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 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 governmental organizations 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.
“Having job applications accepted in various destinations, I had to choose which teaching job to plunge into. I chose Teach English ESL. The application and placement processes were transparent throughout. I had full control over personal decisions and brought my choices to a predictable outcome. In less than a month’s time, I’m in Central Colombia. Ms. Hill was amazing.”
~Benjamin Jamorabo, Colombia Program (Canada)
- Higher Education degree (bachelor’s or higher)
- Native English Speaker or C1 level of English
- One year of teaching experience OR a TEFL certification
- 21-55 years of age
- Clean criminal record
- Experience of having traveled or lived in another country
- Basic Spanish
Now hiring for various programs around Colombia:
- February – June, 2018
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
- Copy of TEFL certification (if applicable)
- Letter of Recommendation (professional/academic)
- Copy of your passport information page
- English Certificate proving C1 level (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 our partners 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 recruit for a variety of government-sponsored programs via Heart for Change and Volunteers Colombia, including the Ministry of Education (MEN), The National Training Institute (SENA), The Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism (MinCIT) and The Secretary of Education Office. Together, these programs have placements in cities and smaller towns around the country.
Your responsibilities may 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:
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 Program 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 government?
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 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 25-30 hours of direct instruction per week, with 10-20 hours per week dedicated to planning and additional activities. 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?
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?
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.
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 the Colombian government, 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, and you may not visit the workplace while under the influence of alcohol. You must also avoid participating in political movements. 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.