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If you can’t get work secured before travelling, you will find yourself working on a tourist visa, which is of course illegal, but this is what most people will end up doing. Changing a tourist visa to a working one once you’re in the country is very difficult - like most other Latin American countries, Ecuador can be very bureaucratic. It’s a common scam that schools will deduct tax even when you’re employed illegally - they obviously aren’t paying tax for you, but in the circumstances there’s not much you can do about it.
It’s very easy to get work by just dropping in to the British Council in Quito with a CV - in Spanish if possible. Neat dress is important - people will not take you seriously if you’re scruffy. I found it very easy to get private students, but there’s one big problem with them. That is that they keep cancelling classes, often at the last minute! This is because most people in Ecuador work extremely hard for very little money - 25 cents an hour is not unusual - and they find it very hard to fit English classes into a 12 or 14 hour day, even though there is a lot of pressure on people to learn English. For this reason I think it’s easier to work for a school – at least if you’re teaching a group, there’s more chance of some of your students turning up and allowing you to get paid.
Ecuadorians themselves are some of the warmest and most welcoming people I’ve ever met, and it’s a pleasure to teach them and work with them. Unfortunately for them, US dominance in their country means that many people have the attitude that learning English will lead them to a life of wealth and luxury. This is sad, but the positive side is that they make very attentive and hardworking students.
It’s a fairly safe country, but definitely not by European standards - there are guns everywhere, and the police force is worse than useless. Carry as little of value on your person as possible, and check with locals about where to avoid in each town.