Gustavo Albarracin Talks About Life as a Teacher in Peru

By | October 30, 2013

I live and work in Peru, a country in South America, on the Pacific Ocean. It is famous for its gourmet food and ancient Inca constructions, such as Ollantaitambo and Machu Picchu. Being a place so touristy, and having a population of 27 million people, means that English schools hardly ever have to suffer of a lack of students. It seems like all Peruvians nowadays want to speak English.

The school where I work is huge and has 12 branches around the capital city, Lima. It is sponsored by the British embassy and has been operating in the country for as long as 75 years. I studied there myself and after graduating they offered me a job as an English teacher. So far I’ve been teaching for more than 10 years.

Picture taken by Gustavo Albarracin

Picture taken by Gustavo Albarracin

Most of the teachers in my school are local, but we do have some native speakers/foreigners. Some come from very far places like Ireland, Scotland or even Australia. Some of them stay just for the summer ( January- March) but a few fall in love with the country and end up staying for 1, 2 or more years.

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I love my job, it has given me the opportunity to make a living, to study education at university, to see a bit of the world and to meet fantastic people; teachers and students. Let me tell you a little bit of our daily routine in my school, the classes and the students.

All teachers have 4 classes a day (which means we work between 6-8 hours) and are in charge of approximately 50 pupils. Most of the students are very young, aged between 14 and 25.

Picture taken by Gustavo Albarracin

Picture taken by Gustavo Albarracin

Although the students are very different from each other and come from different locations and backgrounds, I feel they have something in common, an eagerness to learn, to communicate, and to make new friends and get to know each other. Everybody seems to be very motivated and we rarely have problems of discipline or disruptive behaviour.

There is a big interest for young people in Peru to learn English. One of the main reasons for this is the media. There is the Internet and the social networks (Twitter, Facebook), there is the American music and the telly, the news from the BBC and YouTube and all over. Another reason is probably that most jobs now require people to be able to speak a second language, and students see learning English as an opportunity to maybe get a better job and be able to provide a better life for their families.

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