Category Archives: #teachenglish

Make a Better World – Crear un Mundo Mejor

El español está por debajo.

I know that I can learn something from every person that I meet, and that I can share something with every person that I meet. So I am looking for people who want to learn from other people, and who want to share with other people opportunities, education, cooperation, and service.

I am a U.S.citizen by birth and I am proud of my country, and I admit that my country has taken too much from our neighbors to the South, so I feel it is time for my country to give more to Central and South America than is received.

I have no interest in building an organization that feels superior to the people that are helped. This is about people helping people, and it is an open project with endless possibilities.

I am an English Teacher and a Spanish Learner that loves to travel, and I have business and marketing experience that I would like to apply for the benefit of my neighbors to the South, especially for the benefit of the people who are not part of the richest 20% that control 90% of the wealth. Here is a link to my “Offer of Talent,”, and I invite you to add your offer to this document which anyone on the internet can edit and support through an offer.

The organization that I am building is not currently funded, and so we cannot employ people or pay organizations to help us. All that we have to offer right now is time, talent, tourism, and a willingness to make a better world.


Sé que puedo aprender algo de cada persona que me encuentro, y que puedo compartir algo con cada persona que me encuentro. Así que estoy buscando para las personas que quieran aprender de otras personas, y que quieran compartir con otras personas oportunidades, educación, cooperación, y servicio.

Yo soy un ciudadano de los EE. UU. por nacimiento y estoy orgulloso de mi país, y tengo que admitir que mi país ha tomado mucho de nuestros vecinos del sur, por lo tanto siento que es el momento para que mi país peuda dar más a América Central y América del Sur de lo que se recibe.

No tengo ningún interés en la creación de una organización que se siente superior a las personas que reciben ayuda. Esto es acerca de la gente ayudando a la gente, y es un proyecto abierto con un sinfín de posibilidades.

Soy profesor de inglés y un estudiante de español y me encanta viajar, y tengo experiencia en los negocios y de mercadeo que me gustaría aplicar para el beneficio de mis vecinos del sur, sobre todo para el beneficio de las personas que no son parte de la 20% más rico que controlan el 90% de la riqueza . Aquí hay un enlace a mi “Oferta de Talento,”, y le invito a usted agregue su oferta a este documento que cualquier persona puede editar y apoyar a través de una oferta.

La organización que estoy creando no se financia en la actualidad, por lo tanto no se puede emplear a personas ni pagar organizaciones para ayudarnos. Todos lo que podemos ofrecer ahora mismo son tiempo, talento, turismo, y la voluntad de crear un mundo mejor.


On Teaching English

I´d like to share with you a little about my experience teaching English in Ecuador, as well as talk about the business of teaching English in Latin America and abroad. 

I finished up my 3-month teaching cycle a few days ago.  I taught 3 classes, which I affectionately called my Niños, Chicos, and Sabados.  In my Niños class were two boys about 10 years old, there were three teens in my Chicos class, and my Sabados (Saturdays) class was mixture of niños, chicos, and two adult students. 

Most of my students called me “Teacher.”  Maybe that will be my new nickname, kind of like the boxers who have nicknames such as Joe “Sledgehammer” Wilcox, or Calvin “MessWithYou” Jones.  Now I´m Keith “Teacher” Kreuz … not really that menacing of a moniker, but a part of me always wanted an extra name that is surrounded by quotation marks. 

I have a newfound respect for English teachers, or for that matter all teachers.  Being a teacher is not only a lot of work for comparatively little pay, but it can also feel like a huge responsibility.  This may seem odd or comical to you, but sometimes I was concerned that if I did not clarify a specific grammar point or facet of the language, that I might negatively impact their progress.  Or, if I were too firm in establishing order in my classroom, such as in my Saturday class that included rambunctious chicos, would I discourage them from wanting to learn more English in the future?

 I loved my chicos, but I am not going to miss a single one of them.  Teens are teens the world over.  I hope they all have happy and successful lives, and I´m praying that I never have to teach teens again … ever. 

