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Teaching English in Ecuador

Hi, I'm new to the expat forum - I'm quite relieved to have found such an active Ecuador forum! I hope I am posting this in the correct place, and apologize if I'm not.

First of all, I apologize if this question has been asked a million times, but I've found it quite difficult to find up-to-date, substantial information about teaching English in Ecuador.

Myself and my partner (she is American, I am British) are recent university graduates (not education-related fields), and currently teach English at public schools in China. We want to start teach English in Ecuador around September 2016.

By the time we finish in China (at the end of July), we will both have 1 year of teaching experience. We both have BA Degrees, and posses TEFL certificates (mine is a basic 120 hour online certificate. Hers is a little more substantial, and includes some observation and a practical element).

We want to teach in Ecuador, but like I said above, there seems to be a lack of in-depth, up-to-date information. We have sent emails to a few schools, with few replies. Ideally, we would like to teach in Quito or Cuenca, but would consider smaller, less 'mainstream' cities if there was work.

My question is, what are our prospects with our qualifications and experience? Also, if somebody could recommend some reputable schools in Quito, Cuenca or anywhere else in Ecuador really, that regularly hire foreign English teachers, that would be great too. Additionally, what is the likelihood of us being hired from overseas? I've read that a lot of people arrive in Ecuador and seek work - this wouldn't be ideal for us, because we won't be back from China until August and would like to start teaching around September. Ideally, we would like to arrange a job prior to our arrival in Ecuador.

From my research, it would appear that we are too inexperienced/ under-qualified for the top university or international school jobs, but we also don't want to teach through one of those 'volunteer' programs that  charge fees and/ or pay $500 or less per month (we want to be able to eat).

We are aware that we're not going to make any serious money - we are coming to Ecuador for the experience, and to do something (teaching) that we enjoy, but we'd like to be able to live semi-comfortably, and not constantly struggle to make ends meet on some 'volunteer stipend'.

Thanks - any advice would be much appreciated.

Adam

Welcome to the Ecuador forum, Adam....

I say the following with no disrespect to you and your partner:

Ecuador needs English teachers.  However, the paying institutions are not so desperate that they are hiring applicants previously unknown to them without an in-person interview.

Is a Skype interview possible?  We received anecdotal evidence from a poster/teaching applicant in Europe that such was planned with an Ecuador school, but we did not receive post-Skype information as to its success or lack thereof.

In any case, such a Skype interview would probably be conducted -- at least in part -- in Spanish.

IMO, the likelihood of a good Ecuadorian school remotely hiring a pair of English teachers now living in China is anything but a lock.

Why are you choosing Ecuador?

cccmedia in Quito

Adam14193 :

We also don’t want to teach through one of those ‘volunteer' programs that charge fees and/or pay $500 or less per month....

We are aware that we're not going to make any serious money - we are coming to Ecuador for the experience, and to do something (teaching) that we enjoy, but we'd like to be able to live semi-comfortably, and not constantly struggle to make ends meet on some 'volunteer stipend'.

An employer or agency that gets you $500 a month in Ecuador is not a volunteer program.

$500 a month is more than many Ecuadorian workers take home.

A pair of applicants new to Ecuador and applying from overseas might consider themselves lucky to get a foot in the door at $500 per month each in salary for Year 1.

cccmedia in Quito

Not sure if I can post the ESL/EFL teacher website here but that's where most prospective TEFLERS navigate to inquire about hiring and qualifications in specific countries. You can PM me on that. I do know that in Central and South American countries, you have to be on the ground to job hunt. Many don't have an employment link and/or a college/school website where you can inquire and apply. And as for Europe, one must be an EU passport holder.  As ccc indicated, though, salaries are generally very low in those countries. The top paying EFL employers these days are in China, Korea and some parts of the Middle East (but in the latter case, the goal is to hire locals so that along with declining oil prices, the golden days of cushy jobs in the GCC are slowly declining). Also, if you are interested in teaching public school, most institutions require a B.Ed., teaching license in that subject and at least 2 years experience (see the Adveti website for instance).
Regards, PS (an ESL/EFL educator for 30 years)

I've been an English teacher in Quito for over 5 years and worked at a few different schools. Your best bet is to start applying with the many international schools in Quito. Here are some to start with:  Colegio Americano, Colegio Menor, Cotopaxi, Colegio Alberto Einstein, Liceo Campoverde, Liceo Internacional, British School, Britannica, SEK, Colegio Aleman,... there are many more. The starting pay at most of these schools is $1,500/month for a foreigner and they will help you with a visa. Usually they ask for a bachelor's and 2 years experience. Some of them hire through ISS (International School Services- which does job fairs all over). I got my first job by writing the principal and doing a Skype interview. Good luck.

But what about the pay and benefits?I realize it's based on credentials but from my 30 years of experience, I know that Central and South America don't offer a lucrative income compared to other countries.
In essence, anyone expecting to depend on teacher salary to surivive in Central,South America without retirement or SS, well, it's just not in touch with reality. Of course, as many have posted here, it depends on your style of living.
Regards,
PS

peripatetic_soul :

I do know that in Central and South American countries, you have to be on the ground to job hunt.

