North America can be a highly competitive teaching market, and that is exactly why you should not shy away from the challenge. While Mexico, the United States, and Canada all boast large and powerful economies, it is no secret that they also suffer from their fair share of educational inequality within. Deciding to teach abroad in North America will bring your educational career to a dynamic region of immense diversity and innovation. Think you’re up to it?
North America is commonly thought of as the region which encompasses Mexico, the United States, and Canada. Combined, North America is home to a population of nearly 500 million citizens.
Canada, while the second largest country on earth by land area, is home to just 33 million of these citizens. Ranking highly in measures of equality, human development, and per capita income, Canada also boasts one of the best education systems in the world, and can provide a great model to learn from for aspiring global educators who teach abroad in North America.
On the southern end of the continent lays Mexico, a nation of over 125 million people, making it officially the largest Spanish speaking country on the planet. Mexico will provide a much different experience teaching abroad in North America than will Canada and the United States, as it is both classified as a Less Developed Country and also forms the northernmost part of Latin America.
Last but not least, it is also possible to teach abroad in North America in the United States. While outsiders often view the United States in the context of its popular culture and geopolitics, coming to the country to teach abroad will expose you to a whole different side of the world superpower. Preview: its education system needs a lot of help!
Teaching Jobs in North America
There are a diversity of positions you can seek out in order to teach abroad in North America. Teaching English is the most common position that international educators tend to pursue abroad; however because Mexico is the only country on the continent where English is not the native language, your TEFL options will be somewhat confined to this region. Many educators do, however, enroll in TEFL training programs in either Canada or the USA before seeking employment elsewhere.
Another option by which to teach abroad in North America is to look for job openings at international or bilingual schools where you can teach additional subjects such as science, math, and art. Visa considerations and labor laws can unfortunately make long term-employment as a teacher abroad in North America quite difficult. However temporary programs are a good way to teach abroad in North America for up to two years, and you never know what further opportunity lays down the road!
Whatever teaching job in North America you ultimately land, private tutoring is another means by which international educators often pick up extra income in the region. Families hire tutors for all different types of academic subjects, and often your teach abroad program in North America can help you seek out these opportunities.
Salaries & Costs
Teaching salaries and living expenses vary significantly throughout the North American continent. Because it is a developing country, Mexico is typically the most affordable destination for international educators. On the flip side, costs of living in Canada and the United States can be quite expensive, with majorly popular cities such as New York and San Francisco laying significantly above the mean.
You will almost always earn more money teaching at a private school in North America than at a public school, as these academic institutions are much better funded. Still, you will earn enough to get by in either market, so don’t worry too much; teaching isn’t about the money anyway!
Accommodation & Visas
Educators are often expected to find their own apartment while teaching abroad in North America, though some programs are also willing to help organize accommodation for you. Living with roommates is generally much more affordable than living in an individual apartment while on a teacher’s salary in North America. Your housing options may also differ significantly depending on whether you are teaching in a city or a smaller town.
You will usually need to be sponsored by your local employer or teach abroad program in North America in order to qualify for a work visa. Visas can be competitive in the region, but it is usually possible to work for at least one or two years and then assess your options from there. For more information regarding your specific goals as an educator abroad in North America, you can check out our Embassy Directory.
Benefits & Challenges
Diversity. Part of what makes North America such an enriching continent to teach abroad in is the tremendous diversity of people and viewpoints within. As an international educator you could not ask for a more stimulating environment.
Competition. Lot’s of people want to teach abroad in North America, so use this opportunity to fuel your ambition as an educator abroad and bring your teaching skill-set to new heights.
Adventure. Let’s not forget that teaching abroad is just a great adventure, plain and simple. You will meet new people, see new things, and return a better-experienced and wiser person.