(The Panama Gringo) Panama is a very interesting country in that when you are Panama City you almost feel as if you are in the United States, say Miami. But, when you travel out to the smaller cities, or even larger cities situated more remotely, like David, things become more like the rest of Central America. This is reflected in business, housing, and employment.
If you are looking to make decent money teaching English, you will want to look for a job in Panama City. While expenses in the city are higher, you will still be able to have higher net earnings than if you live in the countryside, provided you budget your funds. English is becoming increasingly important in Panama City, especially for business professionals. The demand for qualified teachers is high.
Depending on your qualifications and your experience you can make as much as $1500/month as a starting wage at some private schools in Panama City. While it may not seem like much, it is plenty to live comfortably as a young expat, or to supplement your pension. Schools offer raises for those who stay for extended periods, longer than 6 months. Make sure you are assertive and ask about pay raise opportunities right from the start, following up every 6 months or so.
As far as what type of school you teach in affecting your pay, elementary, middle, and high schools all pay relatively the same. Of course they pay more if they are private, and less if they are public schools.
It is also possible to get a job teaching at a University, but the qualifications and experience needed are much higher. While the University work does pay better, if you are new to teaching English it is best to stick with primary and secondary schools.
If you are interested in offer private English lessons, the going rate for a native speaker tutor is between $20 and $25 per hour. As you make connections you can start offering group rates, or packages for a certain number of lessons. This is a great way to supplement your income, and if you are diligent enough can grow to be a business in itself.
For more about teaching English in Panama download our free ebook, a detailed 64 page ebook provides the reader with key information about the opportunity to travel to Panama and teach English to make a living, written by expat with actual experience.
What Experience do I Need to Teach English in Panama?
eaching English in Panama is a great way for expats to support themselves or supplement their pension. If you are considering getting a job teaching English in Panama you may be asking yourself the following:
“What experience do I need to teach English in Panama?”
The answer: In most schools having a college degree is enough to qualify you as a teacher. At some smaller language institutes, especially those outside of the main cities, you will find that simply being a native speaker qualifies you.
“You mean I don’t need any certification?”
Having a TEFL or TESOL certification will make you much stronger candidate for a position as a teacher. It will also likely result in you being offered a higher salary, and some school may require it of their teachers. However, there are many places that will higher you whether or not you have a TEFL or TESOL certification.
“Do I need to have experience?”
Having experience is a major plus, especially if your college degree is related to something other than education, or if you have no college degree at all. If you have no experience, try volunteering at a local school or education center where they are teaching ESL classes. You’ll feel a lot more comfortable stepping in front of the class on your first day at work if you’ve had some experience before you come. Plus, you’ll learn teaching techniques and get ideas for what you can do with your class.