As if to confirm the importance of being on the ground, VIP member Nards Barley has just told us that an English teaching job just fell in his lap in Cuenca.  He’d had no intention of teaching English.

Congratulations on your new opportunity, Nards.

For some insight into Nards’ change of mind -- and how he is simultaneously teaching the joys of baked potatoes with sour cream -- check out post 1766 at the unofficial Cuenca page:  www.expat.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=25 … 45#3235583

  -- cccmedia in Quito

cccmedia :

Welcome to the Ecuador forum, Adam....

I say the following with no disrespect to you and your partner:

Ecuador needs English teachers.  However, the paying institutions are not so desperate that they are hiring applicants previously unknown to them without an in-person interview.

Is a Skype interview possible?  We received anecdotal evidence from a poster/teaching applicant in Europe that such was planned with an Ecuador school, but we did not receive post-Skype information as to its success or lack thereof.

In any case, such a Skype interview would probably be conducted -- at least in part -- in Spanish.

IMO, the likelihood of a good Ecuadorian school remotely hiring a pair of English teachers now living in China is anything but a lock.

Why are you choosing Ecuador?

cccmedia in Quito

Hi, thanks for such a useful and quick reply. There is no need to apologize - it is refreshing to obtain some realistic information.

A Skype interview is possible, yes. Given our current position in China, it would be our only option. However, I understand from your reply and other information that this isn't common practice. My partner is actually fluent in Spanish, but I have never studied Spanish before.

We are choosing Ecuador because it seems like a cool place with some amazing scenery, and someone I know had a positive experience teaching there. Also, I'm not sure if this is correct, but it appears to be slightly less dangerous than some of the other countries in South America (although I know that precautions need to be taken).

I guess we will continue emailing schools and attempting to arrange Skype interviews. Could anybody recommend any schools that might hire people with our qualifications/ geographical position outside of Ecuador?

Thanks,

Adam

cccmedia :
Adam14193 :

We also don’t want to teach through one of those ‘volunteer' programs that charge fees and/or pay $500 or less per month....

We are aware that we're not going to make any serious money - we are coming to Ecuador for the experience, and to do something (teaching) that we enjoy, but we'd like to be able to live semi-comfortably, and not constantly struggle to make ends meet on some 'volunteer stipend'.

An employer or agency that gets you $500 a month in Ecuador is not a volunteer program.

$500 a month is more than many Ecuadorian workers take home.

A pair of applicants new to Ecuador and applying from overseas might consider themselves lucky to get a foot in the door at $500 per month each in salary for Year 1.

cccmedia in Quito

Sorry, I probably wasn't clear here - I am aware that Ecuador is a poor country, and that incomes are considerably lower than in my own country. However, as I understand it, it can cost $300 - $400 to rent an apartment in Quito/ Cuenca. After bills, we would each then be left with around $10 or less per day to live, which I don't think would be adequate. I'm also aware that Ecuador has just been hit by a devastating earthquake, which really puts our little TEFL job search into perspective.

When referring to 'volunteer programs' I was talking about those companies that charge fees and seem to pay considerably less than some private schools. For example, I have seen old job advertisements with schools directly advertising $700/ month. However, these programs seem to charge upfront fees and pay around $500. It is the same out here in China - I am being paid twice as much as some of my friends because I didn't go through a 'program' and they did.

Thanks,

Adam

ccc - Is it ok to provide Adam an EFL job website here? Many TEFLERs subscribe to it and one can search job posting at their International Job Forum (although you won't find many for Central/S America, mostly for Mexico) or one can post inquiries in the International Teacher Forum where countries are listed under continents in alpha order? Ecuador doesn't have its own separate link but posters can inquire under General Latin America. I'll wait for a reply. Thank you.
PS

Dear Adam,
FYI As the EFL website I was referring to also cautions teachers, their banner denotes: "NEVER PAY ANY FEES FOR A TEACHING POSITION."  Any legitimate institution will pay visa, etc. and state clearly in their advert whether they include accommodations and RT airfare. There should never be an "application fee." It's also best to apply as a DIRECT HIRE rather than through an agency because the latter doesn't care what happens after they receive their commission. So, it's important to ask at the beginning who your employer is. Sorry, not intending to go off topic here but hope you'll spread the word to your colleagues. 
Regards,
PS

peripatetic_soul :

ccc - Is it ok to provide Adam an EFL job website here? Many TEFLERs subscribe to it and one can search job postings at their International Job Forum....

Sure, go ahead, please, PS.  A main objective of the forum is to assist Expats and new arrivals, often directing them to useful sources of information.

cccmedia in Quito

Ok, ccc, thanks much.  For those interested in EFL positions overseas, go to Dave's www.eslcafe.com.  Scroll down on the left to "International Teacher Forum." Then select continent and country of interest and post inquiries there. You will need to register but advise strongly to choose a unique username, not your real name.
There is a lot of valuable information from those on the ground. As for Ecuador, there is no separate thread so click on "General Latin America" forum and post your inquiries there. There are many posters there who teach in Quito, Cuenca, Guayaquil, etc. 

