Work Abroad

Teaching in Latin America

Despite the thousands of Americans looking for their Latin Dream, there are still plenty of English teaching jobs south of the US border. The downside, though, is the pay can really be minimal. Pay in countries like Mexico and Argentina is typically only 3 to 5 dollars an hour but will at least be cash in hand. Forget about work visas in the majority of cases but it’s rarely an issue anyway.

Mexico has biggest economy in Central America and so has the bulk of the teaching jobs. Work opportunities get thinner through Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua – there may be work but it will be tough to make an actual living. Costa Rica has jobs but the capital, San Jose, is a real shit hole so try elsewhere in the country.

You can get by as a gringo English teacher all over South America and experience is generally more important than qualifications. The diplomas and such are often only so that the school can get a work visa for you and that’s not too likely to happen in South America. The Argentine economy is recovering now and so might be an option again and offers one of the best lifestyles. As far as making money goes, Chile is probably the best paying, though in, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro also offer enough for you to get by.

Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador all offer teaching opportunities but again, you’ll only make any money teaching private lessons in most cases.

You won’t get rich teaching English in Latin America but you’ll quite possibly have more fun. Wages pretty much hang around the $5 an hour mark but that’s usually enough to cover living expenses. Just don’t expect to save any money.

In most places you’ll be expected to dress pretty smart and you’ll be left wondering how everyone afford suits and dresses that must cost two months’ salary. Teachers sometimes get fired because they didn’t make enough effort with their appearance – whether the students were learning anything is neither here nor there.

The actual teaching atmosphere is a lot more relaxed in the Americas than many countries. This means there’s less pressure on you but then again it’s hard to maintain a learning environment. Students will chat to each other while you’re teaching, answer their phones and maybe step out to get some coffee while you’re explaining the exercise. Just go with the flow, it’s how they are. Unless you’re a control freak that stresses out over everything you’ll eventually learn the love the slow pace of the culture.