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PROGRAM SPOTLIGHT: The Truth About Teaching English in Chile

This post was written by Kaye McDaniel

So, you want to teach English abroad? You’ve read all the TEFL books and brochures, scoured the internet for hours researching locations and programs, but you still have doubts, right? We asked two English teachers to share their experiences of teaching and living in Chile. Jacqueline Sedore, a 25 year-old Canadian and Katie David, a 23 year-old from the USA, were nice enough to dish out their secrets.

Jacqueline, what do you like best about your experience teaching in Chile?

I like teaching English in Chile because it’s a great way to learn about the culture. Teachers meet a lot of interesting people in different companies and positions. You learn a lot about people themselves but also how people in Chile live and work. It’s a great way to be personally acquainted with the culture. I also really enjoy that this job is so flexible and comfortable because it allows for free time during the day to go out for lunch with friends, do errands or plan other classes.

What were the biggest challenges you faced?

The biggest challenges I faced during my time in Chile were not really teaching related. The problems I have had as well as most other teachers are ones that deal with adjusting to and accepting a different culture. It’s difficult for some people to be away from home, working in another country and so these things are hard to overcome.

How do you find the students in Chile?

Most students in Chile are so eager to learn English because they need the language for job related reasons. Students in private classes really put a lot of effort into learning and advancing in English. It can be a really fun environment for both the student and teacher because it gives the student more time to get to know their teacher and feel comfortable. Chilean students can be very shy in large groups when it comes to participation. This is sometimes a problem for teachers in Chile but when groups are organized well and the students are comfortable with each other, the classroom becomes a fun place.

Do you have any advice for people thinking about coming to Chile to teach?

Do it! If you are looking for a nice change of pace, interesting job, great hours with some free time each day, you’ve got nothing to loose. Teaching English is a great way to see the city, learn about a culture and make new friends. It’s also such a rewarding job! I would never suggest teaching English in Chile as a great way to make and save money, however, it’s without a doubt, one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life.

Katie, what do you like best about your experience teaching in Chile?

I have found that teaching in Chile is a truly rewarding experience. The students are eager to learn and fun to teach, and I have enjoyed the opportunity to teach them while living in such an exciting city as Santiago.

What were the biggest challenges you faced?

The language barrier, especially with low level students, was a challenge at first. Yet, working past that barrier was a great learning experience for both the students and myself.

How do you find the students in Chile?

The students here are highly motivated, and tend to really want to succeed. They are very focused on grammar and structure, but I have had fun teaching them.

Do you have any advice for people thinking about coming to Chile to teach?

Don’t expect it to be an easy transition from school or any job you’ve had before, but it’s worth it. Chile is a wonderful country full of wonderful people, and teaching here was the best choice I could have made.

Can you compare this experience with other teaching experiences?

I have only taught teenagers before, so it’s a very different feel in a class where the students are always focused and may need to learn English for their careers. This has made it very rewarding, because the students improve at a quicker rate, especially in the one-on-one classes, and you can see the improvement easily.

Interested in teaching English in Chile? Read about the program at BridgeTEFLJobs or request information to get a brochure and speak with one of our advisors.

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