Teaching English in Guatemala

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How to Begin Teaching in Guatemala

Guatemala is a small country situated in Central America, bordering Mexico, Honduras, Belize and El Salvador.

Guatemala is a small country situated in Central America, bordering Mexico, Honduras, Belize and El Salvador. A mixture of beautiful scenery and ancient history, it has a cultural heritage that is a blend of Spanish and native Mayan influences. Add to that a mild climate and its location as a gateway between Mexico and Central America, and you have a recipe for a relaxed but vibrant tourist destination.

Guatemala is a country of immense natural beauty which is surprisingly varied for such a small country. You can visit Lake Atitlan, a lake region surrounded by mountains, beautiful villages and volcanoes or the World Heritage Site of Antigua Guatemala. To explore a river cave or take a hike, go to Semuc Champey or spend a few days exploring the ancient Mayan ruins in the jungle of the Tikal National Park. But to top it all off, visit the Rio Dulce – the Sweet River. Here, you hike in the jungle, visit the Hot Springs Waterfalls, do water sports or take a tour through a canyon.

You could definitely say that Guatemala is the land of volcanoes, with more than 30 in total in the whole country. Of these formidable forces of nature, the most notable volcano is Tajumulco. At an amazing 4,202 metres, Tajumulco is the highest point of Central America. There are three active volcanoes, only three are active, those being Fuego, Pacaya and Santiaguito.

A more mysterious side of Guatemalan culture is the fact that some people worship a Saint by the name of Maximón. As the legend goes, when local men would head off to work, Maximón would sleep with all of their wives, as a result Maximóns arms and legs in a fit of anger, this is the reason that most models of him come without arms. Coffee is a very big deal in Guatemala, and hence why it is the country’s biggest export. So big in fact that by 1880 coffee made up 90% of Guatemala’s export. Still to this day, it is one of the most important economic goods in the country. There is a really distinctive flavour to the coffee, usually full-bodied with rich chocolate and cocoa flavours.

 

Teaching Opportunities

Spanish is the official language of Guatemala and there are over 20 indigenous languages. Guatemala is more a destination to learn Spanish than teach English but there are still opportunities available. As the tourism industry is growing, so too is the demand for English teaching and there are opportunities in language schools, English institutes and bilingual public schools. Most teaching opportunities in Guatemala are in Guatemala City (which unfortunately is not very pretty), Antigua and Quetzaltenango.

Salaries have never been high in Guatemala and recently the cost of living has risen dramatically, so don’t expect to save, but you can expect to live a comfortable lifestyle. There are many opportunities for teaching in return for Spanish lessons if you can afford not to have a salary or would like to brush up on your Spanish in your free time.

Teaching Requirements

  • Degree Requirement
    BA/BS required
  • Typical Contract Length
    3 – 12 months
  • Peak Hiring Seasons
    February, July
  • Visa Info
    Work permit
  • Typical Students
    Children, adults
  • Average Monthly Cost of Living in Local Currency
    3,800-5,700 GTQ
  • Average Monthly Salary in Local Currency
    2,600-4,600 GTQ

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