Mexico: Current Teacher Status / Job Seeker Advice

Not many years ago Mexico was a tranquil, peaceful country. Today it is riddled with kidnappings and murders as a result of violent drug wars. What is it like to teach and live in Mexico in 2011?


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41 Responses to Mexico: Current Teacher Status / Job Seeker Advice

  1. MN says:

    Hello! Does anyone works at Madison Bilingual School of Monterrey? I would be interested to find out more about the school quality and pay scale.

    Thank you!

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    • Jesus Puig says:

      Hello, I am being recruited, I think they pay well, average, and they provide teacher housing at no charge. I still yet have to see the school. I live 3 hours from Monterrey in McAllen, Texas.
      Fully Certified Teacher.

      Like

  2. ANGEL says:

    Does anybody know how it is to work for Churchill school in Mexico?

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Dear DS, I worked at the Churchill. I enjoyed Mexico but I heard now It’s not safe to enjoy the life.We lived in Condesa, Now here also started shoot-outs, ,drug cartels, kidnappings,robbery and carjackings,etc. The area around the school is safe but not always. The school has lots of problems, but seems to be improving slowly. It has poor admin and the students are nice but spoiled lot. They’re not used to working hard and always spoke Spanish inside the class rooms. All Mexican schools in general have some problems, as does the country, but now a days it’s not a fascinating place to live. So for me, great experience but may be not for you.

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  4. santhosh says:

    Hi Friends, we (me ,my wife) have contracts to teach in Churchill School,IAMF, Mexico starting on August. This place is secure for live happily?I heard lot of natural calamities was there in those places,is it true?How the security system for my family there?Please anyone reply to my questions.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I worked at the Churchill during the 2012-13 school year. My wife and I really enjoyed Mexico and Mexico City. It’s safe if you take precautions. We lived in Condesa, which is a lively area with better air quality than much of the city. The area around the school is safe but more quiet. The school has lots of problems, but seems to be improving slowly. It’s disorganized and the students are nice but spoiled. They’re not used to working hard. Mexican schools in general have their problems, as does the country, but it’s a fascinating place to spend some time. So for me, great experience but not a great school.

      Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Hola, al final vas a la escuela?

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    • Larren says:

      How do you find it now that you are working there?

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  5. missem says:

    Hi All,

    I just got a job at American Institute of Monterrey. I hadn’t planned to move from ASF Mexico City where I am incredibly happy, safe, secure living between my apartment in La Condesa and my boyfriend’s apartment in Polanco, however his job transfer requires that we move to Tec de Monterrey’s local offices.

    I am curious what kind of updated stories you all may have about life in Monterrey. I am incredibly nervous about the transition because I’m a small-town girl from the woods of Massachusetts, and I was apprehensive that on my first visit of 48 hours, it seemed like free time activities mostly involved malls and restaurants. I didn’t get to go up into the mountains yet, so I’m hoping I enjoy that next.

    What is the community of teachers like up there? It’s been very easy to make friends in an international school like ASF Mexico City and in an international city, but Monterrey seemed much more limited. I’d be happy to hear more about loving it, adapting to it, or fleeing it for whatever reasons you might have. If I am rarely crossing into monterrey and running in circles in San Pedro for safety’s sake (not excited that I have to get a car to drive to work), then I’d love some insight on what to expect!

    Thanks

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    • Dee says:

      Hey there, I apologize for not writing earlier but I just saw this post. I hope you have safely made the transition to Monterrrey and are getting settled into AIM. I do not know much about teaching there. I am at ASFM and our school community is very strong. Monterrey can be very big and very industrial but the mountains are a great refuge for many people. There are a TON of places to go hiking and we have a large group of teachers from our school and San Roberto who go climbing on Fridays, if you are interested private message me or email me at movieturtle@gmail.com.

      Monterrey is as safe as any other big city. Stay in the safer sections of Barrio Antigua, Monterrey, San Pedro, Chipinque, Santa Catarina, and San Jeronimo and you will be fine.

      Let me know how it is going and I hope you learn to enjoy my adopted home!

