PGCE essential for well-paid teaching in Mexico and Peru?

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PGCE essential for well-paid teaching in Mexico and Peru?

Post by Sarah10 »

Hi everyone,

I am a TEFL Trinity-certified teacher from the UK, who has taught English Language and Literature for two years at secondary schools in China, and three months or so in Spain. Unfortunately I did not gain any IB experience from these positions. My dream is to be able to teach at secondary level in Latin America, specifically Mexico and Peru, whilst at the same time being able to make a somewhat comfortable income. Enough to be able to travel during holiday season, and perhaps save a tiny bit. From what I have seen, international schools in Mexico/Peru seem more able to provide this than national ones (though please correct me if I'm wrong!). And I have noticed that for a lot of the international schools, there is a requirement for a 'national teaching certificate' i.e. a PGCE, and usually two years of "relevant experience."

I would love to move abroad and begin teaching as soon as possible, but am now realising this might take some time. I don't really know how necessary the PGCE + QTS course is in order to gain a good salary teaching in Mexico and Peru. Is this essential, or am I just not looking in the right places?

Also, from the ambiguous wording of these posts regarding "relevant experience," I don't really know whether I would need to stay and complete two additional years of teaching in the UK on top of the PGCE. Are there schools in Mexico/ Peru that would accept my two pre-qualification years of experience as being valid, or must these be post-qualification?

Equally, how vital is obtaining IB experience prior to any applications to ISs in Mexico/Peru? From reading other posts on this forum, as a general rule of thumb it appears to be essential. If this is the case in the areas I wish to go to also, is there any particular route a teacher in the UK can take in order to gain such experience?

Finally, as I am applying to courses now, it would great to know whether there are certain courses that are in greater need of teachers in international schools in Mexico/Peru. My background of teaching is English, but I have a BA in Modern Languages, and would consider specialising in MFL, Social Sciences, or other Humanities, if these were subjects which schools in Mexico/Peru might particularly need teachers for.

Any and all advice welcomed, - and thank you from a very unaware but just as eager teacher!
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Re: PGCE essential for well-paid teaching in Mexico and Peru?

Post by shadowjack »

Most of your language teachers will be native or near native speakers, with departments being a mix of local and overseas hires.

As to needing the qualification - if you plan on living as an international teacher at international schools, it is essential. I haven't worked at a school where an uncertified teacher is working - which makes sense given that a selling point for schools charing $23,000 plus a year is that all teachers are certified in their home countries.

IB experience is similar - it is best if you have it. How do you get it? You go to a school where they will hire teachers with no IB experience, train them, and then you move on after your contract. Or you take an MYP position at a continuum or world school that offers either MYP and DP or PYP/MYP/DP and work your way in.

Good luck!
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Post by PsyGuy »

ISs in the LCSA (which includes Peru and Mexico) tend to pay better than DSs. This is mainly because there is a first tier of ISs that provides far better comp compared to anything DSs can put forth. If you go low enough in the tiers of ISs than the differences become more and more comparable.

Youre also comparing a unicorn to a bunny. As youd find in most of DE, academic courses in secondary are delivered in the host language (in this case Spanish) by native speakers. There really isnt such a creature outside of IE or academies providing an academic English program.

The requirement is generally two years of post credentialing experience in a K12/KS program. When they site a PGCE, what they really are specifying is an ITT program consisting of a PGCE and QTS. QTS is what really matters but the BSs out there have a definitive preference for the Uni provided PGCE route.

A pro. edu. credential is highly valuable in IE. Theres more room in the LCSA because coin is lower in that region and its harder for ISs to recruit (even upper tier ISs) so you can find employment and not horrible employment in the region without a credential but you will quickly hit a ceiling in the third tier where lack of a credential will be a non-starter. Its also going to be a barrier to you utilizing some of the premium agencies such as SA. They arent interested in ETs.

Its not really ambiguous, 2 years experience means 2 year of post credentialing experience in a K12/KS environment as the TOR.
the re are ISs that may give you some credit for it, maybe one instead of two steps but thats die roll probabilities. There are ISs in the LCSA region that are desperate and will take ETs or even degree holders with whatever experience they cobble together that they can get.

IB experience is valuable. It is often bridges the career path in the second tier for ISs. There are plenty of ISs even a substantial majority that are not IB ISs. You are going to see more IB ISs as you rise in tiers. Many upper tier IB ISs especially classical IBWSs that if you dont have X years of IB experience they wont even talk to you or give you momentary eye contact.

