It's been one week since my last day at the language institute. I was so excited about leaving that job that I made a countdown chain. Reminiscent of my days in the third grade, I excitedly ripped off one chain per day for one month. Until this, the final chain. Celebration all around!
Here's what I learned from my first Peruvian expat job:
1. Things in Peru take a lllooonnnggg time. It took two and a half months and my boyfriend pretending to be my lawyer in order to get my visa process moving. Finally on day 88 my papers were submitted. I began work in the middle of March. Eight months after first making contact with my employer.
2. Working conditions outside of the US are not the same as inside the US. This I should have expected, and it was my own ignorance that led to my sincere disappointment. That being said, my current full time job is wonderful: I am appreciated, compensated for my time and effort and it feels like a community. So maybe this lesson is about the institute itself. Let's change it to: This anonymous institute fails at employee relations.
3. Students are the reason teachers teach. I've known this my whole life, either from my own teachers or from my dad who is a professor. But since this was my first teaching job, I had never experienced it. It's true. It broke my heart to leave all my students.
4. Peruvians are incredibly hard workers. My fellow teachers were some of the most hardworking people I have ever met. They worked insane hours and I never heard a complaint. The cleaning lady was there first thing in the morning and didn't leave until well past dark. Everyone was serious about their job and did it well. This is not only true of my former colleagues, but of most Peruvians I have encountered thus far.
and the last thing I learned...
5. Expat teachers should skip the institutes and go private. It's true that I needed this institute in order to get my visa and they gave me a good jump start. But other than that, I think most native English speakers should skip the institutes and create their own private teaching business. The hours are flexible, you can choose the material and your paycheck will increase by at least five times.
I'm thankful for the start in Peru and to be holding my work visa, but other than that I say, "Adios!"