If I could give one piece of advice about teaching in Quito, it would be 'prepare to be unprepared'. From my own experience, I can tell you that even if the establishment that you are teaching in does have a timetable, it is very unlikely that that they will stick to it, so every day will be different, and of course challenging.
However, with challenges come rewards. Ecuador is really beginning to push for the English language to be taught in all schools, universities and businesses, and people are genuinely excited and enthusiastic to learn it.
In general, Ecuador has few opportunities for ESL teachers to find paying positions. However, if you're looking for a paying position, then Quito is the best place to look. You could find jobs in:
- International schools
- Private language centers
- Government run (public) schools
- Private schools
However, if you're willing to work as a volunteer, you'll find that there are more opportunities for volunteer than paid work both in and outside of Quito.
It's important to express your enthusiasm in your CV and state which age group you would prefer to teach. Many of the teachers that I stayed with last year did have teaching experience, such as teaching abroad or tutoring. However, many establishments are keen to hire people with volunteering experience as it highlights their commitment and desire to work.
When and Where to Apply for Jobs
There is such a great need for English teachers that employers will generally take you on at any time in the year. This does make it harder for the students however, so it is advisable to head out in August so you can be ready for the start of term in September. The school year lasts for about 10 months, so don't expect much of a summer break! Furthermore, as schools do not receive much funding from the government, there are more positions for volunteers than there are for paying jobs.
If it is paid work that you are seeking, you will find the majority of the positions in Quito as there are more private schools that require native speakers. In terms of salary, you’ll find that your wage will differ greatly depending on where you work.
English international schools will pay up to $1500 per month, but these are positions are rare and you would need to be well qualified for them. However, universities will pay around $1000 for English teachers.
If you would prefer to work in a school, the salary will differ greatly based on the type school you are employed by. Private schools will generally offer $700 and upwards, whereas the salary at government run schools sits at around $400, with the minimum wage being $300.
Classroom and Work Culture
It is essential to bring your own materials for your classes as not all schools are able to provide English text books. Likewise, it really is important to have planned your lessons well in advance. You never know what class you will be teaching and when, so you also need to be prepared to be flexible.
I set homework and tests for my classes, but do consult with the principal beforehand if it is something that that you intend on doing. You won't always be able to plan for all of your classes as there is a high chance you will be asked to cover for other classes- this is principally due to the shortage of teachers in the area.
Another key point about the education system is that school starts and finishes early. All of the schools in my area had started at around 7 and finished around 1. If your school runs similarly, it will leave you plenty of time to explore to the local customs in the afternoon.
Quito offers beautiful parks, markets, museums, and tourist attractions, as well as an incredible shopping centre and a cinema complex. You will also find fantastic restaurants, night clubs and bars.
Speaking Spanish is an absolute necessity. You won't be able to just speak English and hope that your students will pick it up. You need to be able to explain the vocabulary and grammar to them in Spanish in order to help them understand the vocabulary and grammar in English.
Many companies will advertise teaching jobs where both qualifications and language skills are not necessary and this is the case for the majority of jobs in Quito. While you do not need teaching qualifications to teach English, you do need to be patient, have a good understanding of the English language, and be confident.
You’ll have plenty of options when it comes to finding a living space. Quito has a large number of hostels which will work perfectly if you’re planning a short stay. Otherwise, I would recommend staying with a host family, as they can really help you to engage with the culture. Of course you can easily find a flat in the city if you would prefer.
Renting a one bedroom apartment in the city centre of Quito costs around $437, but a one bedroom outside of the city centre will cost a more affordable $275. Host families in Quito are slightly more expensive, but the cost includes bills, and most families will also provide all of your meals.
Regardless, eating out is extremely cheap in Quito. You can get a full meal for $3; in fact it’s cheaper to eat out than it is to buy groceries. Numbeo offers a more in depth overview of the prices in Quito.