“Don’t ever do it!” some said. “You will never get a decent job”, exclaimed some others. “That is crazy”, confirmed most.
So, can you make a decent living teaching English abroad although you are not a native speaker of English? Is there a career for you or is this just another Facebook Russian hoax so you end up watching a video of a cute kitten licking ice cream off some Justice League ad?
Let’s examine some facts.
Most things can be taught. Languages, although hard sometimes, are no exception to this rule. And whether is law, medicine or poker, if something can be taught then it can be learnt. And those who learn a language or anything else can then in return teach it as well, if such is their inclination and they work hard and honestly enough.
In other words, teaching English is not necessarily exclusive to those who are born speaking it. It just takes determination. Accent is less important than teaching skills, unless racism is a valid hiring criterion, and it is not.
OK, so you can do this. But how is it teaching English in Mexico, in particular?
You probably have heard some bad stories about this wonderful country, but with all due respect, you probably ignore some important facts too.
Mexico is so big you could fit most of the countries of the European Union inside its borders… together. In reality Mexico is a country made out of different, hugely diverse countries where opportunities, adventure and worthy experiences are to be found every step of the way. There are problems too although the scope of the country makes it easy to dodge them as long as you keep your wits about you and apply basic common sense – that dark alley in the middle of the night? Maybe it´s not the best idea to get in there -.
The variety of climates, food, landscapes, accents and culture is simply mind blowing.
Do you enjoy boredom? Then you can stop reading right now, Mexico is not for you.
This country suffers from terrible inequalities at the same time that enjoys a healthy demographic pyramid. This contradictory situation translates into numerous job and business opportunities for those in the field of education. Whether is teaching or managing, there is an opportunity for you if you keep your ears near to the ground and have a can-do attitude.
Once you start teaching in Mexico you observe some striking differences when compared to many other countries. Namely:
- Teachers are generally respected. A teacher in Mexico is not a loser, a teacher is a “maestro”, and there is an innuendo of deference in the treatment. That is, if you are a good maestro and not a “pendejo” maestro, of course.
- There are jobs everywhere, positions that you can land according to your level of experience and qualifications.
- Every city in Mexico is a different culture, so you can have a different experience with every job.
- Food is always spicy as hell, no matter what Mexicans say.
- Music is in the air. In the air, in the bus, on the streets, in almost every bar, restaurant, beaches and shops.
- Spanish people sound to Mexicans like Harry Potter teachers sound to people from Michigan. And that is a good thing. Mexican Spanish is also incredibly rich and colorful; a delight when well-spoken and well listened to.
- There is a lot to be done. Schools and methods are often bureaucratic and demoded, but it is for this reason that the job can be so rewarding. If teaching is like building, then there are few places where this is truer than Mexico. And that is a good thing as well, if you are an honest teacher with a clear understanding of what your job is all about.
- You can feel there is a life for you here. As a Spaniard, well, you speak the same language, you have the same sense of communal pleasure when sharing a good meal – and Mexican food is nothing short of awesome, spicy or not -, the weather is generous with an optimistic spirit and you could have fun every day of the week if your body could take it – and it shouldn’t because you are a teacher, right? -.
So you may want to give it some thought and consider the possibility of a move that can change your life for the better and, possibly, for good. They say “¡Viva México!” for a reason after all.