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Teaching ESL in Central America or South America
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JeffW24



Joined: 24 Aug 2011
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 8:58 pm    Post subject: Teaching ESL in Central America or South America Reply with quote

Hi Everyone,

I am planning on moving to Costa Rica in January to teach ESL to adults. I'm getting a little nervous as it has been harder to come by information than I thought it would be. I am posting here because I am not 100% sure I will go to Costa Rica and still may consider other countries in Central America or South America if it seems they would be a better experience for me.

I have a M.A. in TESOL from a University in Chicago.

Has anyone taught in Costa Rica specifically? How about the rest of Latin America?

Is a shirt and tie required everyday?
Is it difficult to find a job?
How about a job at a University?
I have heard the pay is about 8 dollars an hour but I was wondering if it is more for a person with a M.A. degree.
Has anyone had trouble finding prescription medications in Costa Rica?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Jeff Smile
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fladude



Joined: 02 Feb 2009
Posts: 432

PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 1:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would say that most jobs do not require a tie in Central America. All jobs require a shirt..... The pay in Central America is not very good though, even at International Schools. I shudder to think what they pay in language schools.
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reddevil79



Joined: 19 Jul 2004
Posts: 199
Location: Up in them Mixteca Mountains

PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 4:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some international schools pay very good money in Latin America, but require good credentials/experience...
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JeffW24



Joined: 24 Aug 2011
Posts: 15

PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 3:10 am    Post subject: Thanks! Reply with quote

Thanks for the help!

Jeff
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MotherF



Joined: 07 Jun 2010
Posts: 1082
Location: 17°48'N 97°46'W

PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What do you have to go along with the MA?
any experience?

Any interest in Mexico?

You can get a good job in Mexico at a university with an MA in TESOL. Any no, you don't have to wear a tie (but can if you want to). Cool
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 8829
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 3:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I answered this on the Newbie forum. I taught in Peru, if you have questions, feel free to ask.
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fladude



Joined: 02 Feb 2009
Posts: 432

PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

reddevil79 wrote:
Some international schools pay very good money in Latin America, but require good credentials/experience...


I guess if you lived in poverty all your life then they might pay ok... but ah otherwise no. There are schools that pay "ok" in Central America but none that pay good. I work in the top ranked school in CA and the pay is ok but not great. The other schools pay less than this one (I know teachers at all the ones which are in the running).

Schools in Asia and the ME all pay more. There are schools in SA that pay better as well. But CA... the pay is mediocre at best.
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 8829
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 5:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fladude wrote:
reddevil79 wrote:
Some international schools pay very good money in Latin America, but require good credentials/experience...


I guess if you lived in poverty all your life then they might pay ok... but ah otherwise no. There are schools that pay "ok" in Central America but none that pay good. I work in the top ranked school in CA and the pay is ok but not great. The other schools pay less than this one (I know teachers at all the ones which are in the running).

Schools in Asia and the ME all pay more. There are schools in SA that pay better as well. But CA... the pay is mediocre at best.

Exaclty. very few ones in LA will pay well even with the quals and exp and you can be the competition is tough.
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reddevil79



Joined: 19 Jul 2004
Posts: 199
Location: Up in them Mixteca Mountains

PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I guess if you lived in poverty all your life then they might pay ok... but ah otherwise no


Sorry, have to disagree again. I’ve spoken to teachers who are teaching/have taught in some international schools in Mexico and South America (the post does refer to Central and South America), and the terms on offer were very good (I used to work in primary education in the UK). Just to stress, these were the best international schools located in capital/big cities, not your private institute with little or no accreditation. As naturegirl says, competition is fierce to get a job at these places.

The whole argument is subjective anyway; what one person considers a ‘good’ salary, another might consider ‘average’. I’ve posted on this issue many times, and it all comes down to the individual at the end of the day.
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BadBeagleBad



Joined: 23 Aug 2010
Posts: 787
Location: Juan Aldama, Zacatecas, Mexico

PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 8:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

naturegirl321 wrote:

Exaclty. very few ones in LA will pay well even with the quals and exp and you can be the competition is tough.


