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Landon



Joined: 26 Sep 2011
Posts: 53

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 1:21 am    Post subject: Newbie Questions Reply with quote

I have posted similar questions here at Dave's over the last few years, but we have still yet to actually do any EFL teaching. I wanted to just compile a few a few of our most common questions here and hopefully hear from some with experience.

I am now 32 years old and my wife is 27. I have a Bachelor's in Science and she has a Master's in Education along with 4 years experience teaching Elementary here in the States.

We have been fortunate in our careers and have saved up a nice little nest egg. We own our home and plan to keep it as a rent house along with another rental property we own as well. Hopefully these investment properties can be a source of several hundred dollars a month or more while we are abroad. Not to mention the appreciation in value we hope to see over the years. Besides these assets, we have another couple hundred thousand dollars saved up.

We believe it is now time to make the move abroad. Latin America is where we plan on going. And we are just about settled on Ecuador.

1. Do I need a TEFL or CELTA in order to teach some part time English. Most likely just private lessons?
2. Does my wife need a TEFL or CELTA in order to teach in a school? She has a Master's in Education with experience. She also was born in Peru and speaks fluent Spanish and fluent English (as do I). So I believe she can work in any type of school, public or international.
3. Do we "need" to teach in order to get by, considering the small amount of revenue that we have coming in and our savings. In other words, do you think we have enough to "retire" without teaching? Some tell us we don't have near enough saved to make this move, and others tell us that we have more than enough to live in Ecuador indefinitely.
4. Should I get my qualifications before we make the move? Or is this something I can do while I am down there?

I think these are the best questions for this forum. Our other questions are probably better suited for the LA forum or Ecuador specifically.

Thanks
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HLJHLJ



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 867

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

1. Do I need a TEFL or CELTA in order to teach some part time English. Most likely just private lessons?

What do you mean by 'need'?

In Ecuador, in terms of actually getting work, whether you actually 'need' a CELTA/TEFL will vary according to your visa status and employer.

But in terms of being able to do the job,yes you probably need some training, especially if you are teaching privately with no support or backup from a school.

Do you know anything about teaching English? Do you have materials?What do you know about placement tests and needs analysis?

Also, the better paying private students will be looking for experience and proper qualifications. It depends what you plan to charge and how good a job you intend to do.


2. Does my wife need a TEFL or CELTA in order to teach in a school? She has a Master's in Education with experience. She also was born in Peru and speaks fluent Spanish and fluent English (as do I). So I believe she can work in any type of school, public or international.

To work in schools you usually need to be a certified teacher. To work in a state school that needs to be Ecuadorian state certification, (though of course, rules can be flexible in Ecuador, but the risk would be all hers, not the schools). The pay will also be very low.

International schools will also want certification. Just an MEd isn't usually an acceptable substitute.

So it depends whether her MEd also included teaching certification.



3. Do we "need" to teach in order to get by, considering the small amount of revenue that we have coming in and our savings. In other words, do you think we have enough to "retire" without teaching? Some tell us we don't have near enough saved to make this move, and others tell us that we have more than enough to live in Ecuador indefinitely.

You aren't going to be able to live in Ecuador indefinitely on a couple of hundred thousand dollars. And if you blow all your savings now, what do you plan to retire on?

Also, if you aren't teaching, what are you planning to do for a visa? Investing in property for an investment visa will eat a significant chunk of those savings up.

4. Should I get my qualifications before we make the move? Or is this something I can do while I am down there?

You can get a CELTA in Ecuador, or you can take a course before you come.
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Landon



Joined: 26 Sep 2011
Posts: 53

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 4:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for the response. I appreciate it. To answer your questions.

1. Yes, I lived and taught English as a volunteer in Peru a decade ago. And since then I started and ran a volunteer English class in my local hispanic church here in Texas. I have no formal training. I do however speak Spanish, which has proven to be valuable in teaching English to Spanish speakers. Especially the absolute beginners. So far, locally, my lesson plans and materials have been easy to come by. I do not know anything about placements tests or needs analysis, but I am sure that would be simple enough to get sorted out quickly.

2. What do you mean certified teacher?? She is a teacher. With more than enough qualifications to teach primary school in Texas. She has taught bilingual first grade and bilingual second grade. I believe her cert is for Bilingual Early Childhood 1st-4th grade. But she says it is simple enough to get certified to teach almost any grade or subject she chooses. Are you saying that Ecuador has its own certification to teach, even in an international school? I wonder how difficult that would be to get. Just a course or two and an exam??

So, teaching public school as a full time teacher in Ecuador would pay less than an EFL teacher in an institute? We were thinking that teachers were pretty well respected in most LA countries, and were paid as professionals, unlike the US.

3. What visas do others get when moving abroad without a job? There are thousands of expats in Ecuador and other South American countries with visas that are not "working". Many of them not near retirement or pension age. I guess an Investment or Real Estate Visa would be our best bet.

