The Dominican Republic is spoilt for choice and for price. It really depends on where you are based. The references I am going to lay out here are just from my own personal experience and also from colleagues I have worked with, have worked there, and have told me some things about them.
- There are two main schools here. The “top” one is called Cap Cana Heritage School. From what I have heard when you walk in, it is like walking into the Four Seasons Resort. Nice place to study, with plenty of facilities, and apparently the most expensive school on the island. A lady I used to work with, left our school after 5 years, and got offered a job there. She is over the moon and raves about it. Again, she has only been there a few months and there is usually a honeymoon period in new jobs, however, she is very happy. The school should offer a decent enough salary and most likely pay in dollars $USD. They should also offer annual flights and accommodation. One thing to point out is the obvious. It is in Punta Cana, which means you need a car to get around, although you are minutes away from the airport, you are also 2 and a half hour drive from the capital city, Santo Domingo.
- The other school is Punta Cana International School, which is in Punta Cana Village, which means it is about 4km to the nearest beach, “Playa Blanca” if I am not mistaken. Another colleague left our school for this school and seems to like it, however, all the accommodation was occupied by other staff members, so they put her up in accommodation in a nearby village and she is bussed to and from daily, not really my cup of tea. However, a colleague of mine used to work there for many years and talked highly about it, at least from a teacher’s perspective. Both schools offer the US Curriculum and are not IB schools.
- These are your two schools in Punta Cana:
- Takeaways: Great weather and near the beach! Remember the DR is an Island, and although it is, there are no beaches in Santo Domingo and most beaches in Punta Cana are private, which means you can only access the ones which are “public” and might be a distance away. However a lot of teachers buy or rent bicycles or mopeds, and those with some money might even buy a car. It is really up to you and personally my fiancee and I bought land in Punta Cana and plan to live there within the next 10 years and build the house of our dreams, but for the moment, I just feel, I would be a tad bored after the honeymoon period is up.
- Here you are spoilt for choice, I will mention a few and talk about 3 schools in particular. The main school, in terms of pay, facilities, and benefits is Carol Morgan. It is an international American school with about 1000 students. They have over 14 AP subjects, 2 football fields (soccer) one is grass, and the other is astroturf. The place is huge compared to any other school in the area and is a beautiful and quiet place also. Anyway. Tuition here is about 23k, if you work here, your kids can go for free, some savings there! Entry-level teachers take home about $3500USD plus nice accommodation in a very nice area, usually within walking distance from the school, which is great as the traffic in the city sucks! The school offers (like most schools) a salary in USD, comprehensive medical insurance, annual flights, visas, and a 2 to a 3-year contract. I have also heard you have to work harder there than at other schools in the capital.
- SMS or St. Michaels School is another American school (catholic) and is in the heart of the city, a place called Piantini. This school is a lot smaller, you typically work between 15 to 20 contact teaching hours per week and have on average 18 students per class. The school offers some AP classes, but not as many as Carol Morgan. Again, if you are a teacher here or are planning to come and teach, you will be offered free tuition if you have children and an apartment on-site. The salary is ok if you are single, however, if you are a couple, it would be better to be a teaching couple as one salary would not be enough to sustain two people. Students, in general, are very nice and the headmaster is from the US, a very easy-going guy I met recently. The salary is paid in USD, and annual flights (generous), visas, and medical insurance are included.
- St. George School: This is the only IB school on the Island or the only one with a good reputation. They offer IGCSE and IB classes. I met the headmaster of the school, a lovely lady, the head of secondary and also the head of English are all females. They are a little bigger than St. Michaels in terms of space (city center locations). They pay in local currency (pesos) and offer up to $700USD for an apartment, which is not much, or you can choose to share accommodation with other teachers (not for me, sorry!). I have another colleague who left us and went there and said it was a lovely school to work for. Again, they offer free tuition, annual flights capped at $700, and paid in USD 3 months after, so say you go fly home (UK) in July, you get it reimbursed in October. However, in SMS you get your money before you fly as most teachers book well in advance, St. George does not work this way. However, their starting salary is around 100k pesos and SMS is a little less… So, they kind of work out about the same.
- Other schools I have heard about but am not too familiar with are “New Horizon” (Santo Domingo) and Abraham Lincoln in la Romana. Sosua Internation School is in the north, next to Puerto Plata. The benefit of being up north is the weather and having access to many different beaches, but the benefits and conditions I am unaware of them, I do know that they have a good few foreigners and it is a great place to live and meet others as many foreigners tend to migrate there, Sosua and Cabarete, which are next to each other are spoilt for beaches and are famous for surfing and wind and kit surfing, apparently they hold annual world champion events. There are other schools in the DR, but these are the ones I know of and are good in terms of teaching and for your children’s education if you decide to look for work here or are planning on coming to the DR to live and work.