      Like

  6. movieturtle says:

    For anyone looking at Mexico for a job and are worried about security I think it is safe to say we are in a calm. There have been no major incidents or discoveries in at least 6 months and even with a new president there haven’t been any types of retaliation or show of power from the cartels that have affected most people’s daily life.

    Like

  7. DS says:

    I’m considering taking a job at Churchill School in Mexico City. Does anyone have recent information on the school or what it’s like to work there?

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  8. uteacher77 says:

    2012 Update:
    The violence is getting worse.
    Road trips from Monterrey to McAllen are NOT recommended as the number of car jackings has increased.
    If you are looking for an authentic Mexico feel you wont find it in Monterrey…look farther south….which also isn’t that safe.
    Best bet? Go somewhere else safer.

    Like

    • Dee says:

      I disagree. I have been in Monterrey for 4 years. Yes the road to McAllen isn’t the safest right now but the road to Laredo has been fine. And really if you come to Mexico so you can drive to the states then you aren’t coming for an authentic Mexican experience.

      The violence is isolated to the drug cartels, except for the carjackings out of town. The violence in the area where the international schools are is minimal. I feel safer being in San Pedro/Santa Catarina than I did at night in NYC.

      There is violence all over the world but our violence, for the most part, is not random. Choose an international school based on the school and what you want culturally. I have friends in Egypt who love it in Cairo, despite the violence. They are not telling people not to go there. Use your best judgement. People are afraid of Mexico because it is connected to the US.

      ASFM is one of the best schools and we have great security, a good package, and amazing kids!

      Like

      • uteacher77 says:

        I work at ASFM as well, and I would not recommend it based on the deteriorating security situation.

        I fail to understand the argument that it is safer than US cities when I can’t recall ever a report of 49 decapitated and mutilated bodies dumped on the road in the US or Canada.

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  9. Dee says:

    I work there currently and am in my 4th year. ASFM is a good school. Pay packages are good (ave. $32,000-40,000ish). Flight home each year, christmas and end of year bonus, matching program for retirement/savings, good housing allowance which should easily cover your house/apartment and expenses. The school pays your utilities, except phone/internet. Monterrey is nice enough, a car is suggested but there are taxis everywhere if not. The people who work here are wonderful. I have made some great friends. Travel around Mexico is pretty inexpensive. Food and such are inexpensive so your savings could be about $700-800 a month. Part of the salary is paid in US dollars to a bank in TX and the rest is paid in pesos. The US amount is a set cost so it doesn’t change based on the changes in the dollar, which is a comfort.
    What do you teach? Elementary school is very intense and requires a lot of work. They are in their 2nd year in a brand new building which has been great. The MS/HS is also intense but a bit more laid back. We have fun as a group and the school supports a “family feel”.
    The MS/HS building is 15 years old but is in impeccable shape. We have 2 soccer fields, basketball courts, 2 gyms, a wonderful library, great auditorium and black box theatre, indoor/outdoor cafeteria/recess area, big classrooms, computer labs, onsite maintenance that take care of school and house needs.
    I have been told that this is not a great school for people with children but they do pay for 2 children’s tuitions.
    The school is not a true “international” school as 95% of the students are Mexican but ASFM is the best school in Monterrey and the kids are great!!! Let me know if you have more questions. If you haven’t looked at their website you should, it has great information.
    Each campus is getting new administrators next year. ELEM, HS, and MS prinicpals. The MS principal has already been hired and she is going to be great. Feel free to email for more information.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Can you tell me where the Elementary School is located in relation to the Middle School and High School. I am hoping to work at the Elementary or Middle School this fall. I understand an apartment is included with the job can you tell me what to expect with the school provided housing, or do you rent it on your own? How do the living quarters compare to Canadian/American standards? What is the distance from where most teachers live and the school and how do you get to school, bus, car, walk? Do most teachers live in the same building or area? Thank you so much for your help in advance.

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      • movieturtle says:

        Hello. The ELEM campus is directly behind the MSHS campus. They are connected by an over-drive walkway.

