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Peace Corps and/or CELTA?

 
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srs3829



Joined: 09 Sep 2014
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2016 11:57 pm    Post subject: Peace Corps and/or CELTA? Reply with quote

Hi all,

A variation on the same question you probably see a lot of: will x + y bring me better teaching opportunities in Mexico?

Through Peace Corps, I have an opportunity to spend 2 years as a (volunteer) literacy teacher in elementary schools (not in Mexico). When I finish I would have that experience + a preliminary California teaching certificate.

I also plan to get a CELTA. Would the Peace Corps (volunteer) experience + the CA teaching cert enhance my opportunities significantly beyond what a CELTA could offer by itself?

I would not have a degree in education or US teaching experience or paid TEFL experience. I would have about a year of experience as a classroom aide.

I know there are no guarantees, but I really want to be in Mexico long-term and am curious to know if this (no-cost) way of getting experience and a certification would be worthwhile in terms of job opportunities. When I say 'worthwhile' I mean lead to a variety of options at reputable schools, be they public k-12, business English, and/or private international. I like teaching kids and adults, so am flexible on the setting. I'd love to be in Mexico City but could be flexible on that too.

Or, would I be better off just getting a CELTA and getting two years of experience in Mexico (vs in another country in the Peace Corps)?

I could see myself loving either option.

Thanks so much for your thoughts.
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BadBeagleBad



Joined: 23 Aug 2010
Posts: 1178
Location: 24.18105,-103.25185

PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 5:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lots of questions, and I have a few answers. And some more questions. First, do you have a degree in anything? If you do, that will open some doors. If you want to be in Mexico long term, you would be better off getting a CELE at the UNAM in Mexico City. That will be more useful to you in Mexico than a CELTA. If you don´t have any teaching experience you likely won´t be able to get the better jobs right away - those come with experience and contacts. If you have lsome savings and don´t mind living frugally, you could likely combine a job at a language school and some one on one or small group business classes to get some experience, at the same time getting your CELE. You might also try looking at private schools in middle class areas - the pay won´t be great and they would probably have to hire you under the table as not many (if any) would have permission to hire foreigners, or even know where to begin. You´ll have to have something for immigration - but that could just be a quicky online course ' enough to get a visa and perhaps a job - but not enough to really help you teaching. I don´t know if the Peace Corp would help in terms of getting a job down the road but having a US state certification will help you. The rub with that is, if you don´t teach a certain number of hours within a certain time frame you won´t be able to renew it.
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srs3829



Joined: 09 Sep 2014
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks! I have a bachelor's degree in a non-education field. Is CELE for English speakers? I thought it was for bilingual Spanish/English speakers who wanted to teach English (my Spanish is beginner-level). I thought I didn't know enough Spanish to do CELE.
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MotherF



Joined: 07 Jun 2010
Posts: 1411
Location: 1748'N 9746'W

PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think for some of the best paying jobs, your Peace Corps experience and the California certification will sufice.
Some schools only want native speakers, qualifications don't matter. Those are not the best schools.
Others have been told "CELTA is the best" so they want that and other qualifications don't matter. Those are also not the best schools.
The best jobs both in terms of pay but possibly more importantly in terms of conditions and overall treatment of teachers, will be looking at the big picture.
There are some Peace Corp programs that give partial credit towards and MA in TEFL. That would actually be your best bet if you think you want to teach English long term.
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Guy Courchesne



Joined: 10 Mar 2003
Posts: 9623
Location: Guadalajara

PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If your plan is to work in primary or secondary private schools (in Mexico or elsewhere in the future), then my advice would be to go the Peace Corps route, gaining the elementary school experience.

The CELTA is good, but doesn't track well into primary or secondary education at better private schools where ESL isn't really on the curriculum. Your California certification is also valuable.
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srs3829



Joined: 09 Sep 2014
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Guy and Motherf and BadBeagleBad,

Thanks very much! I appreciate all of you taking the time to read and consider my (convoluted) question, and offer advice. Your informed responses make me feel more confident about my decision to do Peace Corps, as I would love to work in a private elementary school in Mexico some day. It really helps to know that my experience as a PC volunteer and CA teaching cert could theoretically help me reach my goal. Short of a time machine that will get me to my future life in Mexico NOW, your feedback is among the most helpful info I have Smile

Have a great day!
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BadBeagleBad



Joined: 23 Aug 2010
Posts: 1178
Location: 24.18105,-103.25185

PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2016 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are plenty of second tier elementary schools that will be thrilled to get a native speaker and if you are good you can eventually use that to move into a better school. The irony of that is, having done both, the middle class schools are much better in terms of students, behavior, parent support, pay, not so much and the higher end schools you do a fair amount of ass kissing and grade changing but you get more $$$.
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srs3829



Joined: 09 Sep 2014
Posts: 23

PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2016 12:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, BadBeagle! I'd be thrilled with any option that keeps me in an elementary school full-time. Second-tier schools sound like they could be lovely; I'd definitely be open to that! Thanks for letting me know that option (theoretically) exists.
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