Beautiful beaches, colourful houses, and interesting culture are some of the things that come to mind when people mention Puerto Rico. But, did you know that you can do more than just bask under the sun with a Piña Colada in one hand while enjoying the sights and sounds of the “Island of Enchantment”? But, what about teaching English in Puerto Rico? Keep on reading for all the details you need to know about how to teach in this beautiful location.
Umm, let me rephrase that. Did you know that Puerto Rico is more than just a vacation destination if you’re an ESL teacher? You can actually teach English in Puerto.
English may be one of the official languages of this Caribbean island, but it isn’t widely spoken. Additionally, Puerto Ricans are eager to learn English due to the booming tourism industry. Learning the language makes it easier for them to communicate with tourists and other visitors.
So, do we have your attention already? Continue reading to know your options if you want to teach English in this unincorporated US Territory.
English and Puerto Rico
Even though English is one of the two official languages but not all Puerto Ricans can speak the language fluently. The language may be one of the required subjects but the medium of instruction for the other subjects is Spanish for primary and secondary schools.
At the university level, the medium of instruction is either English or Spanish depending on the instructor and subject matter. Moreover, Puerto Ricans are used to speaking Spanish at home. With this in mind, it’s clear that English is not really widely spoken here.
But, the tourism industry has spurred the need to learn English. Tourists and other visitors normally communicate in English, which creates a language barrier for locals who may not understand or speak the language.
As a result, Puerto Ricans are eager to learn English. Speaking the language allows them to have a piece of the tourism pie. Moreover, it also opens a lot of opportunities for them to work in other industries, and possibly in the US or Canada.
Teaching in Puerto Rico
Even as Puerto Rico has a moderate demand for ESL teachers, there is a considerable amount of competition, similar to other tropical locations like Okinawa, Japan. The climate and ambiance of the place make it one of the preferred destinations of foreign English teachers.
Aside from foreign native speakers, teachers also have to contend with home-grown English teachers. At this point, qualifications come into play when it comes to finding a teaching job in Puerto Rico.
Nevertheless, there are a lot of options where teachers can find a job in Puerto Rico. Apart from public schools and private international schools, they can also teach in a university or an ESL school in Puerto Rico.
Americans and Canadians have a good chance of getting a teaching job in Puerto Rico due to their accent.
Requirements for Teacher Jobs in Puerto Rico
Similar to other countries around the world, Puerto Rico also has a few requirements before you can teach English. These requirements are as follows:
- Bachelor’s degree (A Master’s degree is preferable since you get a bigger salary)
- Valid teaching license from the state or country of origin for certified teachers
- TEFL certification for ESL teachers
- Work visas for non-US citizens
If you don’t meet these requirements, there is another option for you. In some cases, you don’t need a university degree to teach English in Russia.
Salary and Benefits for Teaching English in Puerto Rico
Native English speakers can expect a good salary if they in Puerto Rico. The average monthly salary of a teacher is from $1,000 USD to $2,000 USD. But, some private schools may offer up to $3,200 per month.
In addition to this attractive remuneration, teachers can also expect the following benefits depending on the school:
- Airfare reimbursement (return ticket)
- Health insurance
- Paid leave and school holidays
- Completion bonus
But, you should take note that not all schools offer the above benefits. With this, you should check the benefits offered by the school before you sign the contract. This is similar to teaching jobs in Japan, where benefits vary widely among schools.
There are a couple of options for you if you want to teach English in Puerto Rico. These options include the following:
While the primary medium of instruction in primary schools is Spanish, English is a compulsory subject that students have to learn. Moreover, the Department of Education in Puerto Rico is gradually putting emphasis on bilingualism. With this, ESL teachers have the option of working in a public school.
Private International Schools
Another option for ESL teachers is a private international school. These schools normally use an American or a bilingual curriculum, which makes it favourable for American ESL teachers. Many of these private international schools are situated in major urban centers, but there are also some schools located in rural areas.
Some university subjects are taught in English, which means Puerto Rican universities normally look for teachers with the necessary qualifications. The teachers should have a degree relevant to the subject offered. So, ESL teachers who hold a Bachelor’s degree relevant to the subject can include universities as one of their options.
The emphasis on bilingualism by the education department has increased the demand for English teachers in Puerto Rico. With this, ESL schools have opened to meet the demand for English language instruction. Similar to international schools, ESL schools are located both in the big cities and rural areas of Puerto Rico.
Things to Consider When Teaching in Puerto Rico
Before you start packing and book a ticket, there are some things you need to consider if you want to teach English in Puerto Rico.
- While the cost of living is comparable to the United States, transportation and food are relatively cheaper.
- Before signing a contract, make sure the salary and benefits are clear and you should be familiar with the place where you’re teaching.
- Similar to other countries, the salary in the major urban centers is higher than in rural areas of Puerto Rico.
- Having a little knowledge in Spanish will make it easier for you to teach your students. It also allows you to build a connection with them and facilitate the learning process.
Aside from being financially-rewarding, teaching English here gives ESL teachers a chance to stay in a tropical paradise in the middle of the Caribbean. Not sure the tropics are for you? Consider a teacher job in Finland instead.
Have your Say about Teaching in this Tropical Paradise
Do you have any tips or tricks for getting one of these coveted teaching jobs? Please leave a comment below and let us know what you think about it. We’d love to hear from you.
Also be sure to give this article a share on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. It’ll help other aspiring English teachers, like yourself get the leg up on the competition for one of these jobs in PR.