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Hello! Getting started teaching in Mexico

 
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TEFLTeacherMexico



Joined: 20 May 2016
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 1:55 pm    Post subject: Hello! Getting started teaching in Mexico Reply with quote

Hello everyone,

I'm glad to find other like minded teachers to speak to here. I've been reading through this forum, speaking to friends who teach, and researching the subject as much as I can. I'd love to hear the opinions and honest advice of you guys who actually live and teach here.

I'm 27, born and raised in England, half English and half Mexican, which means I look white but more like a Spaniard or Italian than a north European white.

Ha, sorry if the detailed racial profile offends you, I'm just trying to give you a good description of my appearance. I'm not naive, and I know it matters.

I have a lot of private tutoring experience, from teaching people piano and drums for 4-5 years. However I have no classroom experience.

I've decided to go into TEFL instead and will have to put music aside for a while I get settled into a new career.

I am going to IH Playa Del Carmen next month for a one month CELTA course and I'm going to get an apartment for 3 months while I look for a job there or in Cancun. If I don't find one I will start to apply in places like Merida.

I know Mexico does not pay the best wages but I want to work there for a while because:
I have family and friends there,
I have a Mexican passport but I want to learn Spanish so I can get around the country and actually be accepted as a Mexican as well.
I won't have to mess around with VISAs or anything.
Also I like that area because I think its a fairly safe place and I like the mix of tourists and Mexicans there, the party atmosphere and the beach.

However from reading here, it doesn't look like that's a very likely plan to work. I'll try it out anyway, but if not I have family and friends in Merida, Queretaro and Monterrey. I like the first two cities, so it wouldn't be too bad if I had to work there.

I'm also looking into online teaching and private tutoring as I understand most jobs have a low wage. Also possibly music tutoring and performance again.

Anyway, I was wondering, are my plans completely crazy? Are there better cities in to work that I've overlooked? Are there any red flags in my plans that you've noticed? I've heard bad things about DF from almost everyone, including Mexicans.
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MotherF



Joined: 07 Jun 2010
Posts: 1416
Location: 1748'N 9746'W

PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You left out an important detail, do you have a university degree? And if so in what?

And do you really not speak Spanish? Or you just feel like you don't speak it like a native?
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TEFLTeacherMexico



Joined: 20 May 2016
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah yes, I knew I would be forgetting a few things and that's why I've posted over here. It seems impossible to cover every single detail before I move there, I'm going to have to figure it out as I go.

To my eternal shame, I managed to fail my degree in Popular Music. At the time I blamed it on not being able to find other students to help me with my projects (it relied on group work), I also started to believe my degree was pretty pointless. However, really I was lazy and since I've left university I like to think I have learnt my lesson and become a lot more hard working.

However I do have a Foundation Degree in Popular Music, that's from the first year of the course that I didn't fail.

My Spanish is terrible, I used to be able to speak it as a kid but I've forgotten it. I've got a large enough vocabulary of words to understand basic written sentences, however I lack the grammatical knowledge to construct anything more than a basic phrase. Ha, another thing I am ashamed of, I am confident I can learn it though.
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MotherF



Joined: 07 Jun 2010
Posts: 1416
Location: 1748'N 9746'W

PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK. I looked up Foundation degree, it's like what we call an Associate's degree or A.A. in North America. My next question, what instruments do you play? Have you ever taught music?
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TEFLTeacherMexico



Joined: 20 May 2016
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah I play drums, piano/keyboards and a little bit of guitar and bass.
I've got a lot of experience teaching piano and drum lessons one on one the last 4 or 5 years to students from 8 year old beginners to mature advanced players. I've helped a lot of younger students through different grades and I'm confident with my ability doing private lessons in a subject I know very well

I've never taught in a classroom setting but I'm looking forward to the challenge of that, and I've never had to teach English before, so I'm learning all I can about it as I hope I do well on my CELTA course at that part.
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TEFLTeacherMexico



Joined: 20 May 2016
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah I play drums, piano/keyboards and a little bit of guitar and bass.
I've got a lot of experience teaching piano and drum lessons one on one the last 4 or 5 years to students from 8 year old beginners to mature advanced players.