So, you believe that a steady monthly investment income of $1000, plus a handful of private teaching lessons, will not allow us to live in Ecuador without "blowing" our savings? i know that wouldn't be a fraction of what is needed to live where we do now or many other Western places. We live on 8-10 times that amount now, so making the move to an Ecuadorian economy and lifestyle is a big unknown and source of anxiety.

I guess we plan on retiring on our $400-$500K worth of real estate and our other invested savings. And hopefully this will all continue to appreciate up as we get older. We don't plan on bringing all of our money with us in a shoe box and just using it.

This is exactly why I wanted to ask this question here, because like I mentioned, some people have told us that, ABSOLUTELY we have more than enough to do this on and we should not even be concerned. And others like you have said, NO WAY, not near enough to live and retire on. I have always been skeptical, but I am starting to believe that we will be fine.

I made a thread here a couple of years ago about the reality of saving as an EFL teacher abroad. Although I got varied responses and experiences, our conclusion was that, generally we cannot save any money as a EFL teacher. It is still our dream and we want to do it, we just decided that we would have to make our own way through passive income streams from back home and through savings as young people with careers in the States before we left.

4. Thanks, I think I may go ahead and get down there and see how necessary it is. I would probably just do it anyway, because like you mentioned, people might pay more for qualifications. Not to mention I could use the help.
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HLJHLJ



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 867

PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Being able to speak Spanish is invaluable for daily life, but may actually go against you when it comes to teaching, it's definitely not something you want to emphasize to private students. If students are paying a premium to learn from a native speaker they will expect classes to be held entirely in English, without lapses into Spanish, even with absolute beginners (although they are pretty rare amongst those who can afford to pay for lessons, I've only once had total beginners, and their employer was paying). The exception to that is Spanish speaking parents looking for an English tutor for their kids, although they will usually still expect you to maintain a no-Spanish rule in class.

I'm sorry I don't know the terminology for the States, hopefully someone else can help with that. In the UK it's QTS, qualified teacher status. If she is a state school teacher in the US, she is presumably a certified teacher, and that is the important thing that needs to be emphasized, not the MEd. It qualifies her to work in international schools. She would be wasting her time in Ecuadorian state schools, they are government employees, and while they are respected, wages are low in the public sector.

She should look at the proper international schools (she'll get a much better deal if she is hired from overseas) or the better bilingual private schools. That pretty much restricts you to Quito though, or a couple of possibilities in Guayaquil.

Ecuador is very unusual because there are several options to get a visa without a job, though the rules change constantly as does the extent to which they are enforced. You'll need to do your own research on it first, because it's a huge question.

It's incredibly hard to say how much you will need to live on, there are so many variables. I know there are companies selling retirement visa packages and claiming you can live comfortably on $700/m etc, but IMO that's entirely unrealistic for the vast majority of people. For example, in a very rural area with minimal facilities you could maybe manage on $700 if you were very very frugal (though for 2 people even that would be a push). But you would need more in a big town, and more again for a major city. Of course, most of the work is in the cities.

We have managed to support 2 people in Quito on a little over $1,000/m for short periods, but not with a lifestyle I would want to maintain for any length of time. If that's all you have coming in (and with minimal experience, qualifications and connections, you aren't going to make much extra teaching private students) you will have to dip into your savings fairly regularly. If you are having to spend your capital it won't appreciate over time.

Having said that, if you both work, you can easily make enough to live on here, though you might not save much (unless your wife gets a good job at an international school), but then you can leave your savings and rental income alone so you have something to fall back on later.
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Landon



Joined: 26 Sep 2011
Posts: 53

PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks a lot.

Can I assume that private lessons pay more than teaching EFL in a school? Im sure it is not near as steady and requires more travel. But wouldn't 2 or 3 or 4 private students a day be equivalent to a full day of teaching in a language school?

Or maybe it would be better to ask, how much would a qualified teacher typically make in day working at a language school in Quito. $20? $50? $100?

I am not opposed to working in a school, I just don't know if there is much upside, unless it is going to pay quite a bit more money.
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HLJHLJ



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 867

PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 3:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What do you mean by a qualified teacher?

As a very rough guide in Quito, bottom of the barrel places (e.g. Wall Street) typically pay around $4-5/hr, mid range (EF, Inlingua) $6-8/hr, the top payer is BSL ($10+/hr). Universities pay more, if you have post grad qualifications.

Once you've made a name for yourself and if you can find a niche, you can do OK with private students (visa permitting). But when you first start, with no contacts, minimal or no qualifications, and minimal experience you'd probably have to charge towards the bottom of that range. Plus, private students are notoriously flakey, and you have next to no chance of getting them to pay for cancellations/no shows.

If you are having to travel as well, then it's still doable if it's a single bus journey each way (25c) but if you are paying for a taxi, even if it's just a $1 e/w that will quickly eat into your income.
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coledavis



Joined: 21 Jun 2003
Posts: 1828

PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Re 'need' for certification: it's not just about can you get a job without it, but also whether or not you will do a good job without the training. Language teaching is rather different from the teaching of other subjects.
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