The niños were great, too.  They were not nearly as disruptive or challenging as the teens were, but in a heartbeat niños can go from being on task … to building castles made of erasers, pencils, scratch paper, etc.  They can be very resourceful in finding building materials.  One of my niños, during the final exam no less, decided to see how many pockmarks he could put in his eraser.  With my niños I felt like a farmer with a cattle prod who constantly had to poke them to keep them going in the direction I wanted them to go. 

My adult students were a lot like me, they were looking for the magic key that opens the door to fluency.  But that key does not exist, for the only way to become proficient in a new language is through consistent effort over a long period of time.  Sometimes I put my adult students through drills such as  … say this … now say it again … now say it in a slightly different way … now say it in the negative, etc.  However, they quickly tired of such drills, and in spite of the fact that they still didn´t fully understand the specific point I was trying to teach them, and in spite of the fact that I know that these drills are helpful, they were ready to move on to something else.  I´ve actually searched for a Spanish teacher who will drill me like that, who will pound into my head in a fun and creative way some foundational blocks I can build upon.  But not all students are alike, and where pounding seems like it would help me, each of my adult students of English can have a different learning style.  All any teacher can do is their best to guide and inform each individual student.

With regard to teaching English abroad, it seems that many of the teaching positions for pay are in schools or businesses that cater to the rich and privileged class, that cater to this extremely small segment of society.  (At least that appears to be the case in Latin America).  And in spite of the fact that this is the clientele, teacher pay remains relatively low.  (Someone is banking the money somewhere).  So then it becomes a game of how cheaply can you live in order to make teaching abroad worth your time and effort. 

In strictly business terms, this opportunity to teach English in Ecuador has not been profitable.  My wife and I invested much more money in this opportunity than we got back in return.  But we knew that would be the case, and we were willing to make this investment in order to learn something about the business of teaching English internationally … and we were also investing in a South American vacation together.

I´ve already decided that if I´m going to teach English to the privileged class in the future, I´m going to seek better pay relative to the cost of living.  I think that private, for-profit, business schools would be the way to go.  The other option is to pursue opportunities to teach English to the marginalized, to the less fortunate, to the poor … and expect to receive little or no pay. 

The ability to speak English as a second language can be a powerful tool that gives someone more opportunities, better job prospects, higher pay … who knows, it could even lift someone out of poverty.  And if it could lift one person out of poverty, perhaps it could be a hand-up to an entire village. 

Do you think that you might be interested in teaching English?  If so, I have some advice for you.  The business of teaching English is a HUGE industry, and getting bigger by the moment.  It seems that everyone wants a piece of the pie.  There are also competing certificates, and one can be overwhelmed by the amount of choices available when wading into this business.  I did a lot of research on the industry, and decided that since I already have my college degree that the TEFL certificate was the one I could get the quickest and without too much expense.  (TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Foreign Language).  The TEFL certificate is widely accepted throughout the world, and paired with a college degree it makes you an even more desirable candidate.  The problem is that you will find hundreds of TEFL certificate providers when searching the internet, including lots of fly-by-night providers that will gladly take a lot of your money and give you a crappy experience in return for a piece of paper.  Again, I spent a lot of time researching the industry, and I narrowed my choice down to 2 very well-known and respected TEFL certificate providers.  One is called i-to-I TEFL, which is based in the UK … and the other is based in the United States and called BridgeTEFL.  I might sound like a North American snob for saying this, but I opted not to go with i-to-I in spite of the fact they were a little less expensive; after watching i-to-i videos and completing their initial assessment, I decided I did not want to be trained by people who spoke with heavy British accents.  Thus, I chose BridgeTEFL. 

BridgeTEFL provides local classes in several cities across the United States; however, the upcoming classes in Salt Lake City were booked when I tried to enroll.  As a result, I opted to do all of my training online at their online site  I went with the 120-hour “Master Diploma,” and it cost about $420.  It took me about 8 weeks to complete the course, and I was very pleased with it.  Something else you should know is that completing the course was not a walk in the park, which I was also pleased about.  They don´t call it a 120-hour course for nothing, for that is the amount of time it takes to finish it.  You will have your own tutor that grades your assignments and is available via email to answer any questions you might have, but other than that you just read the information on the web site and watch the videos and then complete the quizzes and do the writing assignments (that your tutor grades).  When you complete the program you receive an access code that enables you to download and print your certificate, and each certificate issued has a unique number.  You can also give out your access code and certificate number to any school that might want to hire you, and they can go to the Bridge website and verify that you indeed completed the BridgeTEFL program.  Like I said, I was very pleased with BridgeTEFL, and doing it all online was very convenient. 

