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Is the EFL profession still a good idea??
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Professor



Joined: 22 May 2009
Posts: 449
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 7:49 pm    Post subject: Is the EFL profession still a good idea?? Reply with quote

It seems like the EFL profession in Mexico isn't as good as it used to be. I say this not only because of personal experience but also from talking with many who tell me that things are getting bad in the world of EFL, especially here in Mexico.
I know some who have actually left Mexico for Japan and South Korea because it seems to be too difficult to make a stable, decent long term income teaching EFL in Mexico.For the newbies planning on moving to Mexico to teach, make sure you have a back up plan BEFORE you move here. And also make sure they you have some savings.
The savings is the most important because the schools may not pay you on time or even the full amount and private students have a way of canceling on you a lot, especially these days.
Plan and save BEFORE coming to Mexico. Please.
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wildchild



Joined: 14 Nov 2005
Posts: 519
Location: Puebla 2009 - 2010

PostPosted: Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I second that.

Bring savings.

Spend it wisely.

Maintain good rapport with rich friends and relatives.
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Guy Courchesne



Joined: 10 Mar 2003
Posts: 9398
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm...what do you suppose has changed to make Mexico not as good as it used to be?

I think the theme to long term stability in Mexico is the same as it has always been - career development. Mexico has never been a place to expect to make scads of money, much less so if one hasn't a plan for the long term.
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johntpartee



Joined: 02 Mar 2010
Posts: 3232

PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 2:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, this doesn't portend well for my semi-firm plans to make Mexico my next adventure. I'd been hearing about the cornucopia of opportunities there and now this. Maybe somebody can tell me, though, if I came there and wanted to scope it out, how much would I need to survive for a few months? I'm pretty frugal, but I don't like sharing housing. That would be my primary concern, a decent place to live. I'm also taking into account that when I first show, I will make some financial blunders, same as any new place until one gets acclimated.
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TeresaLopez



Joined: 18 Apr 2010
Posts: 601
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 2:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know, I am doing OK, and I know lots of others who are doing OK. Better than OK, really. I wonder if those who are having a hard time are teachers who don't have training, just decided to teach English because they speak English. I am not saying that is the case, just wondering out loud. In the last few months I have had to turn students away.
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Guy Courchesne



Joined: 10 Mar 2003
Posts: 9398
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 2:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
how much would I need to survive for a few months?


Depends a lot on where you're going...Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, and the like will be a big run on the pocketbook. If you're sticking to interior cities, or rural non-resort areas, $3000 usd should be fine for a few months of non-extravagant living.
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Enchilada Potosina



Joined: 03 Aug 2010
Posts: 344
Location: Mexico

PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 3:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you want to get somewhere here you first need to get your Spanish to an advanced level. This really opened doors for me and made me much more independent. Hanging out with ex-pats or monolingual language teachers doesn't really do a lot for your progress career-wise here, unless they're particularly well-connected. All the successful foreigners I know here speak excellent Spanish and understand the culture well.

If you're expecting to roll up and make a ton of money just because you're a native speaker with a pulse, this is the wrong side of the world for you.
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johntpartee



Joined: 02 Mar 2010
Posts: 3232

PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 3:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If that's the case, I guess I'd better forget it for at least a couple of years while I learn Spanish. Thanks for the reply.
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Isla Guapa



Joined: 19 Apr 2010
Posts: 1520
Location: Mexico City o sea La Gran Manzana Mexicana

PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 3:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TeresaLopez wrote:
I don't know, I am doing OK, and I know lots of others who are doing OK. Better than OK, really. I wonder if those who are having a hard time are teachers who don't have training, just decided to teach English because they speak English. I am not saying that is the case, just wondering out loud. In the last few months I have had to turn students away.


Just this last week I have had 3 prospective students contact me about the classes I offer. Two are friends of a former student and the other found me through a free internet ad. Since I am semi-retired and already have several students, I may decide to take on only one of them. And my hourly rates are not bottom-of-the-barrel either!
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latif



Joined: 25 Apr 2010
Posts: 31
Location: Oakland, California

PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 4:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

johntpartee,

From what i've seen it is possible for most to go to Mexico and study Spanish there. First few weeks may be a little rough, but most can pick up functional spanish within a matter of 3-4 months of study and interaction. The rest moving on to advanced levels takes some time of living in the country.

On another note, Mexico is most likely my fallback plan - if Ecuador does not quite work out (I'll find out more in a couple of weeks). I've lived in Mexico before for a year or so, so do know the culture and have travelled quite a bit within the country.

From what I've read DF appears to be alright as far as teaching jobs go, including for total newbies like myself, I'm OK with being underpaid and overworked for my first english teaching job, and have a fair bit of savings.
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mejms



Joined: 04 Jan 2010
Posts: 389

PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I don't know, I am doing OK, and I know lots of others who are doing OK. Better than OK, really. I wonder if those who are having a hard time are teachers who don't have training, just decided to teach English because they speak English. I am not saying that is the case, just wondering out loud. In the last few months I have had to turn students away.


