Teaching English in Rural Schools in Guatemala
Volunteer as an English Teacher in Guatemala!
- Share your love of education
- Provide invaluable knowledge to the schoolchildren of Guatemala
- Give back as you immerse yourself in culture and beauty
- Volunteer abroad safely & affordably
*Please note that school holiday in Guatemala runs from mid-October to mid-January. Volunteers will work in street children project during time.
Teaching English in Guatemala is increasingly vital to the country’s youth! The number of English-speaking tourists visiting Guatemala increases every year. As in most countries in Central America formally inhabited by the advanced civilization of the ancient Mayans, Guatemala’s tourism industry sees annual increases in visits to its numerous ruins. Additionally, the global economy is becoming more and more dominated by English. In order to compete globally and even locally for lucrative jobs, Guatemalan youth must speak English. Furthermore, bilingual employees (especially those speaking BOTH Spanish AND English) are in rising demand. With Spanish spoken in many regions throughout the United States, it is plain to see how valuable dually fluency in Spanish and English can be.
However, when funds and resources are low, Guatemalan rural school English programs are not strong. IFRE places volunteer in various schools throughout Guatemala to assist local teachers in effectively teaching English.
No specific qualifications are required to join the teaching English project in Guatemala. However, interested individuals should have a passion and desire to teach younger children (and occasionally teenagers) and be comfortable fulfilling the role of English-instructors and/or teachers' aides. While Spanish is preferred, however it is not required. All volunteers are encouraged to be flexible, patient and adaptive.
Volunteers assist school-based local educators and language institutes with pre-established English curriculums involving younger students throughout Guatemala. Young students dramatically benefit from the contributions of proficient English-speaking volunteers willing to dedicate their time and efforts. Volunteers can expect to assist in developing conversational and grammatical English skills. Volunteer may also lend their personal English expertise with design of language activities for younger learners. Administrative duties of educational institutes may also require volunteer support or recommendations. Additional education of younger learners pertaining to issues of personal hygiene and sanitation may also be necessary.
In Guatemala, all volunteers stay with well-screened host families. Our host families are socially respected and are well versed in the art of hosting international volunteers. Host families offer a safe home, private rooms (occasionally rooms will be shared with other same-gender volunteers) and shared bathroom facilities with running water and a “western” style toilet. Volunteers have the ability to do laundry at the house or the host family may offer to do it for you for a nominal extra fee. You receive three prepared meals per day. If you will be out of the house during lunch hour, you can request a lunch "to go" that you can take with you or eat out on your own. Host families provide typical meals that are traditional to Guatemala.
Throughout the volunteer project, our local staff maintains contact with volunteers either with face-to-face visits or via email/telephone. With longer placements, we visit our volunteers every two weeks (when possible) and volunteers are always welcome at the local office. If project placement is local, we request that volunteers stop by the office once a week to keep us posted on how they are doing with their home stay and project. If project placement is very far, then our local staff members maintain communication by either email and/or phone.
Please provide a typical day schedule for this project.
Volunteers begin their day with breakfast around 6:45 and then board the public bus for the school. Classes begin at 8 am and volunteers will be working with students between 7-18 years old in various classes.
In addition to teaching English classes, volunteers may assist with computer or art classes. The schools in Guatemala are very resource poor and it is greatly appreciated when volunteers bring whatever school or sports supplies they can.
Around 12:30 pm volunteers will complete their day of teaching and return to their host family for lunch. For those volunteers interested in Spanish classes, they are generally at 3 pm for 2 hours. The remainder of the afternoon is open for exploration. Dinner is generally served by the host family between 7-8 pm.
Where do I stay? How far is the project from the accommodation? How do I commute every day?
All volunteers are placed with a local family within a short bus ride from our office.
What is the age range of the students in the school?
You will be teaching Elementary, Middle and High School students ranging in age from 6-18.
How many students are in the school? How many of them are in each class?
There are up to 80 students with 10-15 in each class.
Will I be handling the classes on my own or will there be someone assisting me while teaching?
In most of the cases (especially if volunteers are teaching English to primary level children), Volunteers will be handling the classes on their own.
How many hours a day do I need to teach?
You can expect to teach anywhere from 1 ½ - 3 hours daily.
Do I need to bring teaching materials? Or does the school have teaching materials, which I can use?
Although not required, any materials are greatly appreciated, as the school is very poor.
Is teaching available all-round the year? If not, when does it close for how long?
The Teaching English in Guatemala is available from the end of January through the middle of October. There is school break from October-January. In Guatemala, some orphanages are running the school, therefore, even if school is formally closed, volunteers can organize informal English classes.
Any important information you want to share about this project.
The schools we work with are extremely poor, some of which are even operated by the orphanages, which house the students. Volunteers can expect a lack of supplies and should be understanding and flexible. Conversational Spanish is not required, but recommended. Teachers in Guatemala, like many countries are revered as role models, therefore volunteers should plan on dressing appropriately for this placement; shorts and mini-skirts are not allowed.