        They call them apartments but really they are houses. By US/Canadian standards they are spacious with full kitchens, nice size bedrooms, bathrooms for each person, and they are in secure colonias (neighborhoods). After you are hired you will receive an email, probably in March/April, with pictures of the houses available. In regard to temperature, the houses are hot in the summer (although the rooms have mini-split heating and air units) and they are cold in the winter. They do not have insulation and the floors are tile.

        After your first year if you choose to move, then you will have the option to look at other available school housing or you can go out on your own and look. The housing will depend on you. We have 2 colonias that are within a 5-10 minute drive, 10-20 min walk from the school, if you want to live closer to the school. There is also some housing in San Pedro Garza Garcia, which is where our students live (although large so rarely see them) that is great if you want to be closer to the restaurants, bars, and shopping stuff. Those are great if you have a car or don’t mind the cost of taxis (approx 50-100 pesos or 5-8 USD each way). I have a car so I drive, but if you live in one of the colonias in Santa Cat there are plenty of people to ride with or you can walk.

        The main colonia that new teachers/import teachers live in is close and walkable to the school. We currently have 14 teachers living there in 5 different houses. The other colonia in that area has more families or couples in it.

        Good luck with the job and please feel free to message me or send another reply here if you have more questions. This is my 5th year so I know the ropes.

        Like

  10. llrober says:

    Can anyone comment on salary/benefits of the American School Foundation in Monterrey, Mexico? Also, how is the working environment (staff/students/admin)?
    Or, can anyone recommend another school in Monterrey?

    Like

  11. Keith Davidson says:

    I’m from the UK and worked in Mexico from 1982-2004. I still have a house in Mexico which I intend to go back to soon. Mexico was an amazing experience which totally changed me as a person (in a positive way). Domhuaille (above) I thought gave a pretty balanced view of things. Everywhere there are problems…just look at what’s happening now around the world in previously stable countries! I would say to anyone who wants to go to Mexico to give it a try and best check up with someone experienced like me who knows the place well first. Generally the centre,south and east of the country are safer areas than the north and west. I would say the worst thing about Mexico is the salary! If you are lucky you might find a job in one of the international schools or larger mexican bilingual schools where they pay around 1,500-2,000 USD per month. If not then you could be earning under 1,000 USD per month which is ok if you have no commitments outside.

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  12. bin-dair-don-dat says:

    Muggings and house robberies?….and still a safe place?…sign me on! Sorry, I can’t help the sarcasm at this point. Couldn’t you just be honest and say that Mexico is a great place to work but you can expect to be mugged and have your house robbed? Oh, and in the process of mugging you and robbing you, the really won’t intentionally kill you.

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  13. Steinbeck says:

    I worked in Mexico City from 2008-2010. I agree that the media blows a lot of things out of proportion to people outside of Mexico. Mexico City (DF), although full of poverty and fairly regular muggings, feels very distant from the drug violence scene. If you want more information about the drug violence remaining outside of the capital, see the recent Economist article (http://www.economist.com/blogs/americasview/2011/02/mexicos_drug_war_0) that is quite interesting.

    In my first year in DF, there was nothing that could get me down on the city, not even my apartment being robbed twice when I wasn’t there (first by our corrupt maid, and then by the corrupt locksmith that changed our locks!). My roommates and I learned some valuable lessons about who we could trust and then we felt safe! It’s got the energy of New York City in the 70’s: full of emerging and established art scenes and brilliant creative minds. Great bands come to Mexico and sometimes perform for free! (my first show in the city was a free Manu Chau concert in the Zocalo). The people in charge of cheap community and family entertainment in the city are BRILLIANT at what they do. There is always something special going on in the Zocalo or on Calle Reforma.

    The thing that got to me in the end was just the feeling that I needed to be on guard at all times… always looking over my shoulder. I never felt like I was in immediate danger, but to feel good, I personally felt like I had to maintain a constant level of vigilance. Mid-way through my second year, I felt exhausted from this, although there have been many times since then when I wished I stayed another year or two bc DF very quickly becomes your home!!!

