Guyana is the only South American nation to have English as its official language. Even though Guyanese Creole is widely spoken, English is prevalent and continues to gain influence, in music and media particularly, amongst the locals. Though, you might notice some Creole slang or accents mixed into the local English. Whether you are living along the Caribbean coast or in the Guyanese Highlands, there are plenty of opportunities for teachers of all subjects in this dynamic nation!Photo credit: John+Elaine Chesterton
The majority of private international schools, such as Georgetown International Academy, are located in Georgetown, Guyana’s capital city. Most international schools follow a modified American curriculum, with the goal of sending its students overseas for university studies.
The Guyanese Ministry of Education (MoE) locates volunteers to teach in public schools all over Guyana. As opposed to teaching English as a second language, teachers might instruct other subjects, such as mathematics or science, in English. Many volunteers are placed in rural areas, removed from the amenities of globalized, big cities. Though, as a teacher in these small communities, you will have the chance to assimilate in the community.
While not as popular in Guyana as in other worldwide locations, ESL schools, such as the Language Institute, are on the rise. Typically, young and adult students visit these programs after-school or on nights and weekends, as an extracurricular activity.
When and Where to Look for Jobs:
Most private and ESL schools are located in Georgetown, the capital of Guyana. Volunteer programs assign their teachers to locations in rural Guyana, both inland and on the coast. These schools are typically in rural towns or villages. In addition, schools hire year-round.
Teachers must be native speakers and hold a bachelor’s degree. For international schools, applicants must have 2 years of relevant teaching experience. A TEFL/TESOL certification is not needed to apply for the majority of schools and programs.
Salary & Cost of Living:
Private school and ESL teachers receive a modest salary, ranging from $700-1000 per month. Contracts for international school teachers often include accommodation, return airfare, medical insurance, and vacation days. With this salary, teachers in Guyana will be able to save a good portion of their earnings.
As a volunteer, a homestay is often included. Most volunteers will live in rural areas where an assigned stipend of around $200-250 should be more than enough to cover food and basic needs. These towns and villages are all small in size, so teachers can get around by foot or on bicycle.
Classroom & Work Culture:
In remote villages, teachers will find a lack of basic resources, such as chalk or pencil sharpeners. Thus, while working in these conditions, it is necessary to have a bit of imagination and come up with creative solutions during instruction. In addition, from time to time, these communities will sometimes have no running water or electricity; be prepared to live ruggedly, but don’t let this discourage you from enjoying the experience!