In our ever-growing, globalized community what better choice for the native English speaker than to work in Mexico or any other Latin American country teaching English as a foreign language. Why? There are a variety of job openings, the people are very welcoming, it is a chance to explore a magnificent culture, the close proximity, and it is an opportunity to gain the ability to speak one of the top languages used globally.
If you are thinking of taking the opportunity to teach English as a foreign language in any of the following countries: Chile, Costa Rica, Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Mexico and Colombia, one must keep in mind the type of teaching position that is sought. The bigger city centers are more geared toward teachers who want to teach English for business purposes. However, the variety of English teaching jobs that are available could vary from teaching in larger schools every age group to teaching English as a foreign language in smaller schools or language centers for specific age groups. Types of classes conducted in English are also very diverse. For instance, the teacher could be teaching English as a foreign language for purely conversational exchange or, on the other hand, for the use of all skills reading, writing, listening and speaking. Smaller cities may not pay as well and the type of English that is required may not hold as many options. The positive side of living in a smaller city would be that the cost of living is comparably less than living in the bigger cities.
The English teacher should be aware that most opportunities for employment in teaching English as a foreign language exist in Mexico as it is perhaps the strongest Latin American country economically. Free trade has opened up the borders between Canada, USA and Mexico, therefore, English is in urgent demand for Mexicans in commerce. The acquisition of the English language can make a big difference in the salaries that Mexican businessmen are paid. This demand is not only for the top executives but as well for the entry level employees. The need for English does not only include people who work in commerce but also for people who work in every field.
The qualified English teacher can make a very good wage especially in Mexico where the wage earned in private schools is comparatively higher than those who teach English as a foreign language in the public sector. The cost of living in most countries is relatively low compared to North America or Europe. Salaries paid to the English teacher do vary from country to country, however a good living can be made with proper planning. There exist opportunities for the English teacher who may want to stay with a host family as arranged by the employer which can be very economical. This type of accommodation can be particularly advantageous for cultural exchange purposes as well.
The prospective English teacher should not expect that a job will be found any where in Latin America without an English teaching certificate. The competition and standard for native speaking English teachers is high. The dream of teaching English as a foreign language in any of the Spanish or, as in the case of Brazil, Portuguese speaking countries is a popular one. Qualifications are now necessary. Before departure the English teacher should be sure to have all documents of qualifications in hand.
There must be some type of pre-requisite research done in order to obtain the necessary permits for the foreigner who wishes to teach English as a foreign language. Larger schools or most reputable employers may pay for the proper documentation if the English teacher is willing to sign a contract.
The view that the countries of Latin America are not safe for the foreigner who wants to work are very antiquated. Gone are the days of the stereotypical drug lords and dictators. All that is required is some common sense to navigate through any city. The native English speaker is warmly welcome. Canadian, European and especially American cultures are very popular in the countries of Latin America. Most Latin Americans are very eager to learn English as foreign language from a native speaker. Most employers are very eager to hire a native English speaker.
The people of Latin America are amongst the warmest in terms of culture and to be able to teach English as a foreign language in such an open and communicative center of the world makes the job of teaching English as a foreign language more interactive, exciting and rewarding than can be imagined. The students interact with each other so much that the teacher of English as a foreign language most times just has to give them instructions. The positive, passionate and vibrant culture is hard to resist!
The time off from teaching English as a foreign language can be a perfect time to explore any number of neighboring countries if teaching in Central America. This is an excellent opportunity to become familiar with the vastly different cultures that exist in Latin America. An expansion of the world view can take place; it is an exciting, wonderful adventure.
Immersion in the Spanish language or Portuguese is needed for more successful language acquisition. The English teacher has the opportunity not only to earn a rewarding career, but also to learn another language. Spanish is one of the top languages in the world so it can really add to the English teacher’s portfolio. Just think of the advantages of this learning process and how it can make learning even a third closely linked language such as Italian much easier.
Teaching EFL in Latin America is a very viable, career broadening, and life enhancing experience. The culture, the language, and the people are infectious. The experience of teaching English as a foreign language in any of the countries of Latin America will be most favorable to any one who so chooses to embark on this experience. A well thought out planning process, training, commitment, and agility are qualities that will carry the English teacher a long way.
*Feel free to share our articles, we only ask for credit! Be sure to mention International Teacher Training Organization as the author and a link back to our website: www.tefl-online.com.