Thursday, May 15, 2008

Teaching English

If you grew up speaking English then you probably can find a job as an English teacher in Bogotá, and many other cities throughout Colombia. You don’t need a teaching degree or certificate, though some schools do require it. The demand is definitely higher than the supply, especially in Bogotá. When advancing in business or any well-paying Colombian job, the first thing the interviewer will ask is: Do you speak English? This is why I have taught businessmen and women since I arrived. I work with an English institute and teach one-on-one classes. Many of these institutes pay less than if you taught at a high school or university. However, it allows for a flexible schedule and traveling. Like many other teachers, I’m living in Colombia on a tourist visa. The reason is that if you are approved for a work visa, it is difficult to change jobs if you don’t like the institute or school your teaching for. Private classes are another option, too. The going rate is about 20,000 pesos per hour, but this could change depending on your experience, student, commute, etc. The one thing I will warn native English speakers is that Colombians tend to be flaky. They might say they are committed to taking classes every day, when in reality they will often cancel and sometimes not even call to let you know they can’t have class that day. So if you do teach private classes, make sure your students pay you up front for a month or so at a time. If not, you may become frustrated and start looking for work elsewhere. With that said, if you can find a couple of really dedicated students, it could work out well for you. Teaching English doesn’t always have to be about money. You could exchange English classes for Spanish classes, so you both are learning a new language. Or you could exchange it for salsa lessons, which I highly recommend if you are living in Cali. The best thing to do is to try and meet many people when you first arrive to Colombia. Talk to the woman on the corner selling flowers or the man in the butcher shop. Just talking will help you improve your Spanish, and lead to many unexpected, yet pleasant surprises. Though I’ve met many great people in Colombia, below are two of my most dedicated students. I’m obviously going to miss them when I return to the United States in a few weeks.


SelllfMade said...

Thanks for that excellent advice. How did you find an apartment. I read that some institutes that hire persons also find and pay for their lodging. Is that so? I guess that would not allow you much flexibility if you want to change jobs because you most likely lose the apartment.

Brett Garamella said...

Selllfmade, I found an apartment through a friend of a friend. Usually that is the best way. Or you could check the classifieds in El Tiempo. Some institutes might pay for lodging but it's probably not that great and may not be in the area you want to live in. If you don't have a job, move down here with some savings and look around for a while. You'll start making connections in no time with a little effort.

SelllfMade said...

Hi. Thanks for the reply. I will try and let you know when I am successful. Do you have links for any English Teaching institutes?

Perseida said...

ji ji ji que bueno sería que los Colombianos o en general los hispanohablantes también tuviésemos la oportunidad así de fácil de enseñar nuestra bella lengua apenas lleguemos a otras tierras.

Daniel Thomás said...

I am from brazil and I am going to visit colombia, i loved all you say about colombia.
thanks for sharing it with us
Daniel Thomás

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