Mexico is one of the largest ESL markets in Latin America, with millions of students of all ages and levels. Consequently, in any city you visit, you’ll find a wide range of international and national chains. In addition, you’ll find smaller, local schools offering ESL classes pretty much everywhere you look.
These schools 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 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 situ 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 certificates you’ll need to teach in a language school. 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’re 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
One of the main reasons that many of the language schools don’t require such stringent ESOL credentials is because their teachers are representatives and mouthpieces of the school’s very specific learning systems.
This is particularly true in the larger national franchises, such as Interlingua and Quick Learning. They 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. 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 course.
Having said this, 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 ESL degree, a TESOL certificate or TOEFL certificate or TESOL diploma, TKT qualification, or similar.
Even in spite of their own learning model for basic and intermediate students, these organizations do still offer international examination preparation courses for their advanced level students. This will normally take the form of TOEFL and TOEIC in these institutions.
International Chains & Examiner Vacancies
Here, they will adhere to much stricter requirements for their teachers. For example, they often have vacancies for CELTA and DELTA tutors and post international opportunities on their online jobs board.
These are jobs that you can apply for before leaving home. 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 centres 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.
A Great Start to Your Career
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 career.
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!