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Yucatan: My Perspective

 
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Ben Round de Bloc



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1946

PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2003 4:13 pm    Post subject: Yucatan: My Perspective Reply with quote

I've only lived and taught in Merida, Yucatan, for about 8 years. That's not a long time. I do not feel like an expert about Yucatan nor EFL in this location. The more contact I have with EFLers in other parts of Mexico, the more unique I believe the Yucatan peninsula really is. Because of its history and geographic location, the Yucatan peninsula has developed in certain ways that make it somewhat different from the rest of the country. At the same time, I imagine there are certain things that Yucatan has in common with other parts of the Republic.

The city of Merida is considered the "center" of the peninsula regarding business, industry, health care, and education among other things. It has the largest number of places to learn/teach English of any city on the peninsula in the forms of privately owned language schools, franchised language schools, public and private schools, government programs, universities, tourism schools, business schools, etc. However, that does not necessarily mean good EFL teaching jobs are all that easy to find here.

In general, from what I've observed, EFL teachers seem to be hired in the following order in this city. Of course, there are always exceptions. Note that #1 and #2 are close enough to each other that they could probably be in reverse order.

1. Qualified/experienced native English speakers from any country
2. Qualified/experienced locals
3. Qualified/experienced teachers from other parts of Mexico
4. Native English speakers with limited qualifications/experience
5. Locals with limited qualifications/experience
6. Non-local Mexicans with limited qualifications/experience
7. Native English speakers with no qualifications/experience
8. Anyone who can kind of speak, understand, read, and write in English

I'm usually willing to share my thoughts and opinions about Merida, particularly teaching EFL in this city. Admittedly, my thoughts and opinions are probably somewhat biased. I try to qualify what I post as 1) being my own thoughts and opinions and 2) limited to my experiences in SE Mexico. If at times I haven't been clear about that, I apologize for any misunderstanding I might have caused.

Best wishes!
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The Old Gringo



Joined: 15 Feb 2003
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Sun May 04, 2003 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Ben"

I've always found your insights and advice"spot on" and helpful. You're right, Merida ain't Morelia, but you have always made clear what your perspective is and don't seem to paint with "too broad a brush.

There are a number of helpful folks on here such as yourself, that are generous enough to take the time to pound out replies to various requests for information. Maybe this forum needs a "FAQ" post at the top with admonishments as to the wide variances in salary and qualifications around the country.

Heck, it's tough to make a lot of sweeping generalizations about Mexico. Requirements and pay vary from school to school and city to city. Even within a school things can vary, given the "cuņado factor", and I suppose even gender (although I haven't experienced it).

I think the most important thing a person seeking information needs to be aware of is "What's true in Tampico isn't necessarily true in Torreon." You have always made that clear, I think.

Saludos!
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shelley



Joined: 24 Apr 2003
Posts: 12
Location: Merida, Mexico

PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2003 12:36 pm    Post subject: Re: Yucatan: My Perspective Reply with quote

Ben Round de Bloc wrote:
I've only lived and taught in Merida, Yucatan, for about 8 years. That's not a long time. I do not feel like an expert about Yucatan nor EFL in this location. The more contact I have with EFLers in other parts of Mexico, the more unique I believe the Yucatan peninsula really is. Because of its history and geographic location, the Yucatan peninsula has developed in certain ways that make it somewhat different from the rest of the country. At the same time, I imagine there are certain things that Yucatan has in common with other parts of the Republic.

The city of Merida is considered the "center" of the peninsula regarding business, industry, health care, and education among other things. It has the largest number of places to learn/teach English of any city on the peninsula in the forms of privately owned language schools, franchised language schools, public and private schools, government programs, universities, tourism schools, business schools, etc. However, that does not necessarily mean good EFL teaching jobs are all that easy to find here.

In general, from what I've observed, EFL teachers seem to be hired in the following order in this city. Of course, there are always exceptions. Note that #1 and #2 are close enough to each other that they could probably be in reverse order.

1. Qualified/experienced native English speakers from any country
2. Qualified/experienced locals
3. Qualified/experienced teachers from other parts of Mexico
4. Native English speakers with limited qualifications/experience
5. Locals with limited qualifications/experience
6. Non-local Mexicans with limited qualifications/experience
7. Native English speakers with no qualifications/experience
8. Anyone who can kind of speak, understand, read, and write in English

I'm usually willing to share my thoughts and opinions about Merida, particularly teaching EFL in this city. Admittedly, my thoughts and opinions are probably somewhat biased. I try to qualify what I post as 1) being my own thoughts and opinions and 2) limited to my experiences in SE Mexico. If at times I haven't been clear about that, I apologize for any misunderstanding I might have caused.

Best wishes!
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shelley



Joined: 24 Apr 2003
Posts: 12
Location: Merida, Mexico

PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2003 1:07 pm    Post subject: please elaborate! Reply with quote

Sorry about the last posting! I meant to quote one sentence and my hand slipped! I am looking at moving to Mexico at the end of the summer and was thinking of Merida as a destination. (Is this the best time to arrive?).
Anyhow, Ben Round the Block had stated that Merida has the largest number of schools on the Yucatan Peninsula but that that does not necessarily mean that there is much ESL work. I have a BA (Sociology/Psychology), aTESL certificate (overview program), very little experience (I did a 20 practicum and I just started volunteering as a language tutor) and have worked in the 'helping profession' for 15 years. Should I be looking at another destination? In response to your posting 'old gringo' (hope I got that right!) stated that Merida ain't Morelia. How would you say these places differ? It has taken me forever to narrow down my focus to Mexico and I really want to do as much research as possible before I pick a city ot land in. I am a (very young!) 42 year old Canadian woman who would prefer to live in a smaller city (Mexico City is out of the question) but still have enough happening
(ie. culture/restaurants/nightlife) to keep me busy. Being within a a few hours to the coast would be ideal as I would like to hit the beach every chance I can get. ANY info would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! Shelley
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Ben Round de Bloc



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1946

PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2003 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I am a (very young!) 42 year old Canadian woman who would prefer to live in a smaller city (Mexico City is out of the question) but still have enough happening (ie. culture/restaurants/nightlife) to keep me busy.

- shelley


The sad truth of the situation in Merida is that unless you have supplemental income to go along with your EFL teacher's wages, you probably won't be able to afford very much of the restaurants/nightlife routine. However, for those who can afford them, there are lots of very nice restaurants and interesting night spots in this city. It all depends on what kind of budget/income you're working with. Of course, a lot also depends on your tastes and preferences, what kind of social set you prefer to hang out with, and many other factors.

Merida has easy access to beaches (half hour by bus,) which works well for day trips. Cancun is about 3 hours away by bus, which makes a nice weekend destination, but you probably couldn't afford it on a teacher's salary.

I'm going to PM you the e-mail address of one of the quite reputable language schools in Merida. One of the school's DOSs should be able to give you current information on the EFL teacher job market in Merida as well as other related details.

Best wishes!
Smile
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