Teach English in Ecuador
TEFL jobs in Ecuador
If you fancy teaching English abroad and have narrowed your location to South America, then Ecuador could be an excellent choice. To be fair, it is not one of the most highly paid places, but you have to remember that the cost of living is incredibly low, so it really is all relative. You may not be able to save much, but the combined cost of accommodation, food and bills should be easily achievable on the wages offered. It has been said that teaching English in Ecuador is a great starting point for newly qualified TEFL teachers and the lifestyle is relaxed, and the work-life balance is good. You will also find that many junior positions have fewer formal qualifications requirements, so your lack of experience will not count against you. Contracts also tend to be for six months at a time, so teaching English in Ecuador could be a great place to start if you want to move around the area and get to see more than one place, as you are not committed to staying for as long.
In terms of size, Ecuador is one of the smaller countries in South America. There is only one other smaller. It is a magical place with so much to see and do, and it is located at the basin of the Amazon, which is always worth a visit. During your time as an English teacher in Ecuador be sure to check out the tropical jungles and the glaciated Andean volcanoes. It is an excellent base if you like outdoor pursuits, and they offer a range of hiking, horse riding, swimming and surfing for those seeking an adrenaline-filled holiday. There is something for everyone, and if you happen to be an ornithologist, you will enjoy the very diverse range of birds found in the vegetation. Bug lovers will enjoy the unusual insects, and there is plenty to see for anyone who loves exploring new lands.
You will find that as an English teacher in Ecuador, you are welcomed with open arms by the locals, who are known for their honest and friendly nature. You will be made to feel at home, and they will help you integrate into the community. Teaching English in Ecuador is a great choice and will suit plenty of people looking to teach and travel the world.
Types of jobs in Ecuador
If you worry about having a secure contract, you may feel slightly anxious, and English teachers in Ecuador are often only given verbal agreements. However, this is very common, and although you might be used to written contracts, these oral agreements are taken seriously, and you will be given the amount of work agreed-usually six months at a time. Universities and international schools tend to offer more formality, so if a written contract is important, you may want to make sure you apply to these facilities when teaching English in Ecuador.
Private language schools
A good starting point for English teachers in Ecuador if you do not have a degree is to speak to one of the private language schools. They are more laid back and will likely employ you even if you have no qualifications, provided they like your attitude. The pay reflects the lack of qualifications, and you will probably only be offered $3-$5 an hour.
As mentioned, there is a more formal element to International schools, and English teachers in Ecuador will find that pupils here tend to be more engaged and eager to learn. If you have a degree, TEFL and experience, you will find that getting an interview will be fairly straightforward, and they will reward you with a higher pay grade of $5-$7 an hour.
Working in a public school could be seen as the biggest challenge when it comes to teaching English in Ecuador. Kids don’t always want to learn English, but there are compulsory lessons that they must attend. However, for some English teachers in Ecuador, the challenge of reengaging these children with learning is more rewarding than the salary, which is fairly low at $3 to $5 an hour.
There is an increasing realisation amongst local people of the value of English, so there will always be work on offer for private tutors. From adults to children, many English teachers in Ecuador can top up their income by offering private lessons. You can teach these at their homes, invite them to your home or even teach English on the internet. There are plenty of stories of how English teachers in Ecuador made this work for them, and again you do not need to have qualifications, but you really do need to have a good level of skill and be a native English speaker to teach people.
Finding a job
There are many places you can look for work as an English teacher in Ecuador, so you should research the places first and see which appeals to you most as a base. The less travelling you have to do the better, so you want to find accommodation in the same place as your work. Many positions are available in the larger cities of Cuenca, Quito and Guayaquil, so these are good places to start. Quito is the capital city and is an excellent place if you enjoy architecture and history. There is work available in the smaller towns, but it can be harder to find a reputable employer and secure a good wage if you take that approach to find a job teaching English in Ecuador.
Most jobs are advertised and filled during the months of February and March and then again in July and August. You can generally see positions needing filling using the internet and do not always need to be in the country to apply. You could also look into qualifying for your TEFL with a company that will help place you after you finish the course. Looking in person is never a bad way to proceed, so you could head there as a tourist and find work while you are there that enables you to stay longer. This does mean you can interview in person, which potentially means you give a better impression than someone seeking work remotely.
Ecuador is still a reasonably patriarchal country, and machismo is part of the culture. You are expected to dress with respect and ensure you are not displaying too much skin. Women are seen as being of less importance than men.
