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Honduras offers a variety of geographic regions and cultures. To the North, leisurely beach-life and Garifuna culture flavor the coastal hub Tela and the Caribbean Bay Islands. To the West, the artsy and historic Copan Ruinas provide expansive Mayan texts to rival those of Mexico. In the rolling hills of the once-volcanic Lake Yojoa region, hiking and sailing abound. To the Southwest, cobblestone streets and old colonial buildings grace the peaceful, historic Gracias. To the Northeast, adventurers will find La Moskitia, the largest untamed tropical rainforest in North America, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Most ESL instructors venture abroad to gain personal growth and professional experience in the field. The profession dictates an adventurous spirit. Those who realize this will understand that the question isn't "Why Honduras?" it's "Why not Honduras?"
Safety and local attractions dictate the popularity of location. Due to the level of crime in Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, instructors should avoid employment in these areas, despite advertisements from some TEFL websites offering certification and placement in these cities. Popular areas to teach include La Ceiba, the Bay Islands, the Copan Ruinas, the Lake Yojoa region, and Gracias.
More established schools will post jobs for the following year during the fall of the current one. However, many post from December on, and screening and interviews can begin as early as March. TEFL Job Placement found the peak hiring times to be May-August. Again, the level of organization dictates these hiring periods. It's generally easy to find jobs on-line. Idealist.org and SECUSS-L sometimes offer opportunities as well. That being said, schools highly value English speakers, so Honduran administrators and businessmen have been known to offer jobs to wayward travelers and missionaries on the spot.
The minimum requirements for most jobs include a degree or some college experience. Most schools do not require CELTA/TEFL certification; however preference may be given to those with these qualifications. In a few cases, where a school is more established and in a bigger city, additional qualifications may apply (ex: Christian Educational Community in Siguatepeque).
Job seekers should note that many bilingual schools are Christian. Though some schools do not require their teachers to be Christians themselves, they do search for individuals who are comfortable with Christian values and willing to be good role models to students. In addition, administrators usually ask that their teachers refrain from drinking in public. While Honduran instructors usually teach Bible class, ESL instructors may be asked to substitute in the local's absence. While religion is not necessarily a qualification, it may be something to consider.
The average monthly salary ranges from $250-350. Instructors can reasonably charge private hourly rate of $10-15, but this is negotiable and the tutee's financial circumstances should be acknowledged. Private Christian bilingual schools typically offer housing, and some even provide reimbursement for airfare. In some cases where housing is either optional or not included, schools will help you find housing, including host family possibilities (ex: Abundant Life Schools and Christian Educational Community). Average monthly rent ranges from $100-250, with prices varying on either end depending on city size. According to TEFL Job Placement, the average cost of living is $100-300. However, if the school does not provide housing and utilities, cost of living is closer to $350-550.
Relocating to a different country can be scary and stressful but in the end, it will likely be an immensely rewarding experience. This country, despite the occasional bad publicity, is a welcoming and culturally vibrant place. Not only will you have a positive impact on the country and the people, but they will change you as well.
Kate is an international recruiter for Lake Yojoa Bilingual School in Honduras and an intern for Melibee Global. In the past she has worked in international education and student services in the U.S. and Honduras. Follow Kate @WanderingSinger, Linkedin, and at Wandering Singer.
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