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Schools in Central America

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by Twiga, Nov 12, 2011.

  1. Twiga

    Twiga New commenter

    Hi,
    After trawling through the old posts on this forum, I'm drawing a bit of a blank! Does anybody have any suggestions for good schools to work at in the region? I'm particularly interested in Panama however, I would consider anywhere in Central America. I know there is a British school in Panama (named after one of the top UK universities) however, the website is not very informative. Does anyone have any information about this school, or any of the others in the city? I think the other 2 main schools are American/IB - not sure if they recruit Brits?
    I've also heard positive comments about Costa Rica and the alphabet school in El Salvador however, I'm unsure of what it would be like to work there. Is it safe? When I travelled through San Salvador it seemed safe enough (compared to living in Mexico D.F - which I was at the time) but I have since heard otherwise.
    Any thoughts/advice on good schools/countries in the region to consider would be gratefully appreciated!
    Thanks
     
  2. Twiga

    Twiga New commenter

    Hi,
    After trawling through the old posts on this forum, I'm drawing a bit of a blank! Does anybody have any suggestions for good schools to work at in the region? I'm particularly interested in Panama however, I would consider anywhere in Central America. I know there is a British school in Panama (named after one of the top UK universities) however, the website is not very informative. Does anyone have any information about this school, or any of the others in the city? I think the other 2 main schools are American/IB - not sure if they recruit Brits?
    I've also heard positive comments about Costa Rica and the alphabet school in El Salvador however, I'm unsure of what it would be like to work there. Is it safe? When I travelled through San Salvador it seemed safe enough (compared to living in Mexico D.F - which I was at the time) but I have since heard otherwise.
    Any thoughts/advice on good schools/countries in the region to consider would be gratefully appreciated!
    Thanks
     
  3. That region has never appealed to me despite a fervour for Central American revolutionary poetry of the 70s but Santo Domingo does sound attractive.
    Have you any info on the Dominican Republic? Would you Pm me if you have? Thanks.
     
  4. Hi Twiga,
    I've also considered Panama and from what I've found through my research is that Panamanian laws establish that only 10% of a companies work force can be foreign. Hence, there are a limited number of job openings in the international schools there. Also, there are many dual Panamanian/American teachers living there and many Panamanians speak excellent English, so they would get, rightly so, most of the teaching positions.
    Unfortunately I have no knowledge of other Central American countries other than Honduras, where I had friends working- the crime drove them away.
    I've sent you a PM regarding Mexican schools.
     
  5. Twiga

    Twiga New commenter

    Thanks for the replies. It seems to be hard to get up to date information about Central America on the forum. I will think about widening my search to consider PYP/IB schools as well as British Curriculum schools. If anyone has any suggestions......?
    I'm aware that the salaries will be low, but I don't have any commitments at home, so this isn't really a major issue for me.
    If anyone has any info on decent schools and general life (cost of living etc) in San Salvador, San Jose or Panama City in particular, I would be really grateful.
    GulfGolf - is it possible to tell me where you were based? Your point about making local friends as well as friendships with other expats is important. It was easy in Mexico too, but It's very difficult where I'm currently working and I live in an expat bubble. :-(
    Thanks again for any help anyone can give.

     
  6. Twiga

    Twiga New commenter

    Isp22 - if you have specific questions about Mexico, feel free to ask. I'll help you if I can.
     
  7. Be aware that schools outside the bigger cities pay VERY poorly. Think in the region of $500-$1000 per month.
    Yes, it is generally possible to be in the country and pick up jobs, but as you suspect, these languages are not commonly taught in Mexican schools.
    There are possibly a couple of options available to you. 1) Work in a language institute, but the hours and pay are poor. Split shifts and six-day weeks are the norm. 2) French and German immersion schools exist in Mexico but these tend to be located in the bigger cities; not where you are looking to go.
     
  8. lsp22

    lsp22 New commenter

    Thank you for your comments - it does match what I thought so thanks.
    The pay does not worry me too much but it is good to be aware so thank you.

     
  9. I am an English mother trying to/ thinking of setting up a primary school in Belize, so really interested in what you all think of jobs available here? Also we are thinking of setting it up a bit like the Wooffing system, so you work a set amount of time for free board and meels...what do you all think of that? Does it seem like a good idea etc?
    Belize is English (sort of!!?) speaking, but we also think it has to be bilingual as no one here speaks good Spanish and we are surrounded by Spanish speaking countries!
    Anyway if you are at all interested in coming this way, we are here, an need input it how we go about this, what resources we need etc! An English teacher came to us Woofing and got us onto the TES site, but beginner user, so any help / ideas etc would be fab!
    Thanks to any of you that read this!
     
  10. reddevil79

    reddevil79 New commenter

    Well, no-one has replied to the last post, so I?ll jump in with my thoughts.

    Apart from the obvious issues such as start-up capital, premises, legal matters, education licenses, etc., two thoughts come to mind.

    The first is that, in my experience (five years in Central America), the teaching for board and meals is fine, but will probably lead to a high turnover of teachers and appeal more to those seeking an ?adventure? as opposed to professional motives. In my experience, teachers working in the set up you describe don?t stay much more beyond a term. While this might seem OK, speaking as someone who has been responsible for hiring teachers from abroad, the constant search for teachers and the worrying about whether they?ll turn up/leave after a week is quite stressful. In the long-term, I?d say it?d be much more beneficial to the institution to pay teachers a decent living wage (attract better staff, more likely to stay, less staff turnover, less disruption, fewer costs), and Belize isn?t the cheapest place in Central America either.

    Also, security might be an issue for some going to Belize. I?m pretty well travelled and have been in some sticky situations (getting caught up in the military coup in Honduras last year was not fun), but I was taken aback when I arrived in Belize for the first time and by some of the aggression shown towards me; it can be a little uncomfortable. It does have a certain reputation in international circles, and this might be something to consider.

    I have to say though that Belize is a fantastic place, fascinating history, friendly people, and I have a real yearning to go back.
     
  11. reddevil79

    reddevil79 New commenter

    Sorry about the lack of paragraphs, wasn't able to split up text :s
     
  12. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    In fact several of us replied when she posted it on another thread and we all agree with your points about start-up schools.
     
  13. reddevil79

    reddevil79 New commenter

    Thanks Mainwaring, didn't realise that this had been posted elsewhere.
     

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