My first interview last year was with the Dublin Institute (or something with "Dublin" in the name).
-A classmate from my teaching class taught there and said it took no preparation.
-It seemed like a factory.
-They offered AR$17/hr (this year it's probably AR$20/hr)
-You teach mostly in their rooms, so you're not traveling all over town on subtes & colectivos.
-I found better offers.
My first interview was also Dublin. They were paying 18 the hour when I interviewed, in last March, which at that time was definitely below the market price, and they knew it. I told them that I knew the market price was at least 20, and they said fine, we will pay you 20. I ended up not taking the job there anyway because I didn´t like the work environment - they were not respectful of my comfort as a teacher, gave me classes from 8 am to 8 pm every day. Are they crazy?
Look there are one billion institutes in BA. Distribute your CV and you will nver stop receiving emails. It´s impossible to recommend one specific institute, or warn you about others. What i suggest, is that when you go to the interviews, you ask the following questions:
1. what is their cancellation policy? This is VERY important, because teaching individual classes you have an incredible number of cancellations. This means you often don´t get paid, and lose a lot of time. Stick to institutes that have a 24 hour cancellation policy - if students cancel afterwards, you still get paid.
2. will they give you back-to-back blocks of classes? This is also extremely important, because if they schedule you for classes at 8 am, 12 am, 4 pm, and 8 pm, and each class lasts one hour, you have probably been out of the house all day, travelling all day, for less than 100 pesos. It is nearly impossible to live like that.
3. will they provide you with materials? Many institutes won´t. And photocopies are expensive, and printing (if you dont have a printer here) is even more so. You end up spending a good portion of your hourly rate on materials...not to mention the time lost looking for them!
4. where EXACTLY are the classes? Most institutes do not have all the classes in one place - you willl likely travel a lot. Make sure they show you where your classes are, and check that they are being honest (often, they try to trick you into taking classes with ridiculous travel times - because they take you for the Stupid Foreigner).
5. Don´t accept the first offers you get if they aren´t very good. You´ll get many, don´t worry.
6. Don´t accept less than 23 pesos the hour. That is now the current minimum market rate at institutes. If you want to give private classes, you could charge between 30 and 40 the hour.
7. Most importantly, the job interview is usually where YOU interview the INSTITUTE. Chances are they will take you either way. This is your opportunity to evaluate whether their institute is good for YOU!
This advice comes from someone who has been teaching for a little less than a year. I could have mistaken some things, and I´m not a total expert, but I´ve played with my share of institutes, and they are, as a whole, evil. But don´t let that stop you - when you have lovely students it is the best profession! Good luck in your search!!
KatharineAnn & Napolean, thank you for your posts and the helpful information you provided.
I've been reading many blogs about what it is like to teach English in BsAs, so for the most part, I am informed as to what I face.
I did not realize that some schools have a 24 hour cancelation policy in place; this is good to know. I will be sure to ask.
Interviews for English Language Institutes should ALWAYS be in English. If they try to talk to you in Spanish, you should tell them you would like to do the interview in English, as that is the language you will be using in your work! Besides, they typically want to hear what you´re English sounds like! (most of your interviewers will not be native speakers - you have the advantage here usually)