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Looking to teach English in Mexico & bring family. Possi
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andrea01



Joined: 03 Apr 2003
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2003 2:23 am    Post subject: Looking to teach English in Mexico & bring family. Possi Reply with quote

I want to live in Mexico and teach English. I have a bachelor's degree in the subject, but I am afraid that I won't be able to survive on what the average school pays because I will be bringing three young children and my husband? We don't need much to live on, but can it be done with what foreign teachers are paid? Thank you for replying.
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thelmadatter



Joined: 31 Mar 2003
Posts: 1209
Location: in el Distrito Federal x fin!

PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2003 2:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How old are your kids? If they are preschool age - maybe you can make it - if they need schooling, I think you might want to forget it. American schools are expensive.
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andrea01



Joined: 03 Apr 2003
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2003 3:34 am    Post subject: thank you for response...my kids... Reply with quote

My children are 1, 7, and 8. I have home-schooled them before (resulting in my daughter skipping a grade in public school and now making merit role), so I could continue to do so for a little while. But you honestly don't think we could make it on the pay there? Could my husband ever work with an associate's degree?
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dan allan



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2003 4:27 am    Post subject: Family in Mexico Reply with quote

Where do you want to go? I think you can do it in DF, and your hubby could work, too. Good luck and let me know if you want further info on DF.

Dan.
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andrea01



Joined: 03 Apr 2003
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2003 4:35 am    Post subject: would like more info Reply with quote

Thanks, Dan! I would love more info on DF (honestly, everyone keeps using those two letters, and I am unsure of what they stand for) Embarassed I am going to do some serious research before I make this life-altering decision, and any personal information you can offer would be very welcomed.
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Paul G



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 125
Location: China & USA

PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2003 4:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

DF = Districto Federal, Federal District.It's Mexico City which is the seat of the Mexican federal government. It's like calling Washington,D.C., DC.
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Ben Round de Bloc



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1946

PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2003 1:35 pm    Post subject: Family of 5 Reply with quote

If you really want the experience of living and working in Mexico, I'd suggest that you try it for 6 months or a year, but make sure you have back-up funds to support yourselves in case of emergencies and that your return tickets are covered as well.

Living comfortably or even semi-comfortably in Mexico is not all that cheap. What you'll earn teaching won't go very far when you consider what it costs for rent, utilities, transportation, food, and clothing. A couple of emergency trips to a doctor or dentist can wipe out most of a pay check quite easily. If both you and your husband teach EFL, the hours/shifts that you work might make it difficult to coordinate having someone at home for your children. You'd probably have to pay for daycare and school.

People often speak of DF as if it were the land of golden opportunity for foreign EFL teachers. I've never been there, so I don't know if that's true or not. However, I know that in the Mexican city where I live, it would be extremely difficult for a family of 5 to live above the poverty line on what one or even two EFL teachers earn.

Best wishes!
Smile
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Guy Courchesne



Joined: 10 Mar 2003
Posts: 9397
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2003 2:02 pm    Post subject: Don't agree Reply with quote

Ben, while DF isn't paved with gold for ESL teachers, there are definitely good opportunities to be found here. The high concentration of language schools and universities and colleges here creates a large demand for teachers.

If one plays it smart, you can do really well here. If one just coasts along, you're still WAY ABOVE the poverty line. Minimum wage in DF is 42 pesos PER DAY. That's the poverty line. Any teacher here makes at least that per hour, and in most cases, makes that every 15-30 minutes.

The only issues in DF are cost-of-living. Finding accommodations where you don't have to pay 4 months rent up front drive the price up a bit, but otherwise your basics are cheaper than the US or Canada.

Admitedly, bringing three young children drives that cost way up. When people in the situation that spawned this thread ask, I usually advise against coming - Mexico City is no place for kids.

Guy
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Guy Courchesne



Joined: 10 Mar 2003
Posts: 9397
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2003 2:13 pm    Post subject: Hey it's me! Reply with quote

By the way...notice I've posted a photo of little ole me. Brenda, that's for you so you know who this guy is who's employed you! Tough working across more than one city.

Ladies, please...I'm a married man.
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andrea01



Joined: 03 Apr 2003
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2003 2:50 pm    Post subject: I am determined... Reply with quote

I am determined to go to Mexico, South Korea, or Japan (maybe even China). I need to find the place where I can best support my family. Would another country be better? I think it would be an incredible opportunity for my kids -- I want them (and myself) to be fluent in another language and to experience a foreign culture. Could you please tell me why DF is a bad place for kids? Is there a lot of crime?
Thank you..............Andrea
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Ben Round de Bloc



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1946

PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2003 3:26 pm    Post subject: Poverty line Reply with quote

Quote:
Minimum wage in DF is 42 pesos PER DAY. That's the poverty line.

- Guy Courchesne


On this point, Guy, I'm afraid we disagree. In my opinion, people who earn 42 pesos per day or even 50 pesos per day are still living in poverty.

I know lots of people personally in the city where I live who willingly take jobs that pay 42 pesos per day or less -- salario mínimo is less here than in DF -- because there's nothing better available for them. In my opinion, these people live far below the poverty line.
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Guy Courchesne



Joined: 10 Mar 2003
Posts: 9397
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2003 6:45 pm    Post subject: Cultural difference Reply with quote

I think Americans, Canadians, and Mexicans draw the poverty line in different places. We look at those wages and say 'holy crow, how can you afford your membership at the spa?" Totally different viewpoints between the cultures.

