Teach in Guatemala
With Mayan culture still forming the foundation of its modern identity, but colonial Spanish influence in its language and architecture, Guatemala is one of Central America’s most diverse countries. This developing nation should be on the list of anyone looking for first-time experience teaching abroad.
Teach in Guatemala
Options for teaching in Guatemala
For those who are only looking to make money, Guatemala is not an ideal place to search for a teaching job overseas. However, teaching in Guatemala is a wonderful way to gain new, rewarding experience in a developing country. There are many volunteer opportunities to teach English in Guatemala, as well as paid teaching jobs.
Teachers looking for work can find it in universities and non-profit institutes, many of which offer a modest but reasonable salary. Teaching in colegios (privately owned schools) is another popular option, although candidates will often need a basic to intermediate level of Spanish proficiency.
Finally, licensed classroom teachers in subjects other than English can find teaching jobs in Guatemala in both public and private schools. These jobs may also require some Spanish proficiency, although this is not always the case.
Salary and benefits when teaching in Guatemala
Salaries for paid teaching jobs in Guatemala are modest (anywhere from 2 - 14 USD per hour); however, the cost of living in Guatemala is comparably low as well. More highly paid jobs prefer teachers who have previous experience as well as some sort of ESL certification, such as a TEFL. Accommodation is not usually included as part of a teaching contract, but it is generally not difficult to find accommodation ranging from $100 - 300 USD per month.
Teach in Guatemala – Hiring
The school year in Guatemala begins in January, so new teaching jobs in Guatemala would typically be posted to the Teach Away job board in November or December of the previous year. Universities begin their second semester in July, so hiring also occurs in May and June for these jobs.
What you need to teach in Guatemala
Qualifications to teach in Guatemala
Guatemala is an excellent destination for new teachers, as there are many jobs available that do not require any previous experience or certification. However, a TEFL course is useful for educators hoping to obtain a more highly paid position.
Visas for teachers in Guatemala
Employers usually have to submit an application for a work permit to the Guatemalan Ministry of Labor; however, it is the teacher’s responsibility to ensure that all documents are submitted accurately and in a timely manner.
Living in Guatemala
Housing in Guatemala
Most teaching jobs in Guatemala are located in the country’s three largest cities: Guatemala City, Quetzaltenango, and Antigua. Finding accommodation is usually the teacher’s responsibility, although many schools provide assistance. Volunteer programs may be more likely to provide housing in order to offset costs.
Things to do in Guatemala
Mayan culture is alive and thriving in Guatemala, making it Central America’s most diverse country. Around 40% of Guatemala’s population identify as indigenous Maya, and remains of the ancient culture form some of the region’s most-visited sites. Tikal National Park, which lies in the middle of the jungle, is one of the largest cities of ancient Mayan civilization and a spectacular place to visit ruins.
For colonial architecture, the beautiful city of Antigua is the best place to be. Central America’s colonial Spanish capital, the city is now a UNESCO World Heritage site and very popular for travelers. Spend an afternoon in an artisan workshop, wander through the dizzying stalls of el mercado, or venture outside the city to hike nearby volcanoes. Beautiful Lake Atitlan lies about an hour and a half from Antigua, and is a breathtaking volcanic lake ringed by mountains and small, backpacker-friendly villages.
Consider yourself lucky to experience Guatemala during the Easter Holy Week, when parades and food stands fill the neighborhoods. On Palm Sunday, processionals march over “carpets” of flowers while onlookers welcome them through the streets.
TEFL Certification for Private School Teachers
Many private schools in Guatemala require applicants to possess a TEFL certificate. The University of Toronto’s TEFL Online Certificate can help you become a leading candidate for some of the top Guatemalan private school positions.
Guatemala at a Glance
Capital - Guatemala City
Language - Spanish
Population - 15.8 million
Currency - Quetzal (GTQ)
Government - Unitary presidential republic
- Guatemala has 33 volcanoes.
- Half of the population are direct descendants of the Maya.
- Guatemala is home to plenty of Mayan ruins sites.
- The process of instant coffee was invented in Guatemala.
- Guatemala is the birthplace of blue denim.
- Belize used to be part of Guatemala but was then given to Britain.
- Guatemala City is the largest city in Central America.