TEFL/TESOL in Panama
Panama is a narrow isthmus which links Central America to South America. It is a major business centre and also home to the Panama Canal which links the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
Although the official language is Spanish, due to a strong US presence English is widely spoken and many Panamanian schools are bilingual. Having said this, much of the English teaching in state schools is not of the highest quality and teaching is often done in Spanish using translation methods. A number of private schools over high quality English teaching however.
The basic qualifications to teach in Panama is a degree and a TEFL Certificate such as the ICAL TEFL Certificate. Some jobs are available without the certificate but they are few and far between.
Panama is growing as a tourist and business destination and with many tourists coming from the US, knowledge of English is a great asset. The Panama Canal is also undergoing major reconstruction (due for completion in 2014) and thus there are many foreign workers who need to communicate in English.
There are, therefore, many jobs available to the right candidate with the right qualifications as the demand is high for teachers of both General English as well as ESP – business & engineering as well as EAP for students heading off to the US to study.
A small 1 bedroom apartment in a reasonable area will cost about 400 USD per month. It is difficult to find furnished accommodation so before accepting a job offer, you should check with the school that they will organise some kind of accommodation for you. Renting will require one month’s deposit which you will get back some 2 months after you vacate the property.