Of course, 42 pesos a day, or the 36 in Yucatan is low, even for a place where cost-of-living is lower (no heating costs, subsidized education, near free health care). But really now, even if we put that poverty line at 100 or 150 pesos per day per individual, an ESL teacher working anywhere in the republic earns at least double that, including yourself from what you've told me, and more likely 3 or 4 times that. Two earners, plus three dependents, I agree would be tight, but still well above the poverty line, no matter where we put it.

Some math...two earners making a conservative 75 pesos per hour at a minimum 20 hours per week is a combined pre-tax monthly income of 12,000 per month. Agreed, not a whole lot. But ask Mexicans (at minimum making 1000 per month) in your area if they could live on that. And that's 20 hours a month, without discussing salary and beneifts in many positions, or if they worked more hours, or if they made over 100 per hour like many in DF are.

For a point of referrence, the Canadian government consider people under the poverty line to have a tv and vcr. For me, poverty means insufficiency, not lack of entertainment.
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andrea01



Joined: 03 Apr 2003
Posts: 11

PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2003 7:11 pm    Post subject: how to get a job... Reply with quote

So, if I want to give DF a try, how do I go about getting a job? The only jobs in Mexico I can seem to find are through an agency that charges almost $1,000 fee.
Thanks! P.S. You are sure my husband could get a job with just an associate's degree?
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Guy Courchesne



Joined: 10 Mar 2003
Posts: 9397
Location: Mexico City

PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2003 8:51 pm    Post subject: $1000!!! Reply with quote

Ouch...please send me info on that agency charging so much.

Also, I guess I wasn't paying attention earlier...what are the qualifications you both have? Your husband has an associate's degree in what?

Also, I think that Dan Allen here is looking for teachers, though I'm not sure...give him an hour or two and he should read this thread again.

Please send me an email at teachers@innovative-english.com about all above, and I'll see if I can help in any way. We hire in Mexico City but I'm booked for the next while on teachers.

By the way, sorry Ben, I think my last post came off as an attack. Didn't mean it that way.
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Ben Round de Bloc



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 1946

PostPosted: Sun Apr 06, 2003 12:47 am    Post subject: Thanks, Guy. Reply with quote

Quote:
By the way, sorry Ben, I think my last post came off as an attack. Didn't mean it.

- Guy Courchesne


Not to worry, Guy. I didn't take your post as an attack. Actually, I found it quite enlightening, mainly because it convinced me even more how different the Yucatan must be from the rest of the Republic, or at least from DF.

Anyone earning as much as 75 pesos or more teaching at a language school in this city has been there quite a while and has made him/herself very valuable to the school owner. In other words, 75 pesos per hour before taxes would be a very good starting wage for an EFL teacher here and not considered that bad even for someone who's been there a while. Also, it's darned hard to get 20 hours a week at a language school to start out with.

Except for food and clothing which locals claim are cheaper in DF than here along with transportation due to monopolies within the city -- the general cost of living is probably cheaper here than in DF. The last time I took a taxi from the airport to my house, about a half hour's ride, it cost me over 200 pesos. That's standard fare from the airport, by the way, not a rip-off on the driver's part. Taxis to/from other parts of the city cost 50-60 pesos for a distance that takes anywhere from 10 minutes to a half hour.

Someone here trying to live on 1,000 pesos a month or less is considered extremely poor even by local standards. The cheapest thing a person could rent would be for 400 pesos per month, and that's a tin-roofed room with no electricity or indoor plumbing. A tiny house in bad condition would run at least 900-1,000 pesos per month not including utilities. To get to any job using buses, it costs at least 16 pesos per day, unless a person lives within walking distance, of course, which is rarely the case. Many people who work those kinds of jobs don't have seguro social. The nearly free medical services you mentioned are of extremely low quality, and anything beyond the doctor's services (doctor's services being the only nearly free part of it) such as x-rays, medicine, materials for a cast, etc. are often out of the price range for someone trying to live on 1,000 pesos per month.

Poverty has a lot of depth in this country. The distance between simple poverty and extreme poverty stretches quite a ways, but it's all poverty if it's in that range.

I still say that two EFL teachers' salaries in this city as the only income to support a family of 5 would put the family in a situation of living in poverty or near poverty. Without the benefit of a large extended family to help out in emergencies, they'd be hard pressed to make a success of it unless they got some incredibly lucky breaks for jobs and connections. They couldn't do all of the following at the same time: send all of their children to school (not even public school,) have adequate health care, have a well balanced nutritious diet, have electricity in their house or apartment year around, clothe everyone in the family adequately, pay rent to live in a safe neighborhood, etc. I'm not talking TVs, going out to the movies, eating out in restaurants, having a car, or any of those luxuries. I'm talking the bare essentials to have a safe, healthy life. Granted, the family supported by two EFL teachers' salaries wouldn't (or shouldn't) end up sleeping on park benches or have to beg for food, but they would still be living in near poverty conditions.

Also, one has to keep in mind that language schools here don't pay any type of medical insurance, not even seguro social. They don't pay for any holidays off, and there are a bunch of those in this country. They don't pay when the school is closed due to a hurricane or a power failure or any other reason that classes aren't held. Some schools don't pay if nobody shows up for class, while others pay half in such cases. A bad stretch of weather can knock the heck out of a teacher's pay check.

Best wishes!
Smile
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