One of the most common worries I encounter amongst new or potential Mexico City TEFLers, is how exactly will they find sufficient work to pay their living expenses. I do have a few tips, although it has to be said the best way to find work is to be here in the city, ready to take it the moment it becomes available. It is perfectly possible to find employment from your home country, but it isn’t as easy.
- Enrol for a TELF course at a reputable school that offers those that pass the final exam some classes or a job of some sort. Beware any guarantees….there are no guarantees! Although plenty of schools promote the courses they run with definite assurances of work afterwards. I would say you are highly likely to be given enough classes to make a start to your new life, but you’ll need to be good enough, and there needs to be the work available in the first place. I recommend Teachers International – this is the route I first took when arriving in Mexico City, and it worked for me.
- There are plenty of language school in Mexico City. Harmon Hall, Berlitz, Washington and many more. Knock on their doors! Someone will take you in sooner or later. The downside is that they don;’t pay well, and they can often be a little irregular in their payments. But again, it gets you off to a start.
- Print yourself off some flyers, locate some foreign companies (pharmaceuticals for instance) and hand out your leaflets to employees as they go in or come out of the building. It works. I would suggest being there in the morning, from 7.30am to 9am. You’ll catch most of the workforce – in the evenings, employee departure is more staggered – and they are perhaps more likely to respond to your flyer at their desk, rather than at home.
- Socialize! Use TEFL forums (David’s ELT is a good one for Mexico City) and go and meet people who are TEFLing. Tell them that you are looking for work, and ask if they know of any classes that are available. Keep in touch, make yourself available and you may well get a few classes out of your efforts.
- Word of mouth is the oldest marketing strategy in the book, and long term the most effective. Once you have a few classes, you’ll find (especially if you tell your students that you need more classes) that people will approach you. Bear this in mind if you have the opportunity to take on a class of just one hour, at a horrible time of the morning, for an hourly rate that you feel is too low. If the class is in a company local to you, with lots more potential classes that could come from there, perhaps it is best to view the class as a marketing strategy in itself. To get your foot in the door.