I've never taught in a classroom setting but I'm looking forward to the challenge of that, I hope I do well on my CELTA course at that part.
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BadBeagleBad



Joined: 23 Aug 2010
Posts: 1183
Location: 24.18105,-103.25185

PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 11:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know a couple of people who live in Playa who looked and looked for work and never found anything. I don't know firsthand, but have heard the same is true of Cancun. There is tons of work in Mexico City, like everything it has it good side and bad side. I wouldn't believe any Mexican who tells you anything negative about Mexico City unless they have actually lived there. I lived in Mexico City for many years, and now live in Zacatecas and the things people who have never been there tell me as fact range for the insane to the absurd. There are two factors, though, that there is no getting around. The pollution is pretty bad, and it is a huge, hectic city. However, there is tons of culture and night life, so I wouldn't completely write it off. Don't know about Merida, but there are a couple of people here who live in Queretaro who wille along I am sure. I have a friend who lives in Queretaro and works for a language school, pretty much full time and likes it, makes 12,000 a month. I would not recommend Monterrey, living in the north of Mexico myself I hear a lot of news about Monterrey and it seems like it has gotten worse in the last year, after having gotten better for a while. If you like the north of Mexico, you might look at Durango, beautiful, clean city. But as you have already pointed out, the south is far safer. You mentioned you are half Mexican and have a Mexican passport. I am in the same boat as you (half Mexican, half Irish) and being white won't get you are far as you would think with a Mexican passport, because the assumption is going to be that you are NOT a native speaker, so you'll have that to overcome, I suggest you make it very clear on your CV that you have lived most/all of your life in England. I have been ruled out of jobs because of that, even though I grew up in Chicago, went to college there, etc. Sounds like you have given things a lot of thought. Another thought, you mentioned working online. If you can find an online job before arriving in Mexico that gives you a lot more flexibility in where you live. If you want to learn Spanish fast, you might consider a small town for a few months. The cost of living will be low and you will be immersed in Spanish.
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MotherF



Joined: 07 Jun 2010
Posts: 1416
Location: 1748'N 9746'W

PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TEFLTeacherMexico wrote:
Yeah I play drums, piano/keyboards and a little bit of guitar and bass.
I've got a lot of experience teaching piano and drum lessons one on one the last 4 or 5 years to students from 8 year old beginners to mature advanced players.

I've never taught in a classroom setting but I'm looking forward to the challenge of that, I hope I do well on my CELTA course at that part.


I happen to be looking for a drum teacher for my son, and would love it if the classes were in English. Unfortunately, I'm far from your target cities but you should explore the idea of combining English and music as much as possible.
I think your not needing a visa will be a big plus. You might look into a Mexican degree in the future.
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abbott123



Joined: 08 May 2016
Posts: 29
Location: Queretaro, Mexico

PostPosted: Sat May 28, 2016 3:27 am    Post subject: If Playa doesn't work come to Queretaro plenty of work...... Reply with quote

If you cn't find work in Playa I'd advise you to come to Queretaro...It is a little cooler here than Merida and there is tons of work here for English teachers...This city is a kind of hotspot for English. You won't be sorry you came. The centro is great and the rents seem to be cheaper than other cities....I found a job in 3 days here with full legal benefits. Again you won't go wrong in Queretaro..... Very Happy Very Happy
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Jultime



Joined: 25 Jun 2014
Posts: 110
Location: Mexico

PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2016 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to Mexico Smile

I'm also in Queretaro, I've been here just over a year and really like living here. I've also been teaching business English at the same school for just over a year. I was fortunate to fall on my feet while looking for a job.

Queretaro is close enough yet far enough from Mexico City. There are direct buses from Qro to CDMX and the airport. Plus there's lots of places to explore in and around Qro.

You will easily find work in Qro, Leon, Celaya, Silao, and San Luis Potosi. This area is known as the automotive and aerospace industrial triangle. The international businesses require many of their employees to speak English.

Some ESL schools are terrible and some are very professional. Some don't pay well and some are reasonable, you'll have to do comparisons. Just don't expect to find a decent job on the beach.
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abbott123



Joined: 08 May 2016
Posts: 29
Location: Queretaro, Mexico

PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2016 8:11 pm    Post subject: Very True!!!! Reply with quote

Very few jobs are found in the beach towns or resort areas...Cities like Queretaro and nearby cities are where the jobs are and where you will also find groups of expats as well. You should get some training such as a TEFL or a Celta, before coming that will give you a foot in the door at least at the language schools in the area.... Smile
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TEFLTeacherMexico



Joined: 20 May 2016
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the helpful advice everyone.

