Three professional tips and advice for teaching English in Spain

Three professional tips and advice for teaching English in Spain

It is no surprise that Spain is a popular destination for foreigners when they want to teach English outside of their respective countries. It is a country with so much to offer: a slower pace of life, history, magnificent architecture and delicious food and drink with their world-famous paella and sangria. Madrid and its rich culture boast of museums such as the Prado, Museo Thyssen and much more. When it comes to world known Spanish dances, the flamenco immediately comes to mind.

If you are interested in gaining experience in education in a country where life is a blast, teaching English in Spain is a great way to do that. The added bonus of experiencing a new culture, learning the second most spoken language in the world and of course an abundance of tapas and sangria gives you a pretty good idea why Spain is number one on the list of those wanting to experience TEFL away from home.

Whether you are experienced in teaching or not, or about to start your Trinity College CertTESOL certification, you will be able to immerse yourself in the Spanish lifestyle when you come to Madrid. With Spain’s never-ending demand for English teachers, you will find a range of positions available all over the country, from private tutoring to Business English teaching, teaching kids or even working as a head teacher.

To teach English in Spain, you must have a recognized teaching certificate such as the Trinity College CertTESOL or CELTA. The average salary for teaching in Spain is between €900 – €2,000 per month depending on your teaching job type.

There are many ways to live and work overseas, from volunteering to working on a yacht, in a hostel, to being an au pair or teaching English, which is one of the most common ways people find work overseas (at least for native English speakers).

When living in your home country, the job search is a relatively straightforward process – come up with a great CV, apply online for EFL/ESL jobs and wait for a face to face or online interview. You already speak the language, and you probably already know the websites to go to for English teaching jobs and you have a network of people who can tell you about the companies hiring or advise you on your job search.

But maybe you do not want something that easy. Maybe you would like to see the world, learn a new language, experience a different culture, and seeking the kind of adventure you can only find when teaching English abroad — and what better country to do just that than in Spain?

Looking for an EFL job in Spain is not that straightforward. Unlike at home, you probably do not have a network of people to help you find a job and it can be overwhelming just thinking about moving to another country that you’ve never lived in before. However, if you do it right, this adventure of teaching in Spain is far from impossible.

Unless you are an EU national, you cannot teach in Spain. Luckily, however, Spain has an option for aspiring English teachers: the student visa. Most English teachers can teach in Spain on a student visa. This is a 1-year visa allowing you to work and live in Spain for an initial period of 1 year. You can work up to 20 hours a week. Some non-EUs do not bother with a student visa and they stay in Spain for 90 days or more. They come in as tourists and work under the table. While many may encourage you to work under the table, if you do your sums, investing in a student visa is a much better option and you get a lot for it. The student visa is granted because on top of your Trinity College CertTESOL course, you are also enrolled in a 1-year Spanish Programme. As a Spanish student you get the student visa and you can legally work and stay in Spain for 1 whole year. All is legal, you can come in and out of the country, travel back to your country and come back to Spin again with no problems. The student visa is good for 1 year and many renew their student visas for another year or so.

Salaries for teaching English in Spain vary widely, depending on what kind of school you work for and where you live. By working through a private language school, you can earn between €1,500 to €2,000 ($1,700-$2,250) per month for 25 hours of work. Though this is not necessarily enough to pay for your student loan, these salaries are liveable wages if you live modestly.

Many English teachers also give private lessons after school. You can charge anywhere between €15 to €20 ($17-$22.50) per hour — more if you have teaching experience or a recognised TEFL certificate like the Trinity College CertTESOL.

Pro Tip 1: Though salaries are higher in big cities such as Madrid and Barcelona, the cost of living is also higher. After paying for rent, food, and transportation, the amount of money you have at the end of the month will not vary too much between living in a city or a small town or as they say – a “pueblo”.

Pro Tip 2: Though speaking Spanish is not a requirement for teaching English in Spain, it certainly will be helpful for your social life outside of your teaching work. Not many Spanish speak English, a census stated about 27% of them speak English and being able to communicate in Spanish will be a huge advantage when you are looking for accommodations, food shopping, going to the pharmacy or asking for directions. This is especially true if you choose to live in a smaller town that does not have many tourists. Learning Spanish on your 1 year Spanish programme (the reason you have a student visa, remember?) will make your transition easier and the Spanish people you meet will appreciate it when you try to speak their language no matter what your accent sounds like.

Pro Tip 3: Though Spanish is spoken throughout the country, some regions in Spain have their own languages. The most obvious example is the region of Catalonia. Barcelona belongs to this region and although virtually everyone understands and speaks Spanish, Catalan is the language that locals use to speak to each other. Learning a few words of the local language will welcome you into their social circles and show your new friends that you are interested in their local culture. Bona sort!

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