    One other thing worth mentioning: the main area where most teachers without big families live is a really fun and safe place (minus muggings and house robberies). I felt comfortable walking alone, day or even night (not too far!), bc there is so much going on and it’s a very social area, full of both many Mexicans and many ex-pats. Almost everything you need is a short walk away. If you do get mugged, you can assume that as long as you give them your money, they will let you go without hurting you (unlike the type of violence we have heard to be associated with the drug war). I know some people may disagree with me on some of these points, but this is how I felt over two years…

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  14. Amanda says:

    I currently work at the American School Foundation of Chiapas in Tuxtla Gutierrez. I make about $9600US a year plus free housing with enough housing allowance left over to pay most of the utilities I share with another roommate.

    In my city there are very few people who speak English, so if you want to learn Spanish it is a great place to be!

    Tuxtla is also very safe. I have never heard of anyone getting harassed, kidnapped, or murdered here!

    The downside is that there isn’t a lot to do here. It is two hours by car to the beach and one hour to get to San Cristobal de las Casas (which is amazing)!

    If I didn’t have student loans to pay off I would think about staying another year.

    Like

    • nancyharms says:

      Was just reading reviews of the school from 2007 from a former teacher who made it sound horrible both for the students & teachers. So your experience was good there as a teacher?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Amanda, I have heard horrible things about teaching at this school, most of these reviews are from 2007-2010, is your experience positive?

      Like

    • The Dr. says:

      Hi Amanda .

      Just to be sure – is that 9,600 USD $ , a year ?

      Also is Tuxtla vibrant / alive ?

      Like

  15. Domhuaille MacMathghamhna says:

    My wife,dog and I lived and worked in Mexico schools for 8 years (not the dog) and felt so secure and happy that we are planning on retiring there soon. We started in Mexico City in a private US school and worked in 3 other schools before leaving for Germany in 2008 to feather our nest.
    We ended up in a city called Queretaro which is the 2nd fastest growing and most secure city in Mexico. Here are some of the pros and cons of working in Mexico:
    PROS
    1)The weather-temperate and sunny 360 days a year,NO SNOW EVER!!! Very dry in the centre which is great for one’s health.
    2)very inexpensive for food, medicine,health care and housing,
    3)Excellent private medical care, usually paid by school
    4)Adequate public medical care that is free,
    5)Absolutely wonderful people, especially if you learn Spanish or at least try,
    6)NOT anti-American unless you refuse to try and integrate into their culture,or complain like a Gringo/a!
    7)Excellent toll highway system and fairly good local roads,
    8)Very historical, varied and beautiful country with lots of places to visit,
    9)Even in Mexico City very little really serious crime unless you are involved in running drugs or are stupidly wearing jewelry or exposing your riches without though.
    10)Mexicans are notoriously eager to help you, even if they give you the wrong directions while doing so..they want to help so much that they’ll fabricate to impress you.
    11) A full-time maid costs 20 USD/day or 150USD/a week and does the washing and ironing and may also cook and clean for that.
    12) Very non-violent, prefer to eat,drink and be merry (make love not war)etc.

    CONS

    1)A mix of first world and third world cultures with terribly corrupt politicians and many police.
    2)Quite racist, especially the so-called upper class. They are very much into class and skin colour determining your worth..the rich treat the poor like swine.
    3)Terrible public education system…quoted the worst in the PISA studies.
    4)Private schools often owner managed and therefore cash cows for people who don’t care about education, just the appearance thereof.
    5)Mexico City and some border states as well as anywhere where Americans are found in tourist quantities can be dangerous. Drugs and crime very high in these areas: Acapulco, MC, Juarez, Monterrey, Merida.
    6)Anything can be bought in Mexico and the laws are many but their application is rare.
    7)Very poor, aggressive and often drunk drivers on the roads, especially in MC and other large cities. Can be a real risk when driving at night.
    8)Drugs (even prescription) can be bought over the counter in most Mexican pharmacies…they have little training and no scruples about selling whatever you ask for.
    9)Alcohol is very cheap (a bad 40 oz.bottle of Tequila is 5 USD…after the 3rd drink you can’t tell the difference between it and a 50USD brand) and is sold to anyone (kids 9-10!!)…as an educator this bothered me the most after point 2 above.
    10)Very bureaucratic and slow for almost everything, but 200 pesos does grease the wheels quite well.
    11)Very apolitical and somewhat apathetic about their country’s ills…can be depressing to hear them talk..they don’t want to change things or believe that they can change them.
    12)Extremely Catholic and devout which can both impress and amaze you but is another way for the state and church to control the 70% of the population that is poor. (earn less than 5000USD/year).

