After living in Argentina for a year and working as an English teacher, I have a lot of experience with the dos and don’ts of this European-inspired city. Just one example, do not assume that you can get a full-time English teaching job at one place. More than likely, you will teach for multiple language institutes and travel all over the city. Don’t let this thought discourage your aspirations of heading south, however. If you follow my advice, you can be making money as a TEFL teacher in Buenos Aires in no time.
Have a killer CV: Forget everything you learned in college about having a concise resume. Argentine employers want to read a paragraph about each of your most relevant experiences. Oh, they also want to see a huge picture of your face on the top right corner (the cheesier the better). If I remember correctly, mine was standing on a boat with The Statue of Liberty as the backdrop- doesn’t get much more native-speaker than Lady Liberty. Remember you will more than likely work for adult professionals, so tailor your CV to this. Any experience with business English, communicating with adults or other relevant work experience will work in your favor.
Chain institutes are not your friend: Think about your local chain fast-food restaurant. It’s on every corner and frustratingly convenient to pop in. When you make the decision to go to a smaller place down the road instead of Burger King, you thank yourself. This is a case seen all too many times with English language institutes in Buenos Aires. You will see a Wall-Street Institute on every corner and immediately think that’s THE PLACE to work. Well think again, chain institutes pay the least and their methods of teaching English are about as dry as the Sahara. Seek out smaller institutes and get to know the bosses. If they see you as a dedicated teacher, they will give you more classes as they come along.
Become your own boss: While language institutes are reliable and accredited, you are the reason they can afford to keep their doors open. Market yourself on sites like Craigslist as a “Private English Teacher.” Every country has it’s own version, like Mercadolibre.com in Buenos Aires. Professionals are more willing to pay the big bucks when you can work around their schedule. Make a plan to meet for an “interview” in a coffee shop. From there, set your price and stick with it. After awhile, you will be teaching every lawyer from Puerto Madero to Belgrano.
These are just a few of the teaching tips I picked up in Argentina. I mean I wasn’t exactly Bill Gates, but I did pretty well for myself. Good luck, future entrepreneur.