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Teaching in the Cayman Islands

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by monodust, Dec 25, 2011.

  1. I am looking at the recent posts for teaching in the Cayman Islands. The money doesn't seem to be too bad, but I am a single guy and wondering whether it would be possible to survive alone out there on one persons salary.

    Also, if anybody can help me out with more details on what working in the state schools are like out there I would appreciate it. I am currently working in an innner city state school in the UK so am familiar with some challenges that are put towards me, but perhaps not others.

    Finally, what is it like to live out there? Like I said I am a single guy so will be wanting a bit of a social life.

    Any feedback would be muchly appreciated!
     
  2. 576

    576 Established commenter


    Have you done a search on here? - there is a very long thread on cayman state schools.
    The salary is fine to live on.
    There's plenty to do on the island social life wise - esp if you're into watersports.
    Challenges of teaching - partly depends on the subject but the students are bigotted Christians which can be a big challenge - but it all depends on what you are trying to teach them.
    Also - all depends on the school.
    Are you secondary or primary?
    There are 3 secondary schools - one is on Cayman Brac where you will have a lot less in the way of things to do in free time.
    Of the 2 on Grand Cayman - one is better than the other when it comes to behaviour.
    Downsides to teaching here -
    - The govt - I was denied my end of contract flight last year as part of a cost-cutting exercise!
    - October & February half terms are Wed, Thurs, Fri - so not really long enough to go anywhere or have a proper break.
    - No nice work-life balance agreement here - expect to do 1 or 2 covers nearly every week (and about 50% of the time there's no cover work left) and nearly all the other stuff the agreement in the UK lifted away from teachers.
    Upsides
    - I send home £1000 most months so am decimating my mortgage back home
    - handy for travel in the Americas
    - Nice weather - when it isn't rainy season (May to November)
    - Some lovely kids
    - There are lots of exciting things to do that you can't do in the UK - go down in a submarine, swim with dolphins or stingrays, learn to scuba or paddle board.
     
  3. Thank you for getting back to me. Well, it sounds quite positive. I am secondary MFL and am just looking for a lifestyle change. Behaviour is schools is not something I am particularly worried about, more the style of teaching and what is expected of you.

    Short half terms do not worry me too much, but the thought of excessive cover! Jeez.

    I might be able to stomach it though for a while. Especially if the social life is worth the while.

    Is accomodation easy to find and relatively affordable?
     
  4. 576

    576 Established commenter

    MFL - Or rather as it is here - Spanish!

    Accomodation is easy to find - you'll pay about 1/4-1/3 of your pay on rent. Less if you're happy to share.
    Good Luck
     
  5. I have just come back from 2 years on Cayman Brac and loved every minute of it!

    The money sounds great, especially when you aren't paying any tax on it, but the cost of living IS extremely high. Having said that, we survived quite happily as a family of 3, supplemented only slightly by my husband's income, on the Brac where the cost of living is even higher.

    In my experience, the kids can be quite a handful but are fantastically loving with great personalities. My workload was never nearly as much as in the UK previously, though I am in primary. We only left because of the recent changes to the flight allowances (now only home at the end of your final contract) and because I was offered a position in Spain, where my family can afford to visit frequently.

    My advice is to go for it. I wouldn't change my Caribbean experience for the world and am seriously thinking of going back again some day. Good luck!
     
  6. hey guys,

    I too am looking into teaching in the cayman islands. How competitive is it? I would be coming with my other half(who I would marry before so he is allowed to stay) but would he need to get a job straight away for us to be able to afford to live there? Is there likely to be a lot of positions with them not specifying subjects or are we all competing for 2 or 3 roles? anyone with insight into how it works greatly appreciated

    Thanks
     
  7. 576

    576 Established commenter

    I suspect that they're not specifying subjects as it's cheaper to just place one ad for secondary - than to place different ones for each subject (though that's what they did when I applied)
    A couple can live on one teacher's wage here - provided you don't have expensive tastes (lots of drinking, eating out etc) though expensive tastes here includes Walkers crisps, Britsh (as opposed to American style) bacon, squash (basically all those little tastes of home that are imported)

     
  8. Don't know about specifying subjects either, sorry. Just a word of warning there about taking your partner/spouse though. Unemployment is very high there and all jobs need to be advertised to Caymanians first - that is the law. There are definitely jobs around, but probably not the fulfilling kind. My husband went from a professional position to working in an off licence. Having said that, he loved only working 3 days a week and then spending the rest of the time scuba diving. It all depends on what type of experience you are looking for.
     
  9. Thanks for the info. My other half would love working part time and doing activities, as he keeps telling me! The government seem to be offering a pretty good deal which makes me think it'll be very popular worldwide. Is the crime as bad as some people are making out? I'm from a big city and have worked in the 'most deprived' school in that city so I'm expecting behaviour etc to be very similar to this. And as for British comforts such as squash- these are essential haha! We want a better quality of life, not scrimping and saving like we are in the uk.
     
  10. 576

    576 Established commenter

    Regarding crime this is the safest of all the caribbean countries - there is crime - but a lot of it (like anywhere) happens to people who are messing with the wrong crowd/ stuff (ie gangs and drugs)
    I don't feel less safe here than I do in the UK but obviously the usual rules apply regarding personal safety. (eg as a female I don't go running in the dark - much as I'd like to as it's cooler somewhat then)
    Regarding money it is difficult to say as everyone is different.
    I was always a saver in the UK, don't really believe in credit and lived what I consider a comfortable life (some years I went on holiday at Oct, Easter & Summer)
    Here I manage to save (or rather send home) a substantial amount and live a comfortable life.
    But................... just as I had a colleague in the UK who was always overdrawn - even on payday - I know of at least one colleague here who doesn't save anything and apart from to the local boozer I'm not sure where their money goes!
    Regarding behaviour - I think that really would depend on which of the 3 secondaries you were in, and if you lived on Cayman Brac you may find the social life more lacking.
    You mention worldwide!
    Most teachers here are either Caribbean (Jamaica, Barbados & Trinidad mainly) or UK (though there is the odd american and canadian) because it's a loosely based UK school system which does GCSEs and CXCs (caribbean school leaving qualifications) so I don't think there'd be much competition from those who don't have experience of either UK or Caribbean education (in fact the 2 Canadians I've known work here were both teaching in the UK when they applied and got their positions)
     

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