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Guidance on starting to teach in Latin America

 
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Puzzlewell



Joined: 06 Feb 2016
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2016 12:53 pm    Post subject: Guidance on starting to teach in Latin America Reply with quote

Hi everybody,

So I have been reading these forums for roughly about a year now while I finished my university degree, in hopes of getting a general feel for what it takes and what to expect from teaching English in Latin America. My questions to you guys would be:

What kind of employment prospects would someone with my background (see below) have in Latin America (especially Ecuador or Colombia but I am happy to revise those destinations.)?

Are there any tips or rookie mistakes (apart from do not pay the headhunter) that I should be aware of and avoid?

If you have any experience from another country that you would recommend to me in Latin America, then I am obviously all ears! =)

So about me:

I'm from Finland, but grew up in Sweden and went to a bilingual school (German and Swedish), before studying English literature and linguistics at the University of Glasgow.* As I speak several (6) languages (among them Spanish if that matters) and have a keen interest in teaching I'd obviously love to try and combine teaching with my experiences in learning a new language. I also have a passion for the Spanish language so that's why Latin America is the broad destintion here and from what I have read there seem to be quite a few jobs in Colombia, hence it being my first choice in trying to narrow my search down to a specific country.
Other details that might be helpful is that I geared my linguistics degree heavily towards grammatical theory and teaching ESL and humanities in general.

*I don't speak Glaswegian which might be a plus here, though the ocassional 'aye' 'wee' and 'nae bother' have slipped across my tongue.

In terms of qualifications and such I have.

- a (hon)MA in English from Uni of Glasgow
- I'll finish the CELTA this July so I will have that
- experiences learning languages
- 1 year experience of giving conversational English tutoring at university

Obviously the big drawbacks that I can see are that I don't have more experience and for all intents and purposes I do not classify as a native speaker even though I have a similar competency.

Thank you so much for your time and any advice you can offer to me!

Best,
Walt
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MixtecaMike



Joined: 19 Nov 2003
Posts: 636
Location: Guatebad

PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2016 1:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My advice is to make sure you have enough money salted away to leave if you want to. For your first few jobs (at least) you'll probably make barely enough to scrape by. Unless you're a gringo within hitch-hiking distance of the border you will need a reasonable amount of cash if you don't want to end up marooned in Latin America.
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Puzzlewell



Joined: 06 Feb 2016
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sat Jun 18, 2016 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the advice Mike. At the moment I think I have prepared my expectations for the first job to be very much like what you said. Though it does help repeating it, in cse I forget.
As for savings I am also i n the lucky position to have a bit more than the amount that others have often referenced in other threads so I think I should be fine on that front.
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CTravel32



Joined: 01 Mar 2017
Posts: 42

PostPosted: Thu May 25, 2017 7:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That sounds a little negative. You can get some solid jobs here, just send your resume out, simple as that really.

What does a (hon)MA in English mean?

What does the ¨hon¨ mean?
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BadBeagleBad



Joined: 23 Aug 2010
Posts: 1168
Location: 24.18105,-103.25185

PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 12:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MixtecaMike wrote:
My advice is to make sure you have enough money salted away to leave if you want to. For your first few jobs (at least) you'll probably make barely enough to scrape by. Unless you're a gringo within hitch-hiking distance of the border you will need a reasonable amount of cash if you don't want to end up marooned in Latin America.


That is really not true if you are a well qualified teacher. If you are basing your desire to live in Latin America on the fact that you speak English and want to teach, and have no educational background, yeah. When I was in a hiring capacity I saw it over and over, people with no background or education thinking they should be earning tons of money by virture of the fact that they are native speakers.
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currentaffairs



Joined: 22 Aug 2012
Posts: 730

PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I enjoyed Colombia but I agree with others that you will most likely be earning peanuts. It will take some time to work your way up the ladder. Even then, earnings will be low. Good lifestyle, though.
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CTravel32



Joined: 01 Mar 2017
Posts: 42

PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2017 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What do you consider peanuts? Yes, compared to American salary, 1500 or 1600 USD is not so great, I do not think that is even above the poverty line in the states, or if so, barely. But even in Bogota, you can have a great life with that salary. I live outside of Bogota and that money goes far even supporting two. So I would not view that as ¨peanuts¨ at all by local standards. Kind of an insult to everyone who works hard to get a minimum wage of like 800 or 900,000 pesos..
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currentaffairs



Joined: 22 Aug 2012
Posts: 730

PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2017 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CTravel32 wrote:
What do you consider peanuts? Yes, compared to American salary, 1500 or 1600 USD is not so great, I do not think that is even above the poverty line in the states, or if so, barely. But even in Bogota, you can have a great life with that salary. I live outside of Bogota and that money goes far even supporting two. So I would not view that as ¨peanuts¨ at all by local standards. Kind of an insult to everyone who works hard to get a minimum wage of like 800 or 900,000 pesos..


Glad that you are enjoying yourself. I had an interview at a mid tier colegio and was offered 2 million pesos per month. It was just too low. And, that job required you to be on campus by 7.30am in the morning and to leave at 4pm. One Saturday a month at work as well. Everyone can make their own decisions on where to work but I wouldn't deny that it looks like peanuts when all is said and done.

I am not saying that you can't work yourself up to better paying jobs but most people don't go to South America to make money.
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CTravel32



Joined: 01 Mar 2017
Posts: 42

PostPosted: Fri Jun 02, 2017 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

2 million?? That is a joke, right? What school was that? Most of the ones I know offer at least 3.5 mil and actually, most should be offering above 4 mil or even close to 5...That is, if they are at least good, solid international schools.

My first school, teachers were required to come to school 3 Saturdays in the year (Family day, Cambridge tests and model UN). My current one, it is once per semester for student presentations. But one Saturday a month? Yikes.
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currentaffairs



Joined: 22 Aug 2012
Posts: 730

PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2017 12:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the top tier colegios will pay in the region of 4 million pesos per month or a bit more. Schools like Bolivar and Britanico in Cali. I can't remember the name of the school where I had the interview. Language schools seemed to be offering around 2.5 million pesos.

The interviewer told me that although staff came in on Saturday once a month I probably wouldn't have to attend.
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