first year of service as an Education Volunteer (Teacher of English language fluency) he was assigned to Jose J. Leido Jr. Memorial National High School (LEMNAHIS) serving under the school’s Principal, Dr. Donato G. Bueno. There, he was an active member of the English department staff. The school is located in Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro which is a rapidly developing city and LEMNAHIS accommodates over 6,00 students from the city and outlying farming and fishing barangays, aged roughly between the ages of 12-16 years old. At LEMNAHIS, Mr. Holly planned and co-taught with three Filipino counterparts in each High School grade level, excluding first year students. He produced many varied cost-effective visual aids and introduced several educational activities and strategies that required little to no resources. His classes held anywhere from 20-65 students.

*sigh* I'm going to miss teaching my little droogs (attention: this is neither me nor my droogs)

Mr. Holly, during the summer of his first year, became very involved in teacher trainings and cross-sector work all across the country. These included (but are not limited to) a methodologies training in Palawan, a multi-faceted mobile educational training on the island of Panay, and a cross-sector environmental education camp on Luzon in Batangas. The teacher trainings held on Palawan and Panay allowed Mr. Holly to share his knowledge and skills in the field of writing and critical thinking skill strengthening. The training on Luzon had him working with several volunteers from various sectors, most notably the Coastal Resource sector. The collaboration resulted in a very successful environmental education camp for around 50 High School students and their adult teachers and chaperones.

Read: Excuses to hang out with other volunteers. Umm... Well... See... (Joke! This was rare. We actually worked our butts off during those trainings)

This is more accurate.

Mr. Holly’s second year of Peace Corps Service was served again at LEMNAHIS, but under Dr. Nimrod F. Bantigue the new principal. Mr. Holly co-taught four main classes full time with three main counterparts. In addition to his normal teaching load, he taught three other classes part time with two other co-teachers. Class sizes once again ranged from 20 to 65 students. He actively participated in several school functions including: In-Service Trainings, two outreach programs put on by and for the SPED (Special Education) department, at-site seminars, and various programs. Thus, he became close to many members of the teaching staff and he was well known throughout the school at large.

Once again, not my droogs (well they ARE my droogs, but not my Filipino co-teacher droogs), but this is pretty much what co-teaching looked like everyday.

When not teaching his traditional classes, Mr. Holly was developing a journal writing program and implementing it in his classrooms. He enjoyed this and depending on the co-teachers individual preferences, Mr. Holly devoted one day each week for ten minutes of journal writing. He would then collect the students’ journals and personally comment and correct all of them. This was a time consuming process; however, several students seemed to improve their English writing and comprehension through this weekly exercise. In addition, Brandon Holly’s wide range of journal topics forced them to use and thus, strengthen their critical and creative thinking skills.

THIS was my very unrealistic expectation when I started my journal project.

The actual result. (Which was fine... I just wanted them to write)

During his second year, Mr. Holly also worked in a resource capacity for a few Peace Corps sponsored events. He was selected to be a resource volunteer for a cluster of PCTs (Peace Corps Trainees) and with the help of a fellow volunteer, and Pre-Service Training staff, he helped the PCTs prepare and complete a community service project and prepare for their upcoming service as volunteers. He was also involved in the Tudlo Mindanao program (a Peace Corps and USAID partnership). Through this program he worked with a fellow volunteer on the island of Luzon and trained roughly 80 school heads and principals from Mindanao because at the moment, Peace Corps volunteers are not allowed to travel to that region.

Definitely one of my more rewarding Peace Corps experiences.

With a little spare time, Mr. Holly also published The Kwan. The Kwan is a quarterly journal for PCVs. In which, they are asked to submit stories, art, etc. to the publication and if selected their contributions will be published and sent to fellow volunteers around the country. It is a relatively small way to help PCVs stay connected to each other and to give them a peek into the work of their fellow volunteers.

No no no... not THAT Kwan.

At the completion of his Peace Corps service, Mr. Holly achieved a score of Intermediate High during his LPI (Language Proficiency Interview) in Tagalog.

Pretty much exactly how I sound when I speak Tagalog. (I'm far from fluent, but I do ok)

Soo… that’s my service in a nutshell!

Much Love,

– Brandon Holly –

p.s. – if you’re a PCV and need the legal stuff and don’t want to type it out yourself. Here it is… just change my name to your name. … Duh.

Pursuant to Section 5(f) of the Peace Corps Act 22 USC. 2504(f), as amended, any former Volunteer employed by the United States Government following his Peace Corps Volunteer Service is entitled to have any period of satisfactory Peace Corps service credited for purposes of retirement, seniority, reduction in force, leave, and other privileges based on length of Government service. Peace Corps service shall not be credited toward completion of the probationary trial period of any service requirement for career appointment.

This is to certify in accordance with Executive Order 11103 of April 10, 1963, that Mr. Brandon Holly served successfully as a Peace Corps Volunteer. His service ended on November 15, 2009. He is therefore eligible to be appointed as a career-conditional employee in the competitive civil service on a non-competitive basis. This benefit under the Executive Order entitlement extends for a period of one year, except that the employing agency may extend the period for up to three years for a former volunteer who enters military service, pursues studies at a recognized institution of higher learning or engages in other activities which in the view of the appointing authority warrants extension of the period.

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