Sunday 1 December 2013

Interview from TESOL Zone

I was interviewed by Mark from TESOL Zone. The article can be found at TESOL Zone or you can read the copy below.

Teaching English in Peru
For English teachers interested in teaching English in Peru here is an interview with Sharon de Hinojosa. Sharon has taught English for many years in Peru and Korea. Her websites: TEFL Tips and LA Job List both contain a lot of useful information for anyone who wishes to teach English in Peru - and on teaching English in Latin America generally. Their FAQ section is particularly helpful. Finally Sharon's Ultimate Peru List is a guide for people who wish to live in Peru.

Peru is an interesting country for many reasons. It has a large mix of cultures, which can be seen in Peru's food, literature and music. It has a long coastline, jungles and the Andes. Many aspects to explore. Here is the interview.

An Interview on Teaching English in Peru with Sharon de Hinojosa

What is the job market like for teaching jobs in Peru at the moment?
It's picking up. Most institutes pay between $6 and $10 an hour. Expect to work split shifts and you may have to travel to off site courses. Also, the majority of institutes are not going to get you a visa, housing, or a flight. There are three institutes that I know of that offer visas: English Life, Britanico, and Langrow.

What's the best way to find a job teaching English in Peru?
Come and knock on doors. Meeting people face-to-face is very important in Peruvian culture. Many teachers simply email their CVs to institutes. This rarely works. Employers want you to be in Peru and have a face-to-face interview.

How important are qualifications and experience for finding teaching work in Peru?
I'd say that the two most important things for getting a teaching job in Peru is being a native speaker and a good teacher. Qualifications and experience help and the more prestigious institutes will want those, but there are still plenty of jobs out there for newbies. If you're not a native speaker, then you should be near native and have exams, such as the CAE or CPE to back that up. In order for you to be a good teacher you will have to be flexible, willing to work odd hours, and come prepared to class.

What are the main TEFL locations in Peru?
Lima, Trujillo, Arequipa, Cusco, and Piura.

How much does the average teacher earn? Is it possible to save any money?
Don't come to Peru if you're concerned about money. The average teacher can probably expect to earn around $600 a month. If you work at a couple institutes and teach private lessons, you can make more, maybe up to $1000. It's hard to save money, go to Korea or the Middle East for that. However, you can live well. You can eat out all the time, have a maid, and a decent apartment.

Is the market mostly for children or adults? What are the students like to teach?
In institutes, the market is mainly for high school and university students and businesspeople. Peruvians are very laid back and casual so teaching's not that stressful.

What are the best things about living in Peru?
It's exotic and not a common destination for TEFL teachers.

What are the challenges of living in the country?
Traffic is a nightmare. And if you're a woman, then you have to deal with very annoying machista men. Because Peru is a third world country, you will have to deal with typical third world problems such as disorganisation, a problematic government, thieves, and lots of litter.

How important is it to learn Spanish? Are there many opportunities for learning the language?
It always helps to learn the language of the country you're living in. That being said, you can get around without it. There are opportunities if you create them. You can study at an institute, set up a conversation exchange (intercambio), study on your own, or hire a teacher. If you want to learn, you will.

Additional Notes on Teaching English in Peru
As Sharon has rightly said, most jobs are to be found by being in Peru and approaching schools directly. However, it is still a good idea to try all options. There are sometimes jobs advertised online [see Dave's ESL Cafe and]. It's worth trying the online Peruvian newspapers. El Commercio on Sunday has a jobs section. Lists of schools can be found in the paginas amarillas for Peru. You can also visit Sharon's LA Job List for a list of schools.

Taking a TEFL certificate in Peru could be a good way of making contacts and finding teaching jobs there, as well as helping you learn new methods of teaching English.


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