Teaching English in Spain: The Basics

Teaching English in Spain: The Basics
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Spain has become a top destination for EFL teachers. English is the most studied foreign language in every stage in the Spanish education system.

According to the official statistics published by the Spanish Ministry of Education, the figures are as follows (both state and private schools are analysed):

  • 83,4% of students in pre-school education are studying English as a second language.
  • 99,1% of students in primary education are studying English as a second language.
  • 98,3% of students in secondary education are studying English as a second language.
  • 94,6% of students in advanced secondary education are studying English as a second language.

Based on these numbers, we can see the high demand for English teachers that Spain has all year round. Teaching English in Spain offers many advantages to teachers who decide to embark into something that will likely become one of the most exciting periods in their lifetimes.

Bag english and spanish flags

Reasons to choose Spain as your destination to teach English

  • The cost of living is cheaper than in northern European countries
  • Hiring season is all year round, though the peak hiring months are September, October, January, and February.
  • The wonderful and varied culture and interesting history
  • The always lively and fun-filled social life
  • The warmth and hospitality of Spaniards
  • The pleasant Mediterranean climate
  • The exquisite gastronomy all Spanish people are very proud of. No doubt that the Mediterranean diet has been repeatedly called the best and healthiest in the world.
  • The language. Spanish is the second most spoken language worldwide and the figure of those speaking Spanish as their second language is expected to grow more in the very near future.

Where to teach English in Spain

The demand for English teachers in Spain is widespread across a variety of educational establishments such as:

  • a) Private language schools.
  • b) State or Public language schools (subsidised by the Government).
  • c) Universities (usually private, since state/public universities are only open to those who have sat the “oposiciones” or their civil service examinations).
  • d) Primary and secondary schools, both state/public and private.
  • e) Nurseries, private and state/public.

You can find work as an English teacher in all the cities of Spain but more so in the major ones. Logically, the greatest demand is found in the larger cities such as:

1. Madrid

The capital of Spain is, by far, the city offering the most opportunities to TEFL teachers. A great city to live in, with a rich history and things to do at any time of the day, any day of the year. Though it is more expensive than other Spanish cities, the higher salaries make up for it. There are many schools as well as private academies offering jobs to qualified and certified EFL/ESL teachers. The most prestigious and best schools require their teachers to have a British Council recognised TEFL certificate. EBC offers a Trinity College CertTESOL course in Madrid.

Whether watching the most breathtaking sunset from Debod Temple, learning about the roots of Madrid, taking a stroll through Gran Via, discovering some of the world renowned art pieces at the Prado or Reina Sofia Museum, enjoying a night out in “Malasaña” or “La Latina” quarters or shopping in the “Milla de Oro” (Golden Mile), Madrid is the city most Madrileños and foreigners miss when they live outside of Spain. Madrid is also the European capital with the greenest areas and the 4th in the world with the most trees.

2. Barcelona

Barcelona is the most popular Spanish city for foreigners. Its beautiful architecture, sunny beaches and its international atmosphere makes it a delight for locals and tourists living in this modern city. TEFL teachers find it easy getting an EFL/ESL job in Barcelona.

Like it is in Madrid, the cost of living in Barcelona is higher than it is in other Spanish cities. This said, the salaries are also higher and there are more job opportunities for English teachers. While in Barcelona, you can enjoy the Gothic Quarter, spend some time away from your cellphone while admiring the magnificent Sagrada Familia by Gaudí and enjoy a weekend getaway in the mountains or near the sea. The fact that Barcelona is so close to France makes it easy for teachers to travel to other European countries as well.

English teacher in Spain

3. Valencia

The country’s third-largest city with almost 800,000 inhabitants, this beautiful city is tucked into Spain’s eastern coast. Many English teachers are choosing Valencia as their new home and for very good reasons: the affordable cost of living, it is only a 3-hour ride from Madrid, it has wonderful beaches, a unique culture and exquisite cuisine.

There are many festivals and events taking place all year round, the city is bike-friendly and easy to go around. There are many job opportunities for ESL teachers, and many find jobs quite fast more so when they have the British Council recognized and accepted Trinity College CertTESOL certificate. Valencia has all the advantages of a major city in a more relaxed environment near the sea.

4. Bilbao

Being the unofficial capital of the Basque Country, Bilbao is a wonderful city to get a different taste of Spanish life and culture. With its wet winters and cool summers, locals from Bilbao have a unique cultural identity and speak another language besides Spanish: The Basque language or Euskera. A language that is truly a linguistic jewel all teachers enjoy when living in Bilbao.

Bilbao is the major financial center of northern Spain. A wealthy region and as such salaries, as well as the cost of living, are higher. EFL teachers can find jobs easily in one of the several private academies in Bilbao. The Guggenheim, Bilbao’s Old City, their delicious pintxos are just some of the many reasons fall in love with Bilbao. And if that were not enough, Bilbao is the perfect city for nature-lovers: full of mountains, greenery and breathtaking landscapes.

Is there any certification I need to have to teach English in Spain?

In order to be an English teacher in Spain there are some things to keep in mind. Being completely proficient in English is not only mandatory but teachers also need to know the cultural and social aspects of the English-speaking world. It is also highly recommended that you have a certificate showing that you are TEFL/ TESOL certified and that you have the knowhow and capability to teach ELLs (English Language Learners) of all levels.

Though certifications are not always required in every school, the best schools require their teachers to have an official and recognized certificate such as the Trinity College CertTESOL certificate. Students having an official certificate find it easier to find an English teaching job. In many cases, those with a British Council recognised certificate work straight after their TEFL course.

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