Regarding pay, English teaching positions in Asia generally pay better because several governments are funding the programs in order to make their people more competitive in the world markets.  I´ve heard that you can make $20K per year in Asia, and in addition receive an apartment and return airfare.  But for me, I don´t have any interest right now in going to Japan, China, Thailand, Cambodia, or any of those other places over there.  My interest is in going places where I can also work on improving my Spanish, so Latin America and Spain are my target areas.  In Spanish speaking countries you can earn enough to cover all of your expenses and bank some cash as well, especially if you can live frugally and hold the line on expenses.  As for my wife and I, we are not so much looking to make this a lucrative venture as we are looking to fund adventures.

Journey to Cuenca

Por fin … we´re in the air.

I´m on a full Continental Airlines flight that just lifted off from Salt Lake City in route to Houston, and then I´m on to Panama City, finally arriving in Quayaquil later tonight. The airport was packed this morning, and the line to go through security was so long that it nearly reached the exit door. Fortunately, I had my iPod with me, and one 30-minute Pimsleur Spanish lesson lasted me all the way to the passport check desk. Waiting in line is so much more tolerable when you have something to occupy your mind, as opposed to watching anxiously with critical eyes everything that is happening around you. So, I wasn´t one of the people thinking things like:

“Why would anyone wear flip-flops in Utah in December while rushing to catch a flight? Now there´s a big clan of rich spoiled brats. How can you be so oblivious to the dozens of people waiting behind you — move! Why do all the people with anything that looks like a kid get to cut in front of us? Got enough makeup on there, lady? Who the hell travels with a snow thrower? Hmm … I didn´t know that a leopard skin top went so well with plaid pants?”

Actually, I´m exaggerating a bit with regard to the snow thrower, and I must confess that I did wonder about the guy in flip-flops while thinking to myself that that is something I don´t ever see me doing — but who knows?

I´m excited to be on this adventure to Ecuador, and also a bit anxious about the prospect of teaching up to 4 different English classes a day. I´ll get my assignments during Teacher orientation a few days from now. But there´s a fair bit of travel to do before then, as well as new things to experience and new people to meet along the way.


I´m on the plane in Houston, waiting to take off for Panama. Looks like we´re about 20 minutes late departing — Latin American time has already started!

My final destination is Cuenca, which is increasingly becoming a popular destination for retirees from the United States and Canada. They can live in Cuenca for about half the cost of living in North America, and not sacrifice anything in the way of creature comforts.

Interestingly, the retired American couple sitting beside me on the plane considered moving to Cuenca, at least for part of the year, but decided against it after seeing 3 of their retired neighbors in Panama move to Cuenca only to return to Panama some time later.

I´m not sure that my wife and I can use that as a guage for the retirement-ability of Cuenca, since this couple (and presumably their friends) want to live where many other expats live in retirement. In fact, seeing expats such as these leave Cuenca might be a good sign for us — we don´t want to go with the expat flow.

The retired gentleman sitting beside me said another thing that indicated how different him and I might think. I asked him what activities he´s engaged in right there in his Panamanian expat hot spot, and he said, “I mostly sit around and drink coffee with my buddies.” Except for the caffeine, in my opinion that type of lifestyle is not very stimulating.

In some respects it´s difficult to believe that retirement is just around the corner, but the reality is that Sheri will complete her 30 years of service to the Government in 5 more years. Life already feels like it is flying by, so the next 5 years surely will fly by as well.

One of our goals in life, which we firest applied to our wedding, and which we seek to apply to every experience that feels like it could fly by, is … no blurage. By that we mean that we are going to focus on preventing the experience from becoming a blur. Stay in the moment … enjoy … take in the sounds, sites, flavors, and feelings … no blurage.

So, right now is the perfect time to apply that goal. I don´t want to wake up 3 months from now having failed to fully live my 3-month stint as an English Teacher to Ecuadorians. And on top of that, there is a whole new culture to experience … different sounds, different sites, different flavors, different people. Sheri will be with me here for the month of February, and hopefully we´ll help each other stay focused on the present.

