By: Christie Koness
The countries of Central and South America are not well known for offering English teachers jobs in advance. Employers in these countries typically prefer to meet English teachers face-to-face, interview, and hire them on the spot. This process can understandably be slightly daunting for some ESL teachers who would like job security before they move their lives halfway or all the way around the world.
If this sounds like you, don’t disregard Latin America entirely! There are a few countries that sometimes offer opportunities to find work before being in the country.
Although more volunteer in nature, the Chilean Government runs a program called English Opens Doors (or Ingles Abre Puertas in Spanish). This program hires native English speakers in advance and places them throughout Chile in public schools who need additional resources to teach children English. Volunteers receive a stipend, accommodations, a visa and more while participating in this program. Please check dates, further requirements, and application procedures on the English Opens Doors website.
In addition to the English Opens Doors program, some private language schools in Chile will hire English teachers in advance. By using ITA’s job search guidance resources, teachers can email private language schools their resume and cover letter before arriving in Chile. More commonly however, most ESL teachers will head to Chile’s major cities (such as Santiago) and find their English teaching jobs face-to-face. We recommend if applying to jobs at private language schools in Chile, to expect to be hired face to face however, it will be a nice surprise if you hear back from a school before you arrive!
In the past few years, the demand for English language instruction in Colombia has skyrocketed. It is no longer regarded as a dangerous no-go country for foreigners and the government has recently been putting a lot of effort, attention and money into making Colombia a safer, more educated country. This effort to educate more people in Colombia greatly includes educating its citizens in the English language.
The Government of Colombia and Ministry of Education recently implemented a new initiative towards English language education and recruits hundreds of native English speakers twice a year. They recruit teachers in advance and place them throughout Colombia in Elementary Schools, High Schools, and Technical Schools for adults. Placements are all over Colombia. For more information on this program, and to see if you meet the requirements, please read the article: Teaching English in Colombia: Public School Opportunities.
It is also possible to find work in private language schools throughout Colombia in advance however, similar to Chile, most of them follow the practice of interviewing teachers face-to-face. ITA also works closely with one major language school chain in Colombia that will hire our TEFL certified teachers in advance.
Although Ecuador is one of the smallest countries in South America, there is a large demand for English language instruction largely due to the increase in tourism which one of the country’s largest industries. Therefore, there is a possibility for ESL teachers to find jobs in advance by sending their resume and cover letter to schools by using ITA’s Job Search Guidance resources. ITA also has knowledge of a few schools in Ecuador that have hired our ESL teachers in advance.
Again, very similar to Chile and Colombia, it is very common to find jobs in Ecuador face-to-face locally in the larger cities such as Quito, Guayaquil or Cuenca. Most schools in Ecuador do not post on job boards or advertise their open positions online so it is important to always use ITA’s resources.
Often overlooked by many ESL teachers, Mexico has a huge demand for English language instruction! Due to its proximity and business relations with the USA and the sheer size of the country (there are 10 cities with over a million people!), there are plenty of opportunities to teach English in Mexico. With that being said, it is quite possible for teachers to find work teaching English before going to Mexico.
Having three partner TEFL schools in Mexico, ITA has the most up to date information and resources on finding a job in advance OR on the ground in Mexico. Either are quite possible! Because the demand is so high, schools in Mexico have also been known to hire non-native English speakers with English proficiency and teachers of all ages. So, keep Mexico on your radar if you are looking to teach English in Latin America and prefer a job in advance!
Even though Latin America doesn’t have quite as many opportunities for finding work in advance as Asia or the Middle East, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico are great countries to live and teach in. Keep them on your radar as you search for English teaching jobs abroad!
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- Insider Tips for Getting a Job Teaching English in Latin America
- Job Search Guidance at ITA
- Top 12 Reasons to Teach English in Latin America
- Video Tutorial - Teaching English in Latin America
About the Author: Christie Koness
Christie has just returned home from taking a year off and traveling the world with her husband. She has been working at ITA for over 5 years. We are ecstatic to have her back in Chicago.