Integrating into the community should be fairly straightforward, though, as people tend to be warm and friendly and maybe a little intrigued by newcomers seeking them out. If you don’t mind a little nosiness, you will soon find people want to spend time talking to you. Generally, if you are a private tutor, your students want to learn, so engaging them should be really easy. Sometimes students in schools and colleges are unmotivated and not really that interested in learning English, so they will be your biggest challenge. This is especially true if their parents are putting a lot of pressure on them to learn. However, if you can earn their respect, you will find they respond by trusting you and putting in the effort to learn.
The dress code should always be pretty conservative, but different schools may have different rules. Some places will expect you to be business smart, mainly if you teach English in Ecuador at the university level. Others may accept a more casual look, so the easiest way is to arrive smartly dressed for your first day and then take your cue from the other staff when you see what they wear to school.
Greeting people in Ecuador is normally done by shaking hands, regardless of gender. You will find there are many little customs that you notice, and the best way to fit in is to emulate them and respect the fact that you are in another country.
You may initially be shocked by the amount of money offered to English teachers in Ecuador, but you have to remember that while it seems low, this is totally in balance with the very low cost of living. Generally, the employer will not provide any housing, but you will probably be able to find another teacher in a similar position to house share with. This will bring your living costs down to an easily affordable level. If push comes to shove, you can even use a hostel which comes with an evening meal and cover the cost with just a few hours of private teaching. Ecuador is an exciting place to live, but you have to remember that the crime rates can be a little higher than in some locations, so take care to protect yourself; pickpocketing is one of the most likely crimes, so only take your possessions out if it is needed.
The cost of living figures are taken from numbeo.com, which is the world’s largest cost of living comparison website and has the most up-to-date figures.
- Accommodation: £407–£549/$526–$710
- Utilities: £40/$51
- Cost of a typical visit to a GP: £29/$27
- Monthly transport pass: £19/$25
- Basic dinner out for two: £14/$19
- Cappuccino in ex-pat area: £2.57/$3.32
- A beer in a pub: £1.51/$1.95
- 1 litre of milk: £0.76/$0.99
TEFL jobs in Ecuador: KEY POINTS
€700 - €1,000
BA degree preferred
MAIN JOB TYPES
Private schools, public schools, private tutoring, volunteering projects
TEFL CERTIFICATION NEEDED
120 hour TEFL Training
- Popular locations for TEFL jobs: Quito, Cuenca,Guayaquil, Quevedo
- The average salary for EFL teachers: The basic monthly salary for full-time positions is likely to be $500–$800 (£385–£620) per month, up to $1,200 (£930) for more sought-after roles. $3–$8 (£2–£6) per hour.
- TEFL qualification requirements: A 120-hour TEFL qualification is beneficial for most positions but not always required
- Prerequisite university degree: Most positions prefer a BA degree, but it’s not always necessary
- Term times: The school year starts in September
- Currency: USD ($)
- Language: Spanish
- Teaching programmes: Public Schools, Private Language Schools, International Schools, Universities, Freelance, Volunteer
- Age restrictions: None
- Previous teaching experience: Useful, but not always required
In many cases, English teachers in Ecuador can find work even when they do not have a degree, especially if they have their TEFL qualification. You will also find that previous evidence of teaching experience will help even if your education is not that great. The best jobs, as with most countries, will require high levels of qualification, and therefore, they get the best pay. At the university level, you do need to have a master’s degree. The higher the standard of work, the better chance of having children who are there because they want to learn, which makes life easier as an English teacher in Ecuador. However, for some teachers, the challenge is turning around the opinions of unmotivated children and helping them enjoy their studies again, so it really depends on the type of teaching that appeals to you most. There is not much chance of teaching adults English in Ecuador, so you need to be happy teaching children.
Facts about Ecuador
TEFL JOB DEMAND
OUR ECUADOR TEFL RATING
TEFL jobs in Ecuador: FAQS
How do I become an English teacher in South America?
If you are hoping to teach English in Ecuador, you should have a good look at the general area and do some research to decide where to base yourself. The hiring season is fixed, so if you are not organised and miss it, you will have to wait for the next one. It is pretty easy to get work even if you do not have lots of experience or qualifications, but to get good money, you need to have a degree.
How much can you make teaching English in South America?
The amount you are paid depends on the area you are looking to work in, Ecuador is one of the lower-paid regions, but the cost of living is so low. In Argentina, you could expect to make between $600-$1,200 per month, but bills will be higher, while in Bolivia, you might make $400-$600 per month.
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