I'm getting the CELTA in Playa del Carmen and planning on staying there for a month or two afterwards to see if I can work there. I will have a qualification to teach and I will be able to apply and look around in person. I also won't have any Visa difficulties due to having a Mexican passport.

I was born and raised in England, and I am a native speaker so I will make sure to point that out on my CV, as well as a weak Spanish speaker so I will mention all that so there is no confusion.

What type of schools should I be applying for? It sounds like I need to learn more about what type of job I will actually be qualified for. I see there's a Berlitz school and a few similiar language schools in Playa del Carmen, as well as the International House where I am getting my qualification. Why would I not be able to work for any of these places? I'm assuming there's more in Cancun. I'm probably not understanding something here.

Someone mentioned about getting an online teaching job before coming. That's an interesting idea I'd never even considered, however I'm assuming I need to get the qualification first before applying and a place set up to live with internet before I apply for an online teaching job.

Getting a degree in Mexico is another good idea I had not thought of that either.
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Aristede



Joined: 06 Aug 2009
Posts: 177

PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 8:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TEFLTeacherMexico wrote:

What type of schools should I be applying for? It sounds like I need to learn more about what type of job I will actually be qualified for. I see there's a Berlitz school and a few similiar language schools in Playa del Carmen, as well as the International House where I am getting my qualification. Why would I not be able to work for any of these places? I'm assuming there's more in Cancun. I'm probably not understanding something here.


Though I'm not currently in Mexico, a couple things about resort areas in general: (1) lots of people want to teach in them because lots of people want to spend time in them. This means that there is often a glut of teachers and any jobs still available probably pay poorly because the employers have a large pool to choose from (2) because of the tourist industry, many more locals than the national norm are likely to speak English already. Hence, not only less need for foreign English teachers, but local second-language English speakers are passing their skills on to other locals at no cost.
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MotherF



Joined: 07 Jun 2010
Posts: 1416
Location: 1748'N 9746'W

PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aristede wrote:
TEFLTeacherMexico wrote:

What type of schools should I be applying for? It sounds like I need to learn more about what type of job I will actually be qualified for. I see there's a Berlitz school and a few similiar language schools in Playa del Carmen, as well as the International House where I am getting my qualification. Why would I not be able to work for any of these places? I'm assuming there's more in Cancun. I'm probably not understanding something here.


Though I'm not currently in Mexico, a couple things about resort areas in general: (1) lots of people want to teach in them because lots of people want to spend time in them. This means that there is often a glut of teachers and any jobs still available probably pay poorly because the employers have a large pool to choose from (2) because of the tourist industry, many more locals than the national norm are likely to speak English already. Hence, not only less need for foreign English teachers, but local second-language English speakers are passing their skills on to other locals at no cost.


When I visited Cancun last Nov. I was really impressed by the English skills of the locals, I work with Mexican academics who spend years dilligently studying English and they may have huge passive vocabularies and extensive knowledge of grammar concepts, but sound so halting and unfluent when they speak, Meanwhile the waiters, taxi drivers, and shop assistants of Cancun may have a much more limited range of vocabulary, and in some conversations with people that went a bit deeper they did kind of flounder or search for words, but the English they know they know so well, near-native like even. I was there for an English teacher convention and frankly the waiters spoke better English than the majority of non-native English teachers at the convention.

(clears throat) My profession hypothesis on why this should be is that they HEAR people, natives, but also very fluent non-natives from around the world speaking English all the time. It's almost an immersion like situation. Easedrop on the street in the hotel zone and a good 75% of the passing clusters of people are speaking English to each other. So those tourist industry interactions are repeated over and over and over, it's intensive listening, or as Krashen would say--extensive meaningful comprehensible input. I was a Krashionist before that trip and I feel and English teacher convention in Cancun proves him right on how languages are really learned.
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TEFLTeacherMexico



Joined: 20 May 2016
Posts: 6

PostPosted: Thu Jun 02, 2016 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah I see! That makes a lot of sense, yeah I thought there might be more language schools, since more Mexicans in that area speak decent English, but I trust your explanation. They must pick it up from being in that area surrounded by tourists and dealing with the same conversations day after day.

Well since I'm going to PDC anyway and it's my first I will try my best to get a decent job there or Cancun and if I can't find one in that area of Mexico I will apply for somewhere in Queretaro or elsewhere.

I've been reading through this forum a lot so most of you have already given me plenty of helpful advice. Thanks a lot, I will keep in contact on here.
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