Teaching in Spain
Planning on teaching in Spain?
My story. I was brought up in a picturesque little village that sits on the Pyrenees Mountains in the North of Catalonia. I studied Translation and Interpreting in Barcelona, during my first year at Uni a classmate told me they were looking for English teacher in the school she worked in and asked whether I would be interested, one phone call later I had a job in a small Language School in Barcelona. They didn’t ask for a TEFL qualification or experience teaching, being a “native” was good enough… and that was the beginning of a long career as a teacher. This is still the case in a lot of language schools in Spain so if you don't have a TEFL qualification you may still be able teach however, I recommend you qualify beforehand, it will make your life a lot easier.
If you are planning on teaching in Spain here are a few things you should know:
Working hours. If you are planning on working in Spain expect to work until late, sometimes untill 10pm at night! But it does come with the nice weather and the Spanish lifestyle, chilling in the evenings on a terrace with a beer and tapa in hand! Most people in Spain work untill 8-9pm. English Language Schools or “Academias” as they call them in Spain work mainly with young learners so they are usually at their busiest after school time at around 5pm up to 8pm. It is also likely that you will teach adults. Some companies for example the British Council work with Primary and Secondary schools and teachers are sent to the schools in the evenings to teach “extra escolares” -after school extra lessons-. This is probably the hardest form of teaching because you are in their territory as opposed to in a language school hence, groups of teens can be challenging.
I have only worked as a TEFL teacher in Barcelona. Generally, pay depends on the company you work for i.e British Council accredited or non-accredited schools and your qualifications, if you don't have a CertTesol or a CELTA you can expect to be paid more. Most jobs are long term September to June-July. There is not much work in “Academias” during the summer as children are on holiday from June to September so you might want to consider working at summer camps.
What to expect from teaching. Expect to teach a lot of teens, unmotivated teenagers who have been at school all day and are then sent to learn English for an extra hour or two, they are generally not interested and are tired from being at school all day! Trying to make your lessons fun and motivating to them is hard but if you win them over they will be lovely to teach! The Spanish educational system for language is strongly grammar- based, so their knowledge in grammar is usually quite good but they fluency is very low, so get them taking as much as you can!
The Spanish lifestyle. Well… I am probably a bit bias because I am half Catalan but life in Catalonia is great; people are open and friendly specially in big cities like Barcelona, it is really easy to meet new people, the countryside and beaches are breathtaking and the small villages are strikingly quaint. You may however, want to avoid going to the coastal villages that have been spoiled by holiday makers and are jam-packed in the summer and deserted during the winter, but I'll leave that for you to discover! Nightlife in Barcelona is made for everyone: easygoers, rebels, rockers and ravers. You can go out any night of the week and there is always plenty of choice; bars, terraces, pubs and nightclubs. But if you are planning on going out at the same time you do in England. Pubs and discos don't open till about 11pm.
All in all, teaching abroad is always an amazing way to get to know other cultures, meet new people and improve your teaching skills.
If you are planning on going to somewhere warmer Barcelona is an amazing place to go to; great food, amazing people and plenty of beautiful landscapes to discover.
Are you up for the adventure?