    Overall a great place to work and live but use your common sense!

    I forgot to mention that salaries are very low here…a starting teacher will earn 10-15,000USD at the most and is taxed at 30%, plus sales taxes. Some schools pay much better but as you may guess, have too many candidates to choose from.

    I didn’t mention earlier that I am in Monterrey at the American School Foundation of Monterrey. We are one of the highest paying American Schools in Mexico with a nice package.

    Like

    • Anonymus says:

      YOU shouldn´t critize the “so-called upper class” that treats other people badly when you consider a pro hiring a maid for $150 a week…just saying. Plus this so-called upper class employs YOU.

      Like

      • Anonymous says:

        Working in an upper-class school does not justify tolerating discrimination. We are supposed to be there to make a difference!

        And about the maid, Domhuaille just gave figures of what they are paid, you cannot assume that he favors exploitation.

        Best.

        Like

  16. movieturtle says:

    I am in my 3rd year teaching in Monterrey Mexico, where a lot of the violence is being attributed. Mexico is a lovely country and as long as you are smart about your decisions of where to venture and when to go there you will be fine. My thought is that the violence happens all over the world, here they are not targeting teachers or expatriates in general. We had a scare at the beginning of the year when a shoot out occurred right outside our campus walls but nothing has happened since.

    We have obviously lost students because of this, including the consulate families and some of the more influential families in Mexico. The rest of us live on. We have had family members of students who are victims of violence, kidnappings, or carjackings but of our 2200 students that is happening to a fraction of the students.

    As a testament to our teachers and their love for our school, we are not losing many teachers because they don’t feel safe. The media blows a lot of things out of proportion as many international teachers know so take CNN at face value and do your research into an area before deciding to move there.

    I am happy and plan on staying in Monterrey for a couple of more years. Unless I start to feel targeted I will not be forced to leaved!!

    Like

    • sm1mik@gmail.com says:

      This review seems to be very contradictory. A shoot-out outside the school, kidnappings and carjackings do not sound like “blowing it out of proportion” to me. If consulates and companies are pulling employees out of the country that translates into real risk in my opinion.

      Like

      • ASFM Teacher says:

        At ASFM, this fall, body guards of some of the students were shot and killed right in front of the school. Perhaps your perspective of ‘blowing things out of proportion’ needs a little “tweak”.

        Like

        • movieturtle says:

          They were not body guards of the students. You should know your facts. I live here and I do not feel in danger. It has been 6 months since those events. I thought for sure there would be teachers who would hit the road after what the news portrays but we do not have teachers leaving this year because of their safety. I have not changed my day-to-day life because of the security. I am obviously more aware of everything but that is not a bad thing. The consulate over-reacted in my opinion but that is their decision. Each person who moves to a new country, even a new city in the States has to decide for themselves if it is a safe place to live. I’m just saying that things are blown out of proportion by the media and if you don’t know that then you are living under a rock.

          Like

          • Anonymus says:

            You should know that in the media, the ASFM community was not going to allow a media scandal saying that their families were at risk. YOU should know better before criticizing a teacher that lives daily inside the community.

            Like

            • movieturtle says:

              I don’t want to be snippy but I AM and ASFM teacher and have been for the past 5 years. I have lived through the calm, the storm, and the calm again. Know the facts.

              Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Hi movieturtle, we (wife & I) have contracts to teach in Monterrey, Mexico starting August 2013. Are you still in Monterrey? What school did you teach at? Can you email me to keep your answers confidential. My email is bajabobs@hotmail.com.

      Like

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