ESL Teaching Guide - Spain

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Miss N - May 2004

Currently teaching in Valencia. The positive aspects are that I am self-employed which allows me to dictate, more or less, my own timetable and who I teach. My classes are either on a one-to-one basis or very small groups of 3 or 4 which allows me to identify the weaknesses and strengths of each student and tailor the classes specifically to their needs. I am not forced to use any specific course book which gives me complete freedom to teach the way I want to.

The negative aspects: It is not a very reliable source of income as people do cancel from time to time and during the holidays (2 weeks at Easter, 6 weeks during the summer etc) I do not get paid. You never really know exactly how much you will have at the end of each month. As I am working for myself and by myself I miss the company of work colleagues both professionally and socially.

John Larkin - May 2004

My name is John Larkin and I come from Britain, Scotland to be more specific. I live and work in Madrid and have done so for the last 11 years. I'm 41 years old and I'm very happy here.

The positive aspects are that the cost of living is still quite low, although it has risen a lot in comparison with Britain in the last few years. The new government seem determined to make English a far more important part of the school curriculum, including native teachers for 33% of the classes which will provide a lot more opportunities in the near future. (I should point out that this is an election pledge and should therefore not be taken as gospel)

The negative aspects for teachers coming to Madrid is that there is now a lot of competition, the good old days of the 80s are well and truly over. Most language schools only give 9-month contracts, so surviving the summer can be difficult. I have recently become self-employed which gives me far greater scope in filling up my timetable although I have used contacts built up over the last few years, it would be very difficult for someone coming here directly.

As for wages, you should expect about 9-10 € per hour (net) from an academy and at least 15€ from private classes. It would be a very good idea to check with your academy if they let you take on private classes and do NOT accept no as an answer if they are not giving you enough hours.

Suggested Reading

Living and Working in Spain: A Survival Handbook
Lonely Planet Spain
Spain (Eyewitness Travel Guides)
Spanish in 10 Minutes a Day
Fodor's Spain 2004
Rick Steves' Spain and Portugal 2004

Miss Y. - May 2004

I teach English at a state secondary school in Arnedo, La Rioja. I teach 14 to 17-year-old boys and girls.

The positive aspects of teaching in this school are the stable situation in your job, once you own your teaching post as it is my case. The number of lessons a week in not too high, about 18 hours which is much better than the situation at private schools in Spain. Until now, we have had quite a lot of freedom about our teaching, but things have been changing in the last years, with the changing of the educational system in Spain.

The negative aspects are many. We have a lot of indiscipline at state schools at the moment, we also have problems with the integration of immigrants because we have not got enough means to help them. The system does not offer solutions to boys and girls who do not want to work or study, but to have them with the rest of the students who want to work, and that creates big conflicts.
In spite of all this, I am happy with my job, I think I am honest with my students and they appreciate it, at least most of them. I don´t know what else would be necessary for your survey or study. My salary is about 1,800 euros a month, but it depends on the number of years you have worked until now. I have worked for 17 years now.

Ryan - September 2002

Most schools are looking for a degree and a TEFL qualification, some even want a year if not two years' experience. Many schools advertise on the Internet. Send as many CV's as you can via email-whether they are advertising a position or not.

You won't ever be able to save money there but you will manage to maintain a relatively good lifestyle. However you are constantly living on a month to month basis!! - First Stop for Your Second Language Needs
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