Mexico is one of the largest TEFL job markets in Latin America, with millions of students of all ages and levels. Consequently, in any city you visit, you will find a wide range of international and national chains offering ESL lessons. In addition, you will find smaller, local schools offering ESL classes pretty much everywhere you look.
Language schools in Mexico are always on the lookout for enthusiastic, dynamic teachers. Plus, native speakers are always seen as a huge benefit in these organizations. So, if you feel brave enough to venture to an unknown city to ply the tools of your trade, rest assured that there will be many TEFL opportunities waiting for you in Mexico.
Language schools are a great option if you have a flexible schedule. Often, teachers give classes early in the morning (7 – 9 am) and in the afternoons (2 – 4 pm) and evening (6 – 10 pm). So, prepare to have free time in the mornings but a lot more work later in the day. If you’re happy to adapt and base your free time around erratic class schedules, and you’re available to teach at short notice (less than 24 hours), you’ll greatly increase your chances of finding work here.
Many schools also offer specific courses to companies in site or spread their teachers across different school campuses. So, if you’re willing to travel to different locations for some of your classes, potential employers will also see this as a great benefit.
In most cases, the best option is to visit the school and introduce yourself personally to the school’s director or hiring department. School directors may do their best to accommodate a strong candidate, even if there are no formal vacancies at that time. The best times to do this are at the start of the year (January) or any time during the summer holiday period and the new school year (June – September). If you’re lucky, you arrive at the right time and knock on the right doors, you can prepare to start almost immediately, at least with a few hours in the beginning.
Qualifications and Credentials
One very important factor to mention is the TEFL certification you’ll need to teach in a language school in Mexico. And this is where the good news starts! The vast majority of these institutes are not obliged to register teachers with a government educational agency. Nor do they need to comply with specific national requirements for their staff. As such, they are very flexible about what teaching qualifications they ask of their teachers. Each school will develop its own internal guidelines of the required credentials.
If you are a non-native speaker, make sure you take any proof of your language level with you. Be prepared for the school to assess your language level before you can be assigned classes.
Specific School Methodologies
Larger national franchises, such as Interlingua and Quick Learning, have implemented their own patented, highly successful, tried, and tested systems all across the country. As such, their teachers are trained in specific protocols to reproduce this unique learning system to students. ESL teachers are not expected – or permitted – to drift from their specific lesson protocol. This often proves to benefit some younger, less experienced teachers while simultaneously providing them with invaluable classroom experience. On the other hand, it can become a little frustrating after some time. This is especially true if you are creative and keen to put into practice all the knowledge that you gained in your TESOL / TEFL course.
Many of the larger national school chains (even those with their own specific methodologies) will also look favorably on a candidate with formal teaching credentials. This can take the form of an Education degree, a TESOL certificate, TEFL certificate , TESOL diploma, TKT qualification, or similar qualification.
International Chains & Examiner Vacancies
International chains are a great option for those who have previous ESL teaching experience and want to apply for TEFL jobs in Mexico before leaving their home. Most international chains of language schools such as International House or the British Council offer international examination preparation courses for their advanced level students. This will normally take the form of TOEFL, IELTS and TOEIC. These international chains often have vacancies for teacher trainers and post international opportunities on their online jobs board.
In addition, these schools offer a lot of opportunities for invigilators and certified speaking examiners. Both International House and the British Council are two of the three authorized exam centers in Mexico for Cambridge and IELTS exams. As such, they are always on the lookout for invigilators and certified speaking examiners. This is especially true around the busy exams period of May and June.
Language Schools are a Great Place to Start Your TEFL Career in Mexico
With a regular flow of mostly small groups of highly motivated students, many teachers find working in a private language school a very comfortable, low-stress option for at least part or the start of their TEFL career in Mexico. And don’t forget the added bonus that, you will not be grading homework and lesson planning that often.
Finally, some employers may help you to process any relevant visa applications. So with all these advantages, if you’re thinking of teaching English in Mexico, starting in a language school could be a great option. Good luck!