6 Things to Consider When You’re Planning to Teach English in Mexico
Do you like diverse, rich culture? How about friendly people and some of the most delicious food you’ll ever eat?
If so, welcome to Mexico!
One of the most amazing locations to teach English abroad, Mexico is a kaleidoscope of culture, food and people. And best of all, it has millions of people eager to learn English.
6 Things to Consider When You’re Planning to Teach English in Mexico
Mexico serves up vibrant cultures, landscapes, food and opportunities for teaching English.
If you’re looking for an exciting and rewarding teaching experience, you’ll find that Mexico more than delivers. And while you teach, you may even learn a few things along the way—like some of Mexico’s beautiful Spanish dialects. Where else can you be both a teacher and student?
Imagine teaching English, learning Spanish, traveling to different regions and getting paid to do it.
Before packing your bags and heading for the airport, here are a few tips on how to teach English in Mexico.
1. Get the Proper ESL Teacher Requirements
One of the most common questions when it comes to teaching English in Mexico is, “Do I need a degree in teaching?” or “Do I need any degree at all?”
You might be surprised to learn that you don’t. However, a four-year degree will help you get higher paying ESL jobs, but it’s not a requirement. In fact, you really just need to be a native English speaker and a TEFL certificate showing you completed some form of teacher training.
You can easily sign up for a TEFL certificate course in Mexico before launching your teaching career. They are normally a month long and cover the skills you’ll need to be successful in any classroom setting. Expat website, Go Abroad, has a comprehensive list of TEFL courses in Mexico.
Additionally, the International TEFL Academy also offers a four-week training course in Guadalajara, Mexico, that provide hands-on experience in the classroom. The program is internationally recognized and accredited by Training Qualifications UK (TQUK), which is recognized by the British Government.
If that doesn’t fit your schedule, try getting certified online instead. We’ve even got a guide on how to get an online TEFL certificate to help you get started.
2. Don’t Forget Your Mexican Visa
To get a work visa you generally need to have an employer or potential employer sponsor you. While that may sound like a pretty big obstacle, the process of getting a work visa isn’t typically as hard as it sounds.
Specific visa requirements can be different depending on your home country. Your sponsor may be able to help you with preparation, and you can also check with your local Mexican consulate at home for application and document requirements.
3. Types of ESL Teaching Jobs in Mexico
There are a number of English teaching opportunities in Mexico. Before you choose one, it’s best to understand what may be expected, like work schedule, hours and especially workload.
- Language Centers: Language centers have students of all ages. The typical schedule is early mornings and evenings, since this is generally when people have time to attend classes. Saturdays could also be a working day, depending on the institution.
- Public Schools: It’s hard to generalize about the types of ESL jobs you’ll find here, but they do usually offer a bit more of a fixed schedule and salary. The structure of a formal public school may be best for teachers with experience creating class syllabuses and the like. This page offers a basic introduction to the public school system in Mexico.
- Company Classes: Company classes are pretty fast-paced and consist of serious students learning English for advancement opportunities within their professions. This type of English teaching job is one of the higher paying positions. Classes are usually in the evenings or during lunch periods to accommodate the students’ schedules.
- Private English Lessons: Private English lessons are great if you want to make your own schedule and curriculum. The stakes are a little higher with private lessons, as you’ll be wearing the hat of teacher, marketer, salesperson and business owner.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to teach English in Mexico.
The truth is that teaching English abroad gives you the opportunity to diversify your skill set, which is why it’s common for teachers to work elementary classrooms during the day, then give private lessons at night.
4. Landing Your First ESL Job in Mexico
Now that we’ve covered visas and types of teaching jobs in Mexico, it’s time to look at how to get a teaching job.
Many schools in Mexico recruit English teachers locally and in-person. However, some English schools that are open to online interviews as well. There are a few interview benefits when applying in Mexico, but also a few pitfalls to be aware of too.