Find an IB IS/DS lower in the tiers that is willing to train and provide you those few years of starting experience and then move on to better IB ISs. Thats the pipeline in IB, start low, work youre way up.

None of the subject areas you mention are particularly valuable. This is my standard write up on the subject; In order starting at the top, and most difficult:

1) Expat School Nurses: Most ISs just hire local, nurses make very good coin in the profession and those in DE are pursuing retirements/pensions, finding one that is dual licensed or able to get dual license, is usually just a stroke of good fortune. Add the requisite language skills and its basically a unicorn.
2) Bilingual Expat Professional Staff: This includes Program officers, such as admissions, finance, marketing, and communications. Most ISs just have to hire locally. This also includes expat ITs in multi language such as literature and language and primary, EC ITs that can do bilingual and immersion (depending on the language and location).
3) Expat Specialized Performing and Fine Arts: At the top of the list in this category are fields like Equestrian Science and Riding. It took one IS in Japan 3 years to hire an IT for their program. These also include specialized ITs I have seen in the past for subjects such as glass blowing, Japanese dance, flower arranging, stained glass, lacquer painting, most of these though are hired on a PTE basis, and often on LH contracts.
4) Health Education Technology: These credentials are difficult to obtain often requiring a nursing license, or other such professional license.
5) Expat Aboriginal or Tribal Foreign Language: These are uncommon languages that professional educator credentials can only be obtained by a small number regulatory authorities, and are taught in only a small number of Uni. This also includes expat ITs in dual language such as literature and language and primary, EC ITs that can do bilingual and immersion (depending on the language and location).
6) Expat Specialized Vocational Education: Fields such as hospitality and tourism management are very hard to identify ITs with actual professional and teaching experience. Many ISs just have to settle for a business studies IT
7) Expat Specialized Industrial Arts: Courses like textiles and metal craft, etc. These courses are difficult to identify ITs with actual professional and teaching experience.
8) Expat Specialized Design Technology/ICT: Courses like A/V and broadcast production are difficult to identify ITs with both the classical training (theater) and the technology skills that can produce things like a television show.
9) Field Science: Its a lot easier to find a classroom physics and chemistry IT then it is an IT who can do full time field science. Most ISs just hire a Biology or ESS IT from the classroom to the field. An IT really has to have a passion and dedication to maintain a living lab 365/24/7 in addition to actual experience organizing and managing such a program. Add specialized environments such as underwater, etc and this type of position can be very difficult to fill.
10) Upper Secondary Maths: Calculus, it really comes down to finding an IT who is comfortable with not only the skill but able to transfer knowledge.

Below is the rest of the list containing the more conventional subjects. I weighted them for both demand and supply to reach a 'difficulty' ranking, with the understanding that these subjects tend to move in cycles. Starting at the top and most difficult:
**Special Education-Specialist
Foreign Language/Trilingual
Foreign Language/Bilingual
ENS-Earth Science
Global Perspectives
General Science
Business Studies
Social Studies
Family Consumer Science/Home Economics
Special Education-Generalist
**** Early Childhood
Political Science

* This assumes a University Counselor who actually knows their stuff and has the connections for all five of the US/UK/EU/CAN/AUS systems. If its just a counselor who can put together recs and knows the system they came from than see counselor below.
** This is for a specialist in SPED/SEN/LD who can wear all the hats, and can work the entire spectrum. If its just a SPED/SEN/LD IT who can do paperwork and some tutoring than see the generalist classification below.
*** I put these so low because they really belong on the Junior Leadership scale. ISs dont really need counselors its just another student management position to inflate the leadership hierarchy. Its for when the AP/VP/DP doesnt want to do the PTA or parents coffee mixer, and senior leadership wants a buffer between them and the faculty and everyone else. Librarian is a curious position because students dont really need libraries anymore, its one thing if the librarian is actually providing instruction in reading or research or technical/academic writing but if they are just watching a room with some meeting areas and some stacks of YA fiction and magazines, you dont need much of a librarian.
**** Anyone can do this who is an adult, provided the job is nothing more than babysitting and child care.
I had mixed feelings for music, I could of broken it out into music-instrumental and music-choral but there would have been a lot of curriculum specific weightings, and ultimately I just left in generalized
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Re: PGCE essential for well-paid teaching in Mexico and Peru?

Post by Sarah10 »

Thanks so much to you both for your in-depth responses. It was well and truly appreciated. I am now looking into doing my PGCE!

Thanks again!
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