How to Get a Teaching Job in Costa Rica
As you already know, I manage a few Facebook pages about learning and teaching English.
One of those Facebook pages is Teaching English in Costa Rica. I started the Teaching English in Costa Rica Facebook page as a way to share information and materials with English teachers in Costa Rica.
On a regular basis, I am asked about teaching jobs in Costa Rica by people who are considering moving here.
These are some of my thoughts.
Let’s start with teaching jobs in public education.
Public School, Highshools and Universities are the ones that pay more money for your teaching efforts.
If you get a teaching position in which you have to work 40 hours a week, you will be getting a salary from $1500 to $2300.
In order to get a job in a public school, highschool or university, you need a degree in English teaching + additional certificates.
A TEFL certificate won’t be enough to get a job in teahing job for the government.
I like to say that the Ministry of Public Education (MEP) hire people based on a list in which teachers are ranked by points. The more degrees, years of service and certificate, the better your chances of getting a MEP job.
Unlike MEP, Public universities interview candidates and choose the candidate that meets their expectations.
Now let’s talk about private education:
Private institutions don’t neccesarily live by the public education rules.
They have more freedom when it comes to choosing their teachers but the problem is that most of them don’t pay a good salary.
I had the oppotunity to work in a few private institutions when I started teaching back in 2011 and now I don’t feel like working with them anymore.
Two of my experiences
- This is gonna sound like a big fat lie but there was a time in which I was making around $4 a hour. I was teaching like 50 lessons a week and I wasn’t making more than $800 a month.
- I also had the opportunity to teach in one of the biggest universities in Costa Rica and I was making like $8 an hour.
Why do Teachers work in Private Institutions?
These were my reasons for working in private institutions despite my complains about the salary they pay.
- I needed teaching experience.
- I needed some extra income.
- I really enjoyed meeting new students and helping them the best way I knew and could.
- I had the opportunity to teach different subjects and that was a good chance to review topics and reinforce my knowledge in certain areas.
- When you work in a university, you love the recognition that you get. (Haters welcome)
- You meet other good teachers and you learn from them.
- You get free teacher development courses.
- I seriously thought that I could have a positive impact on students lives but sometimes trying to stand up for what you believe is right is an uphill battle.
The Bad and The Ugly
- Some students have disruptive behavior and you have to deal with that. I know that classroom management is part of being a teacher but dealing with that for $4 an hour is not worth it. (Schools)
- Some institutions want you to plan super awesome lessons and you don’t get paid for lesson planning during your free time.
- Guess what happens when 100 students take one of your tests. You don’t get paid for checking exams and assignments. Checking those could take several hours.
- You realize that the institution owners are making good money while you are trying to make your ends meet.
- Some institutions are concerned with the business side of things so they view students as customers and not as learners.
- Parents want super awesome education but most of them don’t know you get a paid less than $8 an hour.
There might be instances in which working in private institution might be everything you dream for.
if that’s your cause, you are a minority.
Still Wanna Come to Costa Rica to Teach English?
If you think that leaving your country and coming to Costa Rica is a good idea, I can’t tell you much about that.
I don’t know if coming to Costa Rica is a good or a terrible idea. I have read a few comments on my Facebook page and some people are not 100% happy with their experience so far because of the institutes they ended up working for.
Moving to Costa Rica and teaching English in Costa Rica has been a satisfactory experience for some.
Sites you should check out