The application for U.S. K-12 schools to host an exchange teacher is due October 22, 2021.

The Teachers of Critical Languages Program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and implemented by American Councils for International Education.

You can start an application by visiting:


U.S. Host School Requirements

U.S. primary and secondary schools that meet the following program requirements are eligible to submit an application to host an exchange teacher:

  • Have an existing Chinese or Arabic foreign language program or want to start a Chinese or Arabic language program;
  • Have a detailed plan for the exchange teacher to strengthen the host school’s Chinese or Arabic language program through independent teaching or team-teaching;
  • Provide the exchange teacher between 10 and 20 scheduled contact hours per week to leave time in his/her schedule for outreach presentations in colleagues’ classes and area schools, designing curricula, and for extracurricular activities. TCLP defines contact hours as those hours when the teacher is actually teaching students during scheduled class periods;
  • Provide the exchange teacher with professional development opportunities that are available to the host school’s own faculty, including new teacher workshops/orientations, planning days before school starts, in-service trainings, and faculty meetings;
  • Provide the exchange teacher with opportunities to share information about his/her home country in the host school and community, and to learn about U.S. education, culture, and society;
  • Provide a host school-based mentor teacher to support the program’s implementation and assist the exchange teacher throughout their stay in the United States (please see additional details below);
  • Designate a community liaison to assist the exchange teacher’s transition into the community. This cannot be the same as the mentor teacher or school administrator.
  • If teaching certification documents are required for the exchange teacher to work in the school, the host school will cover all costs associated with receiving teaching certification;
  • Have a plan for the exchange teacher’s logistical support throughout the year that include:
    • For fully funded exchange teacher: Arrange housing accommodations (an apartment, a rented room in a house, or a home-stay) in the host community with the understanding that rent and other living expenses will be paid by the exchange teacher (who will receive a housing allowance).
    • For a partially funded exchange teacher: Arrange and pay for housing accommodations (an apartment, a rented room in a house, or a home-stay) in the host community.
  • Facilitate transportation arrangements that will enable the exchange teacher to live independently within the community; and
  • Participate in TCLP mandatory training and workshops:
    • Host School Online Course: five modules for school administrators and mentor teachers;
    • Host School Orientation: a two-day workshop in Washington, DC for host school mentor teachers in early August. During this event, mentor teachers will meet their exchange teachers and participate in orientation activities together;
    • Fall Workshop: a two-day workshop in mid-October for exchange and mentor teachers.

Mentor Teachers: Schools must designate an experienced teacher to serve as a mentor to the exchange teacher in order to facilitate the exchange teacher’s success in a new education system. The required qualifications for the mentor teacher include:

  • Have a minimum of five years of full-time teaching experience in the host school;
  • Have the time and willingness to provide guidance on school policies and best practices for teaching, classroom management, curriculum development, assessment, and school norms;
  • Meet at least once a week with the exchange teacher to help him/her acclimatize to the host school through establishing networks within the faculty and participating in extracurricular activities.

The ideal mentor teacher would also:

  • Be a foreign language teacher;
  • Have a genuine interest in cross-cultural exchange; and
  • Have the ability to observe the exchange teacher's classroom.

Mentor teachers can receive professional development hours for each month of their participation.


TCLP Informational Webinar

View a recording of our recent webinar with former mentor teacher Christina Vela:

View a recording of our recent webinar with former mentor teacher John Pecoraro:

To learn more about the program, view our informational webinar by visiting: 

Host School Funding Options

TCLP is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State and provides three possible funding levels for host schools. Schools indicate their funding level(s) of choice on their application.

TCLP Host School Funding Levels Chart


Host School Recruitment & Selection Criteria

STEP 1: Expression of interest to host a TCLP teacher in the 2022-2023 academic year. Interested schools are requested to submit a short application where they answer questions related to school, program support, express their need to host a teacher of Arabic and Chinese, and discuss school’s language program’s sustainability plan.

STEP 2: Following independent evaluation, select host schools will be invited to submit a full application providing additional information about community and logistical support of exchange teacher, including cultural exchange opportunities for both the exchange teacher and the host community; and professional development support mechanisms that the exchange teacher will have access to. The applicant will also submit school administrative approval form indicating that the school has received the required approval for participation in the program, (e.g. approval from the President, Headmaster, Superintendent, District Official, Chancellor, etc.) 

The U.S. Department of State and American Councils will convene an independent panel that will review host school applications for both Step 1 and 2 and nominate semi-finalists for interviews (Step 3).

STEP 3: Semi-finalist school mentor teachers and administrative representatives will participate in web-based interviews in which they will discuss their program vision, support strategies, teaching and outreach schedule design, and post-exchange collaboration.

The U.S. Department of State and American Councils will convene an independent panel that will review host school applications on the basis of the following:

  • The academic program plan;
  • The school’s commitment to the program;
  • The presence of diverse student and community populations with whom the exchange teacher can interact;
  • Proposed teaching assignments and the exchange teacher’s support during the transitional period and throughout academic year;
  • Community and logistical support of exchange teacher, including cultural exchange opportunities for both the exchange teacher and the host community;
  • Quality of proposed mentor teacher; and
  • The school’s sustainability plan for its Arabic/Chinese language program.


Program Timeline

  • Submission deadline for Step 1 of the application: October 22, 2021
  • Invitation to complete Step 2 of the application: November 22, 2021
  • Submission deadline for Step 2 of the application: January 5, 2022
  • Notification of program semi-finalists: Early February 2022 
  • Semi-finalist virtual interviews: February 11-22, 2022
  • Notification of program finalists: Early March, 2022
  • Exchange program: August 2022 – June 2023



All questions may be directed to TCLP Staff by emailing or calling 202-833-7522 and asking to speak with a member of TCLP Staff.