An unincorporated territory of the United States, with Spanish, African, and Caribbean influences, Puerto Rico celebrates its multicultural practices and identities. Spanish and English are both the official languages, but English is not commonly used or spoken. Thus, English teachers are in need, as more focus is granted to Spanish language programs.
Additionally, competition for teaching jobs is high on Puerto Rico, given its ideal, tropical climate and relaxing vibes. See the island for yourself as you provide valuable language skills to young and old students looking to improve their English!
Private, international schools in Puerto Rico either follow a bilingual or American curriculum. Equal amounts of emphasis is placed on Spanish language training as on English language instruction. Schools, such as the Caribbean School, seek teachers in all subjects, not just for English language courses.
Public schools, free for residents for K-12, teach entirely in Spanish. However, English is a compulsory subject and schools are slowly becoming bilingual. Recent government initiatives, fueled by the Department of Education, aim to turn around and make English the primary language of instruction. Thus, ESL teachers are needed during this massive reconstruction of the education system into a bilingual curriculum.
A number of Puerto Rican universities, like the University of Puerto Rico, seek instructors for a plethora of subjects, including engineering or economics. Applicants must have professional experience and relevant degrees of study.
When and Where to Look for Jobs:
San Juan is the country’s capital, and the location of most international schools. Ponce, in the south, is the second largest city, as well as the location of many hiring schools (primarily public schools).
The job market for teachers is quite competitive in Puerto Rico. Americans and Canadians are preferred. In addition, teachers must hold a bachelor’s degree and TEFL/TESOL certification.
Salary & Cost of Living:
The cost of living is moderate in Puerto Rico; you will likely break even. Local food and transportation are low in cost, but rent and imported goods/groceries are relatively expensive.
As a teacher, you will make between $1000-2000 per month, which is enough to live in Puerto Rico. However, you will likely break even. The US dollar is the currency in Puerto Rico, so transactions will be done with the dollar’s strength in mind.
Classroom & Work Culture:
It is incredibly helpful to have some knowledge of Spanish while in Puerto Rico (or to learn a bit before). While students are friendly, it would be easier to instruct with some basic Spanish language skills under your belt.
It is best to avoid the subject of political relations between Puerto Rico and the U.S. Debates often get very heated and it may be uncertain what stance an individual has on Puerto Rico-U.S. relations.