I can only speak to Mexico and Guatemala, because those are the only places I have taught. I taught in a private elite all girls´school in Guatemala City and make decent money, and in a bigger school and made a little better than decent money. Certainly very good wages compared to what locals, even professionals, were early. Good for living there, not so good for converting into other currencies. In Mexico there are a lot of very well paying jobs (in the $25,000 peso range to start, a little over 2000 dollars a month, with a decent benefit package) and given the much lower cost of living, I would say the pay is quite good, but as already mentioned, you need to have at least a Bachelor´s Degree, for the better schools it will need to be in Education, and have a couple of years experience. But isn´t that the way it is everywhere? To get a better job you need more education and more experience. I wonder why people think going to another country is going to change that.
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fladude



Joined: 02 Feb 2009
Posts: 432

PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yep 25k, that's what I make with two years experience and masters pay, if I had 5 years experience, I would make 26,200.... (a whopping 100 dollars more per month) to me its not a good salary, at least not when compared to other International Schools in Asia or the ME. Sure I get most of my housing paid for, but that is true for virtually all quality International Schools. I guess if you just love Latin culture and want to learn Spanish then this is fine, but that is not me. I came here because I thought it would be closer to my family in Fla. (which it is but its not like I always fly home to see them.. and couldn't afford to if I wanted to). When two or three years are up, I will most certainly be moving on. And there are plenty of schools in Asia and the ME where not only is it possible to make 40k-50k or more plus free housing, but where the cost of living is the same or even cheaper than Central America (which really isn't a very cheap place inside the larger cities). Not only do schools in those countries pay better, but security is imminently better in Asia than in Central America.....

I think that Central America is a fine place to start your career, but it is not a good place to stay after you have some experience. I will be glad that I came here (if I am not shot) because I will have gained valuable International experience. But I would not stay here because I want to make more money and have actual real savings (beyond a few thousand dollars). I think that Central America and Mexico are fine places to cut your teeth on teaching abroad, but do not know why anyone would stay here beyond a couple of years, even though I work with many people who have done just that (although they all married locals).
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HLJHLJ



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 802

PostPosted: Sun Nov 13, 2011 11:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's more to life than your bank balance. If all I was interested in was making money, I'd have stayed in the UK and earnt it there.
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reddevil79



Joined: 19 Jul 2004
Posts: 199
Location: Up in them Mixteca Mountains

PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 12:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All which kind of backs up my earlier point about perceptions of pay being subjective. Most people working in Mexico would, I’m pretty sure, say that two thousand dollars a month (plus benefits) is a good salary, and is far, far higher than the national average.

Of course, most places seem inferior in terms of pay when compared to the Middle East and other places in Asia; a lot of places in Europe and North America don’t even match the salaries on offer in the region.

I guess the trade-off is the quality of life in Latin America. I have yet to meet one teacher working in Latin America who preferred the lifestyle in the ME/Asia than to Latin America, despite the salaries being lower (although I am sure there are many). Again, this all to do with personal choice; I would much prefer to live in Mexico on 2k a month than Qatar on 4K per month, but that’s just me, and many others would choose differently.
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naturegirl321



Joined: 04 May 2003
Posts: 8829
Location: home sweet home

PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BadBeagleBad wrote:
In Mexico there are a lot of very well paying jobs (in the $25,000 peso range to start, a little over 2000 dollars a month, with a decent benefit package) and given the much lower cost of living, I would say the pay is quite good, but as already mentioned, you need to have at least a Bachelor´s Degree, for the better schools it will need to be in Education, and have a couple of years experience. But isn´t that the way it is everywhere? To get a better job you need more education and more experience. I wonder why people think going to another country is going to change that.


2000 usd a month is nothing, espeically for all the quals and exp they ask for. Cross the pond and that's what 21 fresh out of uni grads are getting, PLUS housing, pension, and severance (which basically ups it to another 10K a year).

Yes, I know, the whole cost of living issue. But let's face it, foreigners aren't going to be living like locals. They'll have housing to pay for, for one. They don't know where to find cheap goods, and most locals don't want to fly home at least once a year.

I echo what flatdude says. I know money isn't everything, but it certainly helps. I'd rather work smart than hard. Safesty is another issue.

reddevil79, pick me! I prefer Asia over Latin America ANY day. Quality of life is better here in Asia, it's safer as well. Plus, can't beat the weather, it's going to be snowing soon here!
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AGoodStory



Joined: 26 Feb 2010
Posts: 447

PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2011 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey, guys, this is all going a bit off-track. OP is asking specific questions about Costa Rica, and further questions about "teaching in Central America and South America." He didn't ask whether he should teach in Korea, or anywhere else in Asia.


Quote:
Has anyone taught in Costa Rica specifically? How about the rest of Latin America?

Is a shirt and tie required everyday?
Is it difficult to find a job?
How about a job at a University?
I have heard the pay is about 8 dollars an hour but I was wondering if it is more for a person with a M.A. degree.
Has anyone had trouble finding prescription medications in Costa Rica?


Wink
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