I got my TEFL certificate to teach English abroad and of course Ecuador was an obvious choice, considering all the positive experiences I had there a few years ago while studying abroad. Here are some photos of the first few weeks getting together with the host family cousins!
On top of that, I made my new best friend Luana. My host sister Gaby and her lovely partner Juanse have a 1 year old who I adore spending time with. The photo on the left is of Emily (my Canadian pal who studied here with me during Ecuador 1.0) and I with a terrified Luana, and the second photo is Luana very intrigued by my phone.
But let's be upfront: 1. You will not become a millionaire teaching ski lessons, yet 2. It will not matter because you'll be having fun. Let's dive in.
One important thing you should know about ski instructing is that you are only paid for the time you are on snow teaching lessons. This means that although you might be asked to come in at 8:30, you won't get paid until you begin teaching your lesson at 10:00. I was fairly good at getting hours doing non-lesson activities, such as running the magic carpet (it brings the 3 year olds up the 5 meters of beginner terrain) or setting up the fencing in the morning. That being said, it wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that 1/4 of my time during my work hours was unpaid due to the nature of the beast. On the busiest days, I'd show up at 8:30, get on snow for a 9:00 lesson, teach until 12:00, have another lesson from 12:00 to 1:00, and an afternoon session from 1:00 to 3:00. If I was needed, I might run the magic carpet from 3:30 to 4:00, totaling 6.5 hours. This only happened a handful of times, and my average was probably closer to 4.5 hours. Since there are so many people willing to teach lessons, one cannot demand to be paid when they are waiting for lessons to show up. Similarly, one cannot complain when they can take free runs to the top of the hill on their lunch break. It's a trade-off, but overall I enjoyed the experience, especially with such a friendly snow sports team.
I was lucky enough to have free rent during my three months instructing (thanks mom & dad), so it didn't matter all that much that I was only making only a bit above minimum wage. My commute to the mountain was about 25 to 30 minutes in the morning, which might bother some people but I quite enjoyed listening to my Portuguese audiobook. I did have car troubles on two occasions, hence giving up those hours, and school groups sometimes cancelled because of snow storms.
I really enjoyed teaching the 8 to 9 year olds how to ski because they were often on the chairlift, which meant I got to ski too. Teaching the 3 to 4 year olds was also fun, but more challenging since we spent the majority of time trying not to fall over. The group I enjoyed the most was probably the adult skiers, because once you break the fear of falling, most are surprised by how well they do.
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