El Conquistqdor Francisco de Orellana

El Conquistqdor Francisco de Orellana
The Conquistador who put the Amazaon baisn "on the map"....Francisco Orellana

Friday, August 24, 2012

Income Idea: Teach English in Ecuador

By Steve Marchant

I put down the phone, not for the first time that sunny Sunday morning, and gazed out of the wide lounge window that looked out over Quito’s skyline. The rugged eastern cordillera of the Andes shimmered in the distance under a tropical sun.

My plan to make money in Ecuador was working pretty well. A $15 advert in the local El Comercio newspaper advertising my services as an English teacher working al domicilio (at the client’s home/office) had already led to eight phone calls.

In countries like Ecuador, nearly all professionals can further their career by learning English. Plus, middle-class parents want their children to speak English too. There’s no shortage of demand.

I had no qualifications as a teacher but after quickly reading up on lesson plans online, spending $200 on textbooks and putting them together with a large dose of confidence, I was able to launch a new career.

With work flowing in, I was soon ingrained into life in Quito. Working from clients’ homes and offices meant I got to see a lot of the city. I would be buzzed into plush homes and apartments and invariably offered an instant coffee. (Ecuador is home to exquisite Arabica coffee but the locals are in the midst of a confounding love affair with Nescafe.)

Through trial and error, I quickly found out how to teach my own language. It’s tricky at first, but I was delighted to discover that it was enjoyable, too.

I can’t think of a better way to integrate yourself into local society. For many Quiteños, having a private English tutor is quite a coup. They almost wanted to show me off. Suddenly, I had more invites than I could handle. Drinks out with young professionals...visiting school opening days of the children I taught...weekend barbecues on sunny lawns...

The end of the last evening class more than once saw me sat on a sofa downing a Pilsener beer with my student’s family while watching Ecuadorian soccer.

In the years since I arrived, Quito changed dramatically. The economy is booming and despite (or maybe because of) that, the Quiteños still smile and gossip and drink Nescafe.

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