There’s a lot of EFL concentrated in Mexico City, with well- known schools that have classes of all levels and very different set- ups from bigger ventures to smaller ones. Outside Mexico City there is significant EFL presence in the bigger cities, and less in smaller ones, although with the tourist industry some of the smaller places like Playa del Carmen have a lot of small schools. Work is available in language schools and International schools, for teachers who have a PGCE. There is a high turnover of teachers, as many tend to stay between 2 and 4 years before moving on to another location. There’s also a small percentage who have decided to settle in Mexico for a range of reasons, and work in teaching.
Salary and hours
Many classes fall in ‘off-peak’ hours, as classes are generally preferred either before or after regular working hours. This means that teachers may have a split shift, starting at 7.00am and finishing at 9.30pm with a big break in the middle of the day to do other things. With business classes there is travel involved as the teacher will go to the company to give classes, and of course these will fall during office hours or before work. Classes on Saturdays are also popular, as many students have to travel a long way, and some will come into the city from 2 hours away to attend class. The salary ranges from about $9,000 MXN to $16,000 MXN or $180- $250 MXN/ hour) depending on the school, qualifications, and number of teaching hours, which provides a reasonable standard of living.
Type of teaching
All types of teaching are available depending on the school you work for. Some specialize in business classes, and some do more general English with Young Learner classes also available to do. In international schools the learners will be secondary school age.
Most teachers find their own accommodation, but some schools have shared flats for their teachers. The salary often dictates the accommodation you can afford, as accommodation can cost up to 30% of the salary. It can be quite hard to find good accommodation in the area your school is as Mexico City is huge, and travelling by bus and metro can be slow.
Start of school year/ best time to look for work
It is possible to find work in Mexico all year round.
Teachers need to have a work visa (usually an FM3) to work in Mexico, and this is usually provided by your school- not for freelancers and sometimes not for hourly paid teachers. Many teachers enter Mexico on a tourist visa and get their work visa once they have found a job, although this means that the teacher will be on a local contract, and therefore have less support from the school in general. It’s hard to get an FM3 without support, as the cost is quite high, so for non- teaching partners hoping to travel and work in Mexico it can sometimes be quite problematic.
There are schools in Mexico City and other locations which offer a CELTA or TEFL course, and most schools will expect you to have one of these. Some also ask for the DELTA or a Master’s degree in TEFL or Linguistics. There are schools available for both experienced and inexperienced teachers, and some schools will offer training in different areas.
Mexico is a wonderful country to live and work in, with a lot of opportunities to travel and see more of the country. There are plenty of locations to study Spanish, and in general the locals are very friendly and willing to help you learn your way around. There’s a big difference between living in Mexico City and the rest of the country, so decide before you go if you want the BIG city lifestyle with all the conveniences that it offers and the social accessibility, or something where there are probably few non- Mexicans and a chance to soak up the culture more readily. Both have pros and cons, but everything’s possible and available.