Teaching English is a great way to make some pesos while living in Argentina. Due to the flexibility of teacher hours, you can tailor your schedule to be part-time or full-time, depending on your needs. If you’re here to study or just to travel, teaching a few classes is a good way to offset some of your expenditure. For those who want to live entirely off teaching classes in Argentina, it is possible with dedication — just don’t expect to be adding to your savings account back home.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q. Do I need qualifications?
A. No, being a native English-speaker is the number one qualification, but having a teaching certificate helps to some extent. There are dozens of teaching institutions in Buenos Aires alone – some require you to have a CELTA or TEFL certificate, others prefer that you don’t, and some don’t seem to care, as long as you show that you have a decent knowledge of the English language. Some institutions may want you to have a university degree of any kind, or could ask you to undergo a few training sessions before you start working.
Q. Is it worthwhile doing an English as a second language teacher’s course in Argentina?
A. Not really. The courses are geared towards ‘rich’ foreigners, and are thus considerably overpriced. That’s not to say that they are not useful. If you’re new to teaching, or even if you have some experience but want a brush up, the courses can be very helpful. Certification courses are also a good way to get to know a few people when you first arrive, and many will guarantee a job placement upon completion. So it depends on whether you think those reasons are enough to justify the price. If not, you are better off doing the course back home or doing an online TEFL course before you arrive here, or just skipping it altogether.
Q. Is it easy to find work?
A. Yes, it is quite easy to find work as an English teacher in Argentina’s main cities. There are dozens of English Academies in Buenos Aires alone. To get a job, it is simply a matter of contacting one or more and asking about work. They will look at several factors when considering you: past teaching experience, teaching certification, whether you have a university degree, and your ability to communicate in English. If you tick more than one of those boxes, you should pretty soon find yourself employed. If you can speak English, but have none of the other qualifications, there are some academies that will hire you anyway, but you may have to look a bit harder.
*Note: The time of year is important. The pattern for most companies is to take classes between March/April through December, with a break for the summer months when many are on vacation. There are classes starting up all year round, but generally the highest demand for new English teachers is in March/April, and the period over the summer months (December-February) is the hardest time to find work, especially if you are just starting out. Bear in mind that since English teachers are paid by the hour, your wage can drop substantially over the summer holiday.
Q: Could I secure a job before I get there?
You are not likely to be able to find a job before arriving in Argentina. It is much easier to find work once you are already here. Most jobs require you to show up for a couple of interviews before they will hire you, so for that you will need to be in town.
Once you have been hired by a company, they will start to offer you classes. They are generally pretty accommodating when it comes to your schedule and travel requirements. You have the right to refuse a class if it really doesn’t suit you, but be careful not to turn down too many when you are starting out, or they will stop offering them to you.
Q. I don’t know anything about grammar, is that a problem?
A. No, most native English speakers have no idea about the grammatical fine points of their own language, but this is not usually an impediment to teaching in Argentina. With the help of grammar books, and a little preparation before classes, you will be fine – although the odd embarrassing moment when you are asked a sticky question is to be expected. The trick is to admit when you don’t know an answer, then find out about it for the next class.
Nor do you need to be afraid of teaching business English. The academies will provide you with the materials, and it’s simply a matter of following the course books.
Q. Can I work legally as an English teacher in Argentina?
A. Probably not, but you are unlikely to encounter any problems. Most people who teach English in Argentina arrive on a tourist visa, and therefore are technically working illegally. It’s somewhat of a gray area, since some companies will require you to apply for a CUIT number and invoice for your classes – which means you are paying tax as a freelance worker. Busting illegal English teachers is not a priority for the immigration department, and it’s almost unheard of for anyone to get into trouble for illegally teaching English.
Q. Will I be teaching kids or adults? Will I teach private classes or in a school?
A. The majority of foreigners teaching English here teach business English in companies. To work in a school or university, a working visa or Argentine residency is necessary; most foreigners find themselves working for institutions who outsource teachers to local companies. It is possible and more profitable to teach private classes as well, but if you don’t yet know many people in Argentina, it will probably take some time to build up a base of students.