Most of the threads pertain to college level EFL and some in EFL public school.

Numerous candidates interested in TEFL jobs perform their due diligence here.Good luck!
Regards, PS

do you know of any international schools in Cuenca?

Have you googled international schools? As I also wrote above, you can inquire at Dave's eslcafe.com under the General Latin America forum. I am not in Cuenca so I would not know the answer. I have heard, however, that one must have a B.Ed. in that core subject from an accredited university (I believe cccmedia provided that list from the Ecuador Guidebook)  and a valid teaching license.
Regards,
PS

thanks, I will try those places. I have two master's, one in English and one in creative writing. I am currently finishing an ESL post master's certificate. I am a licensed teacher in the states and I have 12 years of teaching experience, 7 of which are at a community college. With my strong credentials, I am hoping to get into either an international school or a university, since I can teach writing and literature, too.

Hi Ms. Brohrich,
I'm sure you will have many lucrative opportunities available to you. Teaching experience in ESL  and academic writing will be assets. I've been teaching ESL (academic reading and writing in tertiary for over 25 years).  Good luck. PS

Adam and friend:
Amyf on this thread has some very good advice that I can corroborate from my 4 years in Quito teaching.

I am a veteran teacher and finding work with lots of experience is a tough nut to crack as you are finding for a "ÿounger, less experienced teachers". But the key is to Just plunge in, have a SKYPE interview with some of the schools amyf suggests.  They are all very good and there's a good selection of them.

I suggest starting NOW for Sept 2016 and hustle..  Good luck!  sueb4bs

Hi, Sue,
What about prospects in Cuenca? Anyone with info?

Is a simple literacy program volunteer training certificate for maybe 10 hours of training going to be worth anything there?  Can you just advertise privately to give lessons with that?

Here's what I know --  appears to be a mixed message in Cuenca hiring , esp since the economic downturn which started here maybe 2 years ago. Have friend 10 years into the public university employment system as a professor ( U of Cuenca) who quit recently saying the changes being made by el gobierno are too challenging and he was totally fed up. A good mid career type, exhausted and humiliated.  Not much meaningful student contact at all anymore+ much more - etc.   For good university jobs, Universidad de Azuay, a private univ. has very good rep for gringos used to a --- hate the term -- more  "first world" academic  standard. Looking for PhDs mainly.  Mostly elite send their kids there , is my experience.

The public schools in Ecuador (K-12) are in crisis as govt funding shrinks monthly and now new regs (since 2013) for teachers mean people have been fired and others are up to their necks dealing with 40+ class size.   I know personally some Ecuadorian teachers, both colegio and primario and they are  struggling.  I am  looking at a consulting/training position with a U.S, fundacíon in public health/nutrition programming in the schools.  The program coordinating with a MInisterio de Educacion is having big logistical problems getting off the ground --  vamos a ver...

SO, the picture is tough here.  However, people esp early career types,  can always find some work in the Institutos (there are many here) and move on from there as the economy and the funding picture improves.

Maybe, you can surely try.  Advertise in Gringo Post.com --it may work for you.  If you have good teaching skills and are confident in those skills, private work is not highly credentialed and you work off the books.   Good luck.

Friend, the real challenge can be getting PAID.  Buyer , beware...

Thanks!

Thank-you so much. I am excited to come, but there are so many things to do to get there.  I keep checking off my list. I put my notice in for December.

I haven't taught ESL yet, but I have taught English on the reservation here in North Dakota. my students are often considered ELL students because of the historical events of forcing them to not speak their language.

I love cultural diversity and look forward to embracing a new culture.

best wishes to you as well.

Hi, Ms. Brohrich,
I'm sure you well know that teaching English to native speakers differs significantly from teaching ESL and EFL - methodology varies as well as learned outcomes and developmental stages. I hope everything fares well with your check list. It does seem daunting. I am still teaching ESL academic reading/writing at the local college but am gearing up to explore this as an adjunct opportunity somewhere in Ecuador in years to come. Keep us apprised of your adventures. May our paths meet.
Best wishes, PS

Update on teaching prospects in CUENCA:  I posted an inquiry on the Latin America board of Dave's eslcafe and received the following reply:  Cuenca has very few, if any, teaching opportunities for ex-pats compared to larger cities such as Guayaquil or Quito where there are many more institutions and a demand for English.  Also, one would be earning only a LOCAL teacher salary (about $5/hour), not sufficient to live on.

Regards,
PS

Note:  This is a U.S. fundácion,  CEDEI. 

Cuenca does have another option for people interested in living and working here.
CEDEI (look online for more contact info and the full acronym name) has teaching positions K-12 opening on a pretty regular quarterly basis, attracts interesting staff and pays everyone $375 mo.   People give varying reports about the work but many like it, They are looking for something else that pays more but it can suit as a beginning for some folks.   Buena suerte...
Email me privately for more information.  I can find more specifics for you. 
sueb4bs

Hi, sue,
I was inquiring on behalf of Ms. B on this forum, not myself.  I exited the k-12 scene long ago. I've been teaching college level for many years. Your info confirms Dave's about low salaries but $375 but could pay the rent. Thanks much.
PS

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