Beyond English Programs
Become part of the B corporation movement while making an impact on educational inequality in Chile in this paid Teaching Fellowship program offered. Offered by Beyond English,...
Beyond English Reviews
Teaching fellow- Valle del ELqui
Submitted by Anne Gray | March 27, 2018
Beyond English’s 2017 Valle de Elqui program was co-managed and subsidized by Fundacion Educacional Oportunidad which gave it its direction and grounding. I enjoyed immensely working with the Fundacion’s “WE Learn team” in Valle de Elqui. The valley itself is a very unique and exquisitely beautiful place to work. It is fairly rural, removed, and not an inexpensive place to live, and so it would not suit everyone. I was able to teach in up to 10 schools throughout the school year, including the more rural micro-escuelas, the comuna’s high school, and other community programs. The 2018 program is apparently in a different part of the Valle and in different schools, so this review may not pertain specifically to what this year’s program will look like. BE offers a competitive salary.
The actual work we did in the Valle was not at all what BE had said it would be during the informational interview and orientation. The majority of our time was assigned to co-teaching English classes with Chilean teachers in the public schools and not doing the interdisciplinary work that BE had originally presented as their approach. Our co-teaching relationships varied from being very cooperative and dynamic to feeling more like being an assistant in the classroom. I learned a tremendous amount from the teachers I worked with but was disappointed not to have the opportunity to do more interdisciplinary initiatives and teach my own classes. None of us who worked in Valle de Elqui in 2017 had private classes through BE, which, for me, was very disappointing. Even though we were still paid for the time that would have been allotted to private classes, as contracted, I had chosen to do the program in order to gain experience both in public school classrooms and in private classes so that I could practice teaching a higher level of English and more advanced grammar. Beyond English was in general not very present nor supportive during our nine months there.
Beyond English is essentially still a start-up and the Valle del Elqui program is still more or less a pilot program, so it does require a great amount of flexibility, creativity, and self-initiative, but there is a real lack of stability, self-reflection, accountability, and transparency in the management of Beyond English which precludes me from recommending them. With a pilot program, one would, of course, expect to hit numerous bumps along the way, but the organization has a really difficult time accepting honest, constructive feedback from its employees and supporting employees in those challenges. The company has a lot of potential but is lacking focus in maintaining a more supportive, cooperative and sustainable business model.
Combining passions, values, growth, and challenges
Submitted by Athena | September 23, 2016
Beyond English is a small, yet flexible, and rapidly growing start-up that proposes a new business/educational model for English language learning and teaching.
The model: For each class we teach in the private sector (in groups of 1-6 adults in homes and businesses around Santiago), a child in a vulnerable school receives the opportunity to learn English in a fun, interactive environment.
My experience: You explore all parts of Santiago, learning how to manejar the public transportation system like a boss. In a day, you have a few (1-4) private classes, either in the BE office in Las Condes or around the city in student's homes and work spaces. Twice a week you teach a class of around 15 elementary-aged students in English classes or after-school workshops. The kids have tons of energy and the adults have great ideas that lead to inspiring conversations.
My advice: If you are passionate about language learning, social entrepreneurship, teaching, and aching for an experience that makes you grow by pushing your limits on flexibility in a personal and professional setting, go for it! If you are looking for a casual, low-commitment English teaching volunteer experience, I would suggest looking elsewhere. Beyond English expects high levels of commitment and participation as it develops and this it what makes BE so great! Beyond English is committed to its mission of democratizing educational opportunities. If you are as well, you will have a great experience!
Meaningful work and wonderful community in Santiago
Submitted by Dan - Minneapolis United States | September 03, 2016
I worked for a year and a half at Beyond English, and I would highly recommend BE to recent college graduates who are open to new experiences, have a strong desire to work hard to make a positive difference in the world, and are curious to learn about Chilean culture. My favorite thing about Beyond English is the people. At BE, I had the opportunity to work with some of the kindest, most supportive and passionate people I've ever met. It is a true joy to go to work every day as a BE fellow. The student community as a whole is on board with the company's mission and is eager to share with and learn from their teachers.
As some of the other reviews have mentioned, the fellowship position is not for everyone, but it is a very rewarding position if it suits you. If you are seeking to travel South America and teach the occasional English class to finance your trip, working at Beyond English is not for you. Teaching fellows work full time, spend a significant amount of time traveling to and planning for classes, and have many varied responsibilities. The fellowship stretched me both personally and professionally, and as a result I grew significantly. If you're both flexible and responsible, you'll do well as a BE fellow and really benefit from the experience.
As for life in Santiago, there is always plenty to do. One of the great benefits of having a community like BE is that your fellow teachers (and often your students) become your friends almost instantly. The weekends are a great time to take a trip to the coast (keeping in mind that you're on a budget) or have an asado in the park.
If working at Beyond English appeals to you, I would recommend sending them an email to ask if you can contact current or former teachers about their experience. There are lots of us that would be happy to answer your questions and give you a clearer picture about what it's like to be a Beyond English Fellow and live in Santiago.
An invaluable year of personal and professional growth
Submitted by AJ - Santee United States | August 30, 2016
It would not be a stretch to call my year at BE the best year of my life in regards to development and growth. From the first day of the program to the last, you are given equal challenges and support that keep you on your feet and allow for zero boredom. The small team of administrators and your fellow teachers become your family provide unlimited resources, both professionally and socially. The fellowship has you moving around Santiago all day, so, if you like to be static and in an office all day, do not apply. The days can be long but you end every day feeling accomplished and every weekend is yours to keep. There plenty of long weekends in the Chilean work calendar that allow for awesome weekend warrior style get-aways to the Andes or beaches or vineyards.
Also, as far as the second language apprehension goes, you would have to try to not become proficient/fluent. As you will most likely develop close friendships with your adult students, you are bound to be invited to family BBQs or work socials where you are one of few gringos and everyone wants to know more about who you are. Obviously there is no obligation to attend but you will want to as Chileans are so kind and giving. So, if you don't like sharing with very nice and generous people, definitely don't apply.
The salary is enough to get by and save a little at the end of the month depending on the type of lifestyle you choose to live. It will not a lot for a 4 dollar starbucks macchiato every morning (some have tried and failed) but if you learn how to live frugally and budget, you will find that you can have a nice apartment and eat well and still have some cash to spare at the end of the month. If you dream of treating yourself to a fancy steak dinner a couple of times a week without dipping into your savings, you should probably not apply.
To sum things up, I would tell the would-be applicant that committing to a year at Beyond English would mean a year of growth in all fields. Soft and hard skills, emotional development, ability to function in a completely unique socially responsible work model and language and teaching skills are just a few of the things that you will have in your back pocket after completion of this program. Courtney and Christine are visionaries and will guide you to success. Also, if you don't like having fun and loving your coworkers and clientele, you need not apply.
Submitted by Becca - Dallas United States | August 29, 2016
I was first drawn to Beyond English because of it's unique methodology of going "Beyond" the typical language learning process. The courses we did were personalized and fun and expose you to extremely diverse sides of the Chilean culture. There are countless English institutes all over the world but none quite like Beyond English. Beyond English uses funds from private and company classes to work in schools that normally wouldn't have access to language learning. My experience with BE has opened my eyes to how a for profit company can work efficiently and effectively to make an impact on social issues.