As a general rule, the best route is to apply and interview in person. Most companies want to be able to contact you via a local number, and this can help you get preference over someone applying from overseas—especially if the school is looking to fill an immediate vacancy.
It should also be noted that Mexican companies prefer applicants to attach a professional photo to the resume, along with your local address and phone number. Don’t forget to highlight any teaching strengths, degrees and TEFL certificates to help you stand out.
Getting a good teaching job
Whether you’re applying for a job in-person or going on an interview, you’ve got to dress the part. The laid-back culture in the United States doesn’t apply in Mexico. Hiring managers prefer keeping things formal and professional, so wear a nice suit and keep a clean-cut appearance.
Men should be clean-shaven or have a neatly-trimmed beard, as well as a tidy haircut that’s properly styled. Women should put their hair up and also wear formal attire—dress as if you’re applying to a Wall Street company! This may seem a little traditional, but when in Rome.
5. Start-up Costs
Compared to other countries, Mexico is quite affordable. However, there are a few initial costs to consider before making the move.
For starters, you need to save up a month’s worth of rent to put down as a deposit when you find a place to stay. Naturally, the price you pay for rent depends on the city and neighborhood you live in, but here are some links to help estimate housing expenses:
- Mexico Craigslist: This site has plenty of apartments for rent, including shared apartments that are relatively cheap
- Airbnb Mexico: You are probably familiar with Airbnb. This is a great platform to find apartments or shared housing for rent, but it can be slightly more expensive than Craigslist
- Hostelworld: Keep it cheap until you find a permanent living situation by staying at a hostel. Hostelworld showcases the best hostels and has plenty of reviews for you to ensure you stay at a nice one
A safe monthly budget per month for an ESL teacher living abroad would be $1,000 to $1,500 per month, depending on where you live and much you plan on going out. You can calculate your estimated cost of living more specifically with these charts.
Also, keep in mind that you won’t get rich teaching English in Mexico—or anywhere else for that matter. The salary of an ESL teacher can range from $400 to $1,000 per month, so having a nest egg of a few thousand dollars to carry you through the first month or two is essential.
6. Where to Find ESL Jobs
Finding ESL jobs in Mexico is pretty easy. To help, here’s list of job boards and TEFL schools that highlight new English teaching opportunities in various parts of Mexico.
ESL Teaching Job Boards for Mexico
- Teaching House: Teaching House is a great resource for anyone looking for international ESL jobs—especially in Mexico. The website is great for people who’ve already got some experience in the field, as preference is given to applicants with a CELTA certification
- ESL Employment Mexico: Be sure to check this website from time to time for jobs in some of Mexico’s bigger cities. While it’s not as active as Teaching House, there are a few high-quality positions that get posted every couple of weeks
- Transitions Abroad: Great for finding positions in Mexico and the surrounding areas, Transitions Abroad is an active job board that has a mixture of entry-level and skilled teaching positions available
- Mexico City Craigslist: You’d be surprised how many ESL positions get listed on Mexico City’s Craigslist page. While the site is best for finding people interested in one-on-one tutoring sessions, there’s the occasional ad for a language center that gets posted on Craigslist from time to time as well
- Teach Away: Teach Away is job board and ESL resource site that’s consistently posting vacancies in Mexico and other top travel destinations. Perfect for the professional ESL teacher, Teach Away stands out from other sites by offering only high-quality positions to certified teachers and educators with years of experience
Start Packing for Your Job Teaching English in Mexico
Are you ready to take your ESL teaching skills abroad? Mexico couldn’t be a better choice.
Not only will teaching in Mexico provide you with wonderful memories and ESL experience, you also get to eat tacos every day!
Stephen Seifert is a writer, editor, professor of English and adventurer. With nearly a decade of teaching experience to students worldwide, he enjoys the many aspects of culture and traditions different from his own. Stephen continues his search for writing inspiration, boldly enjoying life to the fullest.