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Teaching in El Salvador

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by amynott, Jan 24, 2010.

  1. I have an interview for a teaching job at a British International School in El Salvador. Would appreciate it if anyone has any experience of living and teaching in El Salvador they could share or any advice to offer! Thankyou.
  2. johnnersco

    johnnersco New commenter

    I worked in El Salvador for three years. If you are refering to the alphabet school then it is excellent, with a great Headteacher and professional staff. Many of the expats renew contracts, which is always a good sign.
    The salary is (or at least was) good for Salvador and teachers live very comfortably. Most teachers tended to live in the area close to the school where there were some lovely houses (in gated communities with guards) and a shopping mall closeby.
    San Salvador itself is not much to write home about but the beach is only 20 - 30 minutes drive away and there is beautiful countryside around. There is great opportunity for travel: Guatemala and Honduras are both fantastic places to visit.
    Good luck.
  3. What about life for a family i.e. safety issues/gangs etc.?
  4. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    My family and I were at the same school at the very end of the Civil War (a long time ago now, but we still keep in tenuous touch). The school is as johnnersco says, even more so now as the current well-established Head appears to be something of a star. The students were the most enjoyable I've taught. Some of our students had family members kidnapped and held to ransom. We heard fairly frequent explosions and shots and on occasions met people from both sides of the conflict, including at a quite surreal party at the US Embassy after the Armistice.
    Friends tell me the gang issue has become quite serious, fuelled by unemployment and the fact that ex-military hardware is still plentiful. Living behind high walls and steel gates and subscribing to the local Sociedad de Vigilantes' (armed guards) is part of the way of life in much of Latin America.
    If I were still in the job market I'd joyfully go back to San Salvador tomorrow but I still have some qualms about having taken our children (then 9 and 11) there. It was a rich experience for all of us and the resulting bilingualism looks set to reach the third generation but I suspect that I underestimated (i.e. wanted to underestimate) the risks.
  5. geckopoo

    geckopoo New commenter

    Paranoia over safety issues seems to be more prevalent amongst the parents ? it is common to see an armed guard in the car with the children as they are being dropped off at school, or indeed an armed guard following in the next car. There have been kidnappings in the past, but to my knowledge not recently, but even so, children that live within a couple of minutes walk from the school will be taken to school by car.
    One of the hardest things to adjust to here is the presence of armed guards everywhere.....but you soon accept that as part of life. In the areas that expats live...Santa Tecla (near the school), Santa Helena (where the US embassy is) and Escalon it is perfectly safe. The areas of the city that are dangerous are areas that you would not go to anyway!
    There are plenty of teaching families here with young families, and they all seem to lead full and active lives.
    Before I came here I was really worried......imagining that you would not be able to go anywhere in the car for fear of being robbed, unable to walk along the street for fear of being mugged.....but it?s not like that. I live in a gated community near to the school, and can honestly say that I feel safe ? and other teachers live in houses on open streets and feel the same too. I am careful when I go out ? splitting my money between various pockets, not taking more ID than necessary, but I would be like that anywhere.
    I think the fact that the school has so many long term staff speaks volumes......ABC school is a good school to work at, and El Salvador is a beautiful country to live in (once you're outside of San Salvador).
    If you want any more info please PM me and I will do my best to answer.
  6. Thank you for the detailed comments. I have heard that the school is excellent and, having lived in Mexico City, the situation sounds quite similar i.e. fences, armed guards, kidnappings etc. With common sense though, you learn how to be streetwise, and learn where to go and where not to go etc.

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