Monday, September 29, 2008

Teach English and Learn Spanish: An Interesting and Profitable Combination

Teach English and Learn Spanish

When a reader recently wrote in to ask,

“I am interested in teaching English (as a foreign language) in a Spanish-speaking country (mainly because I desire to reach some fluency in the language)."

I was, needless to say, intrigued since I myself teach in the Spanish-speaking country of Colombia. The correspondence finished up with,

“Is there any country that you would recommend as being the best place to learn Spanish?”

That was it, I was hooked.

Here’s some of what my response contained plus some added tidbits.

As for locations where the L1 (first language) is Spanish: The two best for newly-minted EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teachers are Mexico and Ecuador, in my opinion. Briefly, here’s why:


Mexico has a straightforward, although not always quick infrastructure set up for ex-pat English language teachers. The money isn't too bad either in many locations. Getting to and from the USA is normally quick, easy and inexpensive. The FM-3 working visa that long-term teachers will need isn’t too big of a hassle to acquire, and while not actually cheap, it’s affordable. You can easily recover your investment working only for a short time. Many schools will even pay it for you on a one-year minimum contract. Otherwise schools at least help you with getting the work visa, even if you must “front” the money for it yourself.

There are an abundance of Spanish-for-foreigner schools in the larger cities like Mexico, D.F., Guadalajara and Monterrey, among others. ELT (English language teaching) jobs are relatively plentiful and the regional Spanish is a widely-understood, comprehensible variety.


Ecuador is also foreigner-friendly to a point. There are truckloads of Spanish-for-foreigner schools in Quito and other major cities. They use the dollar, which will stretch your savings to greater distances and the country is quite "Americanized" enough that you won't feel like an idiot from day one because you can't read anything or don't recognize anything around you. In a pinch, English speakers aren’t difficult to find in the more upbeat sectors of Quito or Guayaquil, either. There are so many Spanish-for-foreigner schools in Quito, it’s almost silly. At my last count more than 125 had their doors open for business. Other cities like Guayaquil and Cuenca have their offerings too. Jobs are reasonably easy to come by, especially if you’re prepared by a CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) or a well-taught TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course beforehand.

If you need more information you can check out my article series on English language teaching, and teaching English in Mexico posted at I sincerely hope this offers you some guidance. Best wishes for a great career in a location that’s interesting for you.

… and good luck, you’re going to need it.

Prof. Larry M. Lynch is an EFL Teacher Trainer, Intellectual Development Specialist, prolific writer, author and public speaker. He has written ESP, foreign language learning, English language teaching texts and hundreds of articles used in more than 100 countries. Get your FREE E-book, "If you Want to Teach English Abroad, Here's What You Need to Know" by requesting the title at: Need a blogger or copywriter to promote your school, institution, service or business or an experienced writer and vibrant SEO content for your website, blog or newsletter? Then E-mail me for further information.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Larry.
It’s a great pleasure to visit your blog and read such interesting articles that help us, teachers, know more about the English teaching industry.

Here in Bolivia, the area of English language teaching is growing at a very slow pace but is growing due to the need people have on learning English.

My name is Jonny Algarañaz. I am a 32 year-old non-native English speaking teacher here in my town of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, the largest city in Bolivia.

Let me tell you that I really enjoy your blog as well as your videos. They help me a lot with my English as well as to keep it up dated.
ESL/EFL web sites, videos and blogs are my only tools for improving both my English and my teaching skills since here in my town it’s difficult to find someone whom to practice your spoken English with or discuss teaching issues.
I hope you keep on teaching more lessons and posting more articles and videos. You are doing a fantastic job.
I wonder if I can suggest topics for future videos or lessons. Take care!