Teaching English in Mexico

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Mark S. Farley

Teaching English in Mexico is both an exciting and rewarding experience.

There’s no better way to learn about another culture than to live in it. It’s one thing to vacation in Mexico, and quite another to work there. When you wake up in the morning and you get ready to teach your first class, you realize that you have blended into another society. This is an amazing accomplishment — one that will be with you for the rest of your life.

Presently, there’s a great demand for English teachers in Mexico. Jobs are plentiful. Many Mexicans receive higher salaries if they speak English. For example, a secretary at Aetna Seguros Monterey (an insurance company) will receive an additional 1,000 or more pesos a month if he/she can speak English. There are many U.S. companies with branch offices throughout Mexico. The employees are Mexican and need to speak with their American counterparts. Overall, the general consensus in Mexico is that if you can communicate in English, your economic status and position will increase at a faster rate.

Most Mexicans learn English grammar and vocabulary throughout their formal education. Unfortunately, they often lack the opportunity to practice conversation. This is true of most schools where classroom attendance is high. Students may be competing with 30 or more students for their chance to speak. When Mexican students finish their education, they find that they cannot speak English well.

As a teacher or private tutor, you’ll be hired to help the student learn to speak correctly. You will also help build the student’s vocabulary. Mexicans prefer hiring a native English speaker because of the need to pronounce words correctly. You should be skilled at the art of conversation.

Mexicans are looking for American teachers who are friendly and animated. They are looking for teachers who are engaging. It’s a bonus when your student can practice conversation and learn something interesting at the same time, but you should have a good command of the English language. You do not have to know Spanish in order to teach English. In many cases, it may be more beneficial that you don’t speak Spanish. It forces the student to speak only English. If you know Spanish, refrain from using it as a crutch. Some of the most successful language schools in the world insist that only the language being taught is spoken.

Teaching English is fun. Yes, that’s right — fun! It all depends on your approach.

You can use teaching games to make the class something your student will look forward to attending. Learning another language can be intimidating and frustrating. But, if you make the experience a positive one, not only will your student enjoy it, but will learn more quickly. Text books are necessary, but can become monotonous. Therefore, it’s important to be creative and look at alternative ways of teaching.

You will find Mexicans extremely warm and friendly. It’s not uncommon for your students to become your friends. They will enjoy showing you their country and their customs. You’ll be invited to birthday parties, festivals, weddings, and the like. Don’t hesitate to go. It’s a good opportunity for you to learn Spanish and your students to practice English. You’ll enjoy learning from your students while teaching them. Many teachers return to Mexico again and again to see their former students.

The best part about teaching is that you can be your own boss. You set your own schedule and decide on how much you want to work. Most teachers schedule classes Monday through Thursday so that they can have Friday off. This allows for a three-day weekend — enough time to travel to other interesting sites or see special events. For the adventuresome, there are jungle retreats… for the culturally inclined, there are pyramids, museums, and theater… and there’s year-round beach weather.

Mexico’s bus system is one of the best modes of transportation anywhere. It’s inexpensive and comfortable. The reclining seats are very comfortable. They have leg rests that fold down from the back of each chair. You’ll get to watch a movie on one of the many TVs located throughout the bus. The movie is usually in English with Spanish subtitles. ETN, Primera Plus, and Futura are just a few of the excellent bus lines you can use.

You can forget about doing any housework when you’re in Mexico. For a few dollars a week, you can have a maid do the cleaning and your laundry. If you’re extremely busy, you can have your maid cook too. It will cost a little extra, but could be worth those delicious home-cooked meals. If you’re renting a house, you may want a gardener. It’s a real treat to come home to find fresh cut flowers on the table.

In conclusion, if you’re looking to spend some time in an amazing country and want to get paid while taking a break from your usual routine, this is an opportunity worth exploring. It’s truly an experience that will change your life forever.

Published or Updated on: May 1, 1997 by Mark S. Farley © 1997
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