If you’ve been looking for a way to teach English in South America while making a positive change in the world, our Teach English in Colombia Fellowship Program is for you. It’s FREE for you and the benefits (including a monthly stipend!) are as unreal as the lush and beautiful landscapes you could be living in.
We’re affiliated with some amazing organizations (the government-run Ministry of Education, for starters) to offer this unique opportunity to teach English to underprivileged youth in Colombia. The hope is that in doing so we can help strengthen ties across our borders.
We’re seeking qualified, motivated and passionate individuals who want to share their knowledge of English and their cultural differences (in a completely supported environment) with students who are eager to learn and to teach you a few things as well.
With our Teach English in Colombia Fellowship, YOU can make a positive change and be rewarded for it, in more ways than one.
- Higher Education degree
- Native English Speaker or C1 level of English (we can test you!)
- 21-55 years of age
- Clean criminal record
- A TEFL/TESOL certification or teaching experience
- Experience of having traveled or lived in another country
- Basic Spanish
Now hiring for:
Orientation June 22, Teaching July – December, 2017
HOW TO APPLY:
Email the following to info [at] teachenglishesl.com
- Resume/Curriculum Vítae
- Copy of bachelor’s degree (BA, MA, etc), or transcripts if you’re still in school
- Letter of Recommendation (professional/academic)
- Copy of your passport information page
- English Certificate (if non-native speaker)
Once the above documents are received, we’ll schedule an interview with your advisor. Then you’ll have a second interview with a current teacher in Colombia (a good chance to ask the personal questions about living/working in a foreign country!).
Assuming you’re accepted into the program, there is a $400 refundable deposit. This ensures your intentions are genuine, and it will be fully refunded after you complete your contract.
Two weeks before the orientation, we will need proof of the following:
- International medical insurance that covers the entirety of the program
- Clean criminal background check
- Flight arrival information (carrier, flight # and date/time)
A person who has a level of competence in skills of advanced English proficiency can have income of more than 30% additional to a person who is not fluent in English.”
~Coleman, H. (2010) The English Language in Development, a paper commissioned by the British Council.
We work with public institutions in over 50 cities/towns throughout the country, and while we do not guarantee placement requests, we try our best to grant them on a first come-first serve basis (apply early!). When selecting qualified candidates, we look for those who are open and willing to serve anywhere they’re needed, since this program is primarily about the ESL students you’ll be teaching. That said, we’ll do our best to accommodate you.
Your responsibilities include:
- Co-teaching English alongside a Colombian teacher
- 20 classroom hours each week
- 3 hours each week of teaching English to Colombian teachers
- 2 hours each week of cultural activities
- 15 weekly hours of prep (lesson planning and preparation)
Here’s a map of the recent places where our English teachers are working:
We are partnered with Heart for Change, a Colombian Volunteer Program that recruits for two government organizations in Colombia, the Ministry of Education (MEN) and the National Training Service (SENA).
Ministerio de Educación Nacional (MEN) (High Schoolers)
Learning English is not an opportunity most public high school schools students have had in Colombia until very recently. TheMinistry of Education chooses high schools for this program because of the impact that learning English will have on their students. The schools working with the program are in disadvantaged areas and have a great need for English education. These positions will be in public schools throughout Colombia, and you will be teaching 10th and 11th graders, so around ages 16-18.
El Servicio Nacional de Aprendizaje (SENA) (Adults, College Aged)
The National Training Service, SENA, is the Colombian government agency responsible for investing in the social and technical development of Colombian workers. SENA is also sometimes known as ‘the university for all’ in Colombia. There’s no cost to the students and the classes are meant to provide additional assistance to those who cannot afford it. The students go through programs that prepare them with real-life skills in a vocation, like welding, tourism, farming, aviation, and more. Graduates are almost always guaranteed a job because of the intense and reputable training provided through these programs. SENA is the second largest institution in Colombia, second only to the Army, and every Colombian knows what and who SENA is. An important part of these student’s education is learning English to increase their success in the work force that they enter after graduating. In this placement, you will be teaching university-aged students (18-24).
Why do I have to pay a deposit?
We ask for a $400 USD deposit to secure your placement in the program because it shows us your sincerity to becoming a teacher with us. However, the deposit is 100% refundable at the completion of your contract (be it 5 or 10 months)! So the Teach English in Colombia Fellowship is completely free.
Why do I have to co-teach?
English fellows are co teachers for several reasons: 1) We do not want to take jobs away from local Colombian teachers. 2) The partnership means the co-teacher’s English will improve along with his/her students 3) The partnership maintains consistency in the classroom.
Can I have a DUI on my criminal record?
No. Your criminal background check should be completely clean. Since this English Fellowship is dealing with children, we take their safety very seriously.
Will there be other teachers with me?
Yes! There are always at least two teachers in every location, and often there are many more.
Can I live on the provided stipend?
The living stipend is enough to cover housing, food, and basic transportation, but will not necessarily cover discretionary expenses such as weekend travel. Before coming, you should research cost of living in your placement city as well as costs related to travel or other discretionary activities. We also highly recommend doing some research about the Colombian minimum wage and how your living stipend compares.