Quote:
Just this last week I have had 3 prospective students contact me about the classes I offer. Two are friends of a former student and the other found me through a free internet ad. Since I am semi-retired and already have several students, I may decide to take on only one of them. And my hourly rates are not bottom-of-the-barrel either!


This is coming from teachers who, I think, work on their own. Me too. Since going completely off on my at the beginning of this year, opportunities have skyrocketed and I haven't had time to look back. I agree that learning Spanish is key. People (and companies) are impressed with a Spanish-speaking foreign professional teacher, and this puts to shame any sham language school with backpacking gringos (among others).

I haven't found a language school, for instance, that I would be happy paying for my wife and son to take classes. I've actively looked, as I want them to have practice apart from me and I'm not home much because of work, and I've found nothing serious. Now that I need another teacher to help me with extra work and take on a class or two, I'm wondering where first to look to find a potentially serious professional (and preferably, conversational in Spanish). I've met quite a few natives from my days with language schools, and, no offense to them as I liked a lot of them personally, I wouldn't hire them to partner up with me.

I think that if the bottom has fallen out in Mexican EFL the last few years, it's due to the exploitation of educational institutions hiring completely unqualified teachers. Likewise, I think a professional can make waves and do quite alright for him/herself.


Last edited by mejms on Thu Aug 19, 2010 5:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Guy Courchesne



Joined: 10 Mar 2003
Posts: 9398
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I think that if the bottom has fallen out in Mexican EFL the last few years, it's due to the exploitation of educational institutions hiring completely unqualified teachers. Likewise, I think a professional can make waves and do quite alright for him/herself.


I think you've hit the nail on the head. For those that simply wander into teaching English from unrelated backgrounds, there are fewer opportunities and even less if one expects to not have to upgrade their own skills over time.
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TeresaLopez



Joined: 18 Apr 2010
Posts: 601
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2010 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="mejms"][quote]
I haven't found a language school, for instance, that I would be happy paying for my wife and son to take classes. I've actively looked, as I want them to have practice apart from me and I'm not home much because of work, and I've found nothing serious.]

I totally agree with that. I started out many years ago teaching for Interlengua. At the time it was on the expensive side, only tired native speakers, or very near to native proficiency, and while they had a structured method they did allow for some creativity. They offered (and still do) an intensive training course, with lots of practice both with fellow students and "real" classes. They had an excellent reputation, and based on that they expanded and expanded and expanded, and their method became more and more rigid, until it basically became reading a script and hoping that students picked something up along the way. Prices came down, class size went up, and I am sure you can imagine the rest. At that time there were lots of schools I would have considered good, or quite good. The first time I taught there it was a great job, great pay, decent benefits, paid on time, etc. I think the pay is the SAME as it was then, hehe. A couple of years ago I got a bee in my bonnet that I wanted to work in a school instead of traveling all over the city, and returned. Oh my! I will just say I didn't last long, there was no resemblance to the highly professional school I worked for many years ago. I think the only way to really learn English is to have private classes or a small group, with one or two friends, or go to an English speaking country and be immersed in English. I think the cream of the crop of students is now picked off by private teachers or small institute that offer small, personalized classes, and expect teachers to actually have some training.
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gregd75



Joined: 14 Mar 2007
Posts: 360
Location: Tlaquepaque, Jalisco

PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2010 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure I agree with this post. I don't think that the bottom has fallen out of EFL, I think that due to a number of factors, EFL has changed (and mostly for the better) in Mexico.

1. As the recession has hit western economies, there are definately a lot more people thinking about coming to places like Mexico to teach English. This has really increased competition for positions, as well as fewer positions becoming available and schools not increasing salaries. I guess all of this is pretty logical during a recession.

2. The SEP is working to develop profesionalism in EFL. In the olden days, you could become an EFL teacher with a simple certificate. Nowadays, the SEP is asking for a degree or equivalent. This is making a lot of schools reassess their recruitment techniques

3. As with any other career, I think people that are serious about their career and engage in professional development, research and participate more in their local professional community have more opportunities. Networking and developing yourself through workshops, academic meetings and participation definitely help

Japan, China and other countries like these have more vacancies than teachers. People willing to move there will always receive more money than teachers here. BUT its not all about money, its about professional development.

Take restaurants, for example. A person starts off as a dish washer and then becomes waiter and then, if they're good they move onwards and upwards. The same is true with EFL. If you plan your career then you'll develop and see improvements in your pay and prospects. Sitting idly does nothing!
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Isla Guapa



Joined: 19 Apr 2010
Posts: 1520
Location: Mexico City o sea La Gran Manzana Mexicana

PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2010 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The SEP is working to develop profesionalism in EFL. In the olden days, you could become an EFL teacher with a simple certificate. Nowadays, the SEP is asking for a degree or equivalent. This is making a lot of schools reassess their recruitment techniques


What kinds of schools will these new SEP requirements affect? Surely not for-profit language schools.
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