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Teaching in Mexico – An interview with a Canadian teacher

One of the more popular jobs for English speaking professionals in Mexico is teaching.  There are a wide range of teaching opportunities in Mexico. Some positions simply a require a TEFL certificate to teach the English language at many destinations in Mexico.  Most private schools require a valid teacher certification from their home country.  This means a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree and additional education courses mandated by an education board.  Many of the private schools require a teacher certification since they are accredited in the USA and Canada.  In this month’s blog, I sat down and interviewed 4th year teacher, Alex Wordley, to find out the reasons he made the move from Canada to Mexico to teach high school.  Alex moved from the Toronto area in 2016 with his family and currently works at the American School in Puerto Vallarta (ASPV).

Ventes Mexico

Alex, thanks for sitting down with me to find out a little more about teaching in Mexico.  First question, what got you interested in teaching in Mexico?

Alex Wordley

The weather!  I was studying to be a teacher at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario and it was January.  It was about -25 C and the pipes in my apartment froze.  You could squeeze out some cold water.  I remember walking to Queen’s and being literally frozen to the bone.  I walked into campus and went straight to the overseas teaching office.  They connected me with ASPV, I did a teaching placement at the school for a month back in 04 and fell in love with the school and living in PV.

Ventes Mexico

This is your 2nd time working at the school correct?  What made you return?

Alex Wordley:

It is actually my third time here.  I did a month of student teaching as I previously mentioned.  Then an opportunity presented itself a year later so I came and worked at the school for a year.  I had an amazing experience.  I was single and was planning to travel for a few years.  So after a year I headed to Australia and New Zealand.  Eventually I landed back in Canada but always swore to myself that once my life was established I would try and get back to Mexico, I really fell in love with the place when I lived here for a full year back in 05-06.

Ventes Mexico

What made you choose the American School in Puerto Vallarta among any other school in Mexico?  Why Puerto Vallarta?

Alex Wordley

Initially it was just luck.  Queen’s had a connection with the school so was able to get me a placement.  I had a great experience here for the month I was a student teacher, so I was keen to keep in touch with the director of the school.  It is a great school.  It is small, only 1 class per grade so you get to know the students and the community very well and there is a real opportunity to contribute your ideas and actively participate in moving the school forward.  It really feels like a team effort.

Ventes Mexico:

In your opinion, what is the most valuable part about teaching in Mexico?

Alex Wordley:

The people.  I have met a lot of great people, other expats, but mostly Mexicans.  This is a happy place to be.  People are not rich but that doesn’t matter.  It reminds me every day what is important.  I left a CAT 4 tenured teaching position in Ontario to come to ASPV- leaving that kind of financial security is no small decision.  But life man, I chose life and it feels like I live it here every day.

Ventes Mexico

What was the biggest adjustment you had to make coming from Canada to Mexico?

Alex Wordley:

Language.  I found it very frustrating initially as I didn’t speak a word of Spanish.  I quickly immersed myself in Spanish books and classes and within about 6 months was able to function.  That said, there are tons of gringo resources here too so you can get by without speaking Spanish, but your experience will be a lot more limited.

Ventes Mexico

Did you find the immigration process to legally work in Mexico a hassle?

Alex Wordley:

Not at all .  The school did it all for me.  I had to get the documents notarized and legalized in Canada which took some time but the school paid for all that.  I just had to order things like University transcripts and then take them to a lawyer and then to the Mexican consulate.  The school deals with all the visa stuff.

Ventes Mexico:

If there was one thing you could share with a teacher wanting to relocate to Mexico, what would it be?

Alex Wordley:

Don’t stress too much about the money.  Compared to where I was teaching (Ontario) the pay is roughly 1/3.  We don’t make a lot here, but the cost of living is about a 1/3 as well so we feel just as well off and really better off.  There are more things to do here with our time than back home.  If you love being outside this is the place to be.  We live outside.

Ventes Mexico

We like to provide ‘baby negatives’ about a position anytime we write about new jobs.  Can you tell me one ‘baby negative’ about teaching or living in Mexico?

Alex Wordley:

There are hiccups and hurdles that you have to get over and try not to get too frustrated by.  This is a different country so things don’t work the same way as they do back home.  For example, it took over 3 weeks for the internet guy to show up and connect the cable when we first got here.  I had to go to the store and wait in line for 2 hours like it was the 1970’s.  I did this like 6 times.  It is always part of the experience.  This is Mexico, it is not the US or Canada and it shouldn’t be.  If you expect to move here and have all the creature comforts of home then you need to change your expectations.  But I am telling you, this is a great place.  I wouldn’t have moved my wife and 2 kids down here if I didn’t think it was a great place to live.

See ASPV Recruitment video here: https://youtu.be/vhEUhi4YHoQ

3 responses to “Teaching in Mexico – An interview with a Canadian teacher”

  1. It’s hard to come by educated people on this topic, however, you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks| а

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