A fair number of European countries, excluding the one I originate from, have exited recession. The US is still struggling, and poor old Mexico is faring even worse, what with the triple whammy of recession, swine flu and bad press regards the drug gangs. But I can’t say I’m noticing. In fact I’m busier than ever, having taken on an extra couple of classes. I scarcely had room in my schedule for any more classes, but I’m greedy and what with my desire for a new camera and Christmas fast approaching, I managed to fit them in.
So how does it work, being a Business English teacher in Mexico City? I currently work 27 hours a week. Which isn’t an extraordinary amount, for someone working in a school. But I travel from class to class, giving lessons in my students offices – all my ‘students’ are working professionals, most of whom are 35 years old or older. Often older! My travelling time is currently running at 27 hours a week as well, which means I’m effectively doing a 54 hour working week.
Recompense for my efforts is good by Mexican standards. Not so good by my previous earning standards in the UK. But a Business English teacher can charge anything from 180 to 300 pesos an hour, depending on who they are teaching and what sort of experience they have. All these figures I’m quoting, it’s worth noting, are for independent classes. Some schools sell Business English classes, but few pay more than 180 pesos an hour. Most of them pay less. Some of them considerably so.
If I managed to get through a whole month without a cancellation, I could, in theory, take home something approaching 25,000 pesos. That’s enough to live happily with. Not enough to be worth bragging about or being kidnapped for! But I never collect that much anyway. I often lose 20 to 25% of my classes through cancellations, holidays and such and so forth. But really, anything over $10,000 allows a reasonable standard of living, if you’re a little careful. Forget saving cash or foreign holidays though!
The real motivation behind this post though, is the fact that my latest student wants a TOEFL study course. TOEFL is the English course for most Mexicans. And yet in 4 and a half years, he’s the first person I’ve taught who is actually studying for TOEFL. All my other students are simply looking to improve their English for professional use.