Belize, a former British colony, is the only Central American country whose official language is English. Though, it may seem easy to transition into the country, and many travelers fear that they will not get the traditional go-abroad experience in Belize. However, this notion is incorrect as Belize is diverse in not only its cultures but also its languages (as over 30% of the population speak Spanish).
Belize is actually an ideal teach abroad destination. With so many of the students already able to speak the language, you won't have to deal with the traditional language barriers that face many ESL teachers. This means you'll be able to hit the ground running and make a serious impact!
Choosing the type of teaching job to take in Belize is an important decision. In the end, it usually will boil down to teaching in a public or private school. While there are advantages to each one, it is also important to understand each of their limitations. This will ensure that you pick the type of job most suitable for you!
The government of Belize spends heavily on education, with over 25% of its GDP going towards funding its schools. In addition, the country recently received over 2 billion dollars from the Caribbean Development Bank to fund education reforms. This all translates into lots of public schools that need teachers (however it does not always translate into a great salary).
Belize has a number of private schools that are actively searching for teachers. Schools like the Peninsula International Academy and the Island Academy have job openings that are just waiting to be filled. In addition, the pay for private schools/academies is generally better than public schools, and extra money is always nice! This being said, your hours may be long and tiresome.
Finding a Job
When and Where to Look for Jobs:
It is advisable to start looking for jobs during the summer, as classes will usually start around September. For many of the private schools, there are job listings online. For public schools, you will likely only be able to find them once you arrive in Belize. Either way, you have the opportunity to teach anywhere you want in Belize!
The most basic requirement for teaching in Belize is a Bachelor's degree. In addition to that, you will have to get a teaching license from the Belizean government. You will also be asked to get a work permit from the government.
Salary & Cost of Living:
While salary for most teaching jobs will not be large in sum (around 1400-2200 USD a month), it is still be enough to live off of in Belize. The costs of living are extremely low, usually topping off of at around $1800, so one will definitely be able to get by on their meager teacher salary in Belize.
Classroom & Work Culture:
The influence of Catholic schools has a strong foothold on practically all the schools in the country (in fact, it may not be unusual to see kids wearing uniforms). For that reason, classroom culture may be on the stricter side but it will ultimately be up to you to dictate the environment.
Contributed by Raj Patel
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