Will I have an employment contract with the Ministry?
No, you will not have a formal employment contract directly with the Ministry, but instead you will be linked directly with Heart for Change, your in-country partner organization.
Who will I report to in this position?
In your educational institution (EI), your mentor, co-teacher and/or academic coordinator will be responsible for ensuring that your duties are being fulfilled. You will also be in regular contact with a Regional Coordinator of your partner organization.
How will I be evaluated as a teacher?
Your co-teacher will collaborate in classes with you or perform classroom observations as a means to offer constructive criticism on your teaching. Additionally, your partner organization and the Ministry´s bilingual team may make a visit to your classes to offer feedback.
What is a mentor?
A mentor is someone in your EI, typically an English teacher, who is designated to be your source of support within your EI. Your mentor should be able to help you with both the pedagogical and logistical aspects of working in your EI, including lesson planning, classroom management, grading and attendance policies, etc.
What am I responsible for submitting as a teacher?
You will create lesson plans, called guías de aprendizaje, which you will be responsible for turning in to your Regional Coordinator. You are also responsible for submitting your hours in the online system, and grades and attendance for your students. Additional reports may also be requested by your program or EI.
What will my schedule be like?
You should expect to work an average of 40 hours per week. You will be expected to teach 25 hours of direct instruction per week, with 15 hours per week dedicated to planning and additional activities at your EI. While you are not required to do your class planning physically in the EI, we recommend taking advantage of any time between classes and the presence of other English teachers to get your planning done.
What is the dress code?
Business casual; while the EI´s are not an overly formal institution (i.e. suits, formal dresses, high heels, etc. are not necessary), keep in mind that you are a role model for students and should dress the part. Avoid wearing flip flops, low cut shirts/dresses, short shorts, or very informal wear in the EIs.
Many teachers also wear a white coat, or bata, to identify them as teachers. You may want to wear one of these coats over your clothes.
How many students should I expect to be teaching?
Every program has a different standard class size, but generally this ranges between 25-35 students per class. You should expect to teach between 6-8 classes in total with different co-teachers.
What level of English will my students have?
The average English level of EI students is A1 or below. Many of them have never had the opportunity to study English, and have never been exposed to a native speaker. For this reason, your role extends beyond that of an English teacher to also share your culture and motivate your students to learn the language.
That said, some of the students may have a high level of English. Classes are not assigned by English levels, and you might have a class with widely varied levels of English. One of your challenges as a teacher will be to leverage those differences in your classes to create the best learning environment possible.
What kinds of resources will I have available?
The Ministry guarantees that you will have a classroom, chairs, and a whiteboard. Many EIs also have computers or projectors, but your ability to use these things in class depends on the availability of and demands for these resources.
In what kinds of meetings or activities am I expected to participate in my EI?
EIs often have regular staff meetings that they ask fellow teachers to participate in. Attendance at these meetings is highly encouraged, as it will help you to understand your role within the overall strategy of the program. Your insights and involvement will also be highly appreciated by your EI.
Can I take days off?
Ministry does not have classes on Colombian national holidays. Classes may also be cancelled for program-related events, although these days off may be at short notice. Neither Ministry teachers nor participants of this program are allowed additional days off, although your EI may make exceptions on a case-by-case basis. You should not take time off without ensuring that your classes will be covered by another teacher (Ministry English teacher or fellow teacher).
What happens if I get sick?
If you are sick you should let your mentor, co-teacher and/or academic coordinator know immediately, so that they are able to make other arrangements for your classes. You may also be asked to show a note from a doctor; this is a very common practice among Colombian employers.
What do I do about classroom management and discipline?
Your mentor and co-teacher are generally your first sources for resolving any problems that arise in the classroom. They may discuss classroom management strategies with you, observe your class, or meet with your students to talk about their behavior. More serious problems may be referred to a disciplinary committee.
Am I taking the position of a qualified Colombian English teacher?
This program is funded by Ministry´s headquarters, not by the individual EIs. This means that the budget does not come from the EIs, and does not affect their ability to hire Colombian teachers. You are co-teaching with those teachers, not replacing them.
What are the cultural standards around relationships with people at my EI?
Colombians often use more personal forms of communication, such as Whatsapp, to communicate work-related information. You are allowed and even encouraged to take part in social activities outside work with other teachers or staff. Romantic relationships with students are absolutely prohibited.
What behaviors are prohibited in the program?
You may not smoke on campus at Ministry EIs, and you may not visit a Ministry EI while under the influence of alcohol. You must also avoid participating in political movements at Ministry. You may not use illegal drugs at any time while in the program. Finally, romantic relationships with students are absolutely prohibited. Permission must be granted in order to take trips outside of school with students.
What are some of the challenges I may face?
Resources are often limited while teaching English in Colombia, and you will likely find that you have to be creative in order to deal with these limitations.
These challenges are compounded with cultural differences related to the way things are communicated; often changes are last-minute or on-the-fly. This can be very difficult for participants coming from cultures where daily life is more predictable or methodical.