With its location overlooking the stunning Banderas Bay, Mexico's Puerto Vallarta has long been a point of attraction for travelers from all over the world. With those travelers comes the need for workers who can speak English -- something you can capitalize on if you're hoping to work as an English teacher in the area. Landing a job as an English teacher in Puerto Vallarta starts with a background in teaching, at least a basic knowledge of Spanish, and a willingness to beat the street to find jobs.
Some English schools are willing to hire people with college degrees and little to no teaching experience, but to make yourself as marketable as possible, it's best to get some type of teacher training. Having a teaching degree or teaching certificate from the U.S. will qualify you for nearly any job. If you don't have that, earn a Teacher of English as a Foreign Language certificate. Training is available from numerous online academies. To learn about different programs, visit websites such as Dave's ESL Cafe, GoAbroad.com or TESOL.net. In addition, schools such as the University English Teachers Institute also offered TEFL training right in Puerto Vallarta as of 2014. Training programs are typically between 120 and 150 hours and cover the basics of grammar, classroom management and professionalism. Expect to pay several hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on the program and its location.
Finding a Job
Some TEFL schools offer job placement assistance, so take advantage of this resource if your school does. While some English language academies and schools in Puerto Vallarta might have websites, the best way to find out about jobs and to present yourself as a candidate is to visit the area and build a list of contacts. English language schools are often located in tourist areas such as the city's hotel zone and Zona Romantica, the older portion of town located south of the city's main beach, so be prepared to pound the pavement in these areas with resume in hand. For job listings and advertisements for language schools, check the website of the Banderas News, which is the city's English newspaper. Also, talk to managers of hotels that are known to hire teachers for staff members. Puerto Vallarta also has an American K-12 school, Colegio Americano de Puerto Vallarta, which might be seeking qualified English teachers.
The Interview Process
If you find someone interested in hiring you, have a sample lesson prepared in case you're asked to do a "working" interview. During the interview, you might also be asked questions about your teaching style, or you might be asked to answer "behavioral" questions such as how you deal with unmotivated students or students who don't complete homework. Even though you're teaching English, Puerto Vallarta is still a largely Spanish-speaking area, and schools might also test your Spanish language skills.
Earning a Living
Even if you find a job right away, don't expect to earn a lot of money teaching English in Mexico. According to 2014 data from the World of TEFL website, TEFL teachers across Mexico earned an average of $800 to $1,500 per month teaching in language centers, and between $1,000 and $1,500 teaching in local schools. With furnished apartments in the Zona Romantica costing $500 a month or more, that won't leave much for other living expenses. As a result, some teachers bring money with them for living expenses, work side jobs, or do other one-on-one tutoring work to supplement their teaching income.
- Photo Credit Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/Blend Images/Getty Images
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