And speaking of the present, we are now in the air on our way to Panama City.


I´m in the air again, this time en route from Panama to Guayaquil, Ecuador. We are scheduled to arrive at 11:30 P.M. Guayaquil-time, and at this point I have no idea how that compares to Salt Lake City time — I´m not sure how many time zones I´ve travelled through, perhaps only a few.

When I arrive in Guayaquil I plan to take a taxi to the bus station, and then get on either the 12:30 A.M. or 1:30 A.M. bus for a 4-hour bus ride to Cuenca. I hope that I´ll be able to get some sleep on the bus.

When I arrive in Cuenca I´ll probably have breakfast and then do some exploring before going to the school where I´ll be teaching English. Teacher orientation will be the next day, but I´ll go to the school a day early to get the list of available apartments nearby. I already have a hostal line up to stay in for 4 nights to give me time to find an apartment, and can also stay there for the rest of the month for only $10 a night. For that price I´ll have a private room and bathroom, and have access to a shared kitchen.

I´ve entered a part of the world where Spanish is the default language, and English is an option when available. Another thing I´ve noticed is that I´m starting to tower over people in height; the difference is nowhere near as pronounced as it was in the highlands of Guatemala, but I´m definitely one of the tallest people in the room now. And speaking of differences, when was the last time you the reader received a complimentary meal on your flight? Evidently, that is still the norm once you fly out of U.S. airspace … I received a meal both on the way to Panama and on the way to Ecuador.

We´re about 30 minutes from Ecuador. I think I´ll try to catch a few ZZ´s before we land.


Wow! What a ride! As I write these words, it´s about 3:30 A.M., and I am sitting in my room in the hostal in Cuenca. I did not expect to be here so early.

Guayaquil was kind of a blur. The passport verification line went fast, and so did the line to go through customs. Next thing I know I´m in a taxi headed for the bus station. I must say that the bus station in not nearly as pretty as it looked in the online pictures. It´s an extremely large, cavernous, building, with dozens of little tiendas inside, most of which were closed at midnight. I fumbled around in there trying to find my way to the ticket office, and after being sent in 2 or 3 different directions, I found myself taking the elevator up one floor. There I spied a bus with the engine running and it was looking like it was ready to leave. I asked 2 guys standing nearby where that bus was going, and they said Cuenca. So I asked if I could get on, and they asked me for my ticket. I said I didn´t have one … and so after paying an under the table $1 fee, they let me through the gate and flagged down the bus with me (as it had started to pull away from the curb). Turns out the guy helping me was the driver´s assistant, so he took my one bag and through it under the bus in storage, and then we both jumped on and away we went.

And boy, did we ever go. Somehow I managed to get on the “midnight express.” Everything I had ever read said that the bus ride from Guayaquil to Cuenca should take at least 4 hours, but we made it in 3 hours and 20 minutes. That bus was barreling down the highway, slinging us all back and forth as the skillful bus driver navigated the curves in the road as we ascended from sea level up to Cuenca which sits at 8300 feet above sea level.

I´m here!

Ecuador, here we come!

God willing and the creek don’t rise, I will be leaving next week for Ecuador to begin a 3-month stint as an English Teacher for a nonprofit academic institution by the name of Center for Interamerican Studies ( Sheri will set out on February 1st to join me, eager to spend the month of February traversing the city of Cuenca and surrounding areas in search of all the best restaurants, yoga classes, woven fabrics, and anything else that looks fun and adventurous.

I will be blogging about our adventures and sending each blog article to the friends and family on our email distribution list. If you’re reading this email message, you’re on the list and will be receiving our updates. However, if you would prefer not to receive our updates, just reply to this message and ask to be removed from the list – no problem, I’ll remove your email address immediately!

It would be fantastic if you could send a donation to the Tandana Foundation through our FirstGiving website This is an organization that is forging friendships and providing direct assistance to many people in Ecuador.

Hasta luego, Amigos (See you later, Friends). Voy a escribirles otra vez muy pronto de Ecuador. (I’m going to write to you again very soon from Ecuador).

Keith and Sheri