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Seeking advice on Teaching in Spain for the first time

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  • misssoffy
    Participant
    20 January, 2013 at 20:35
    • Total posts: 3

    Hi everybody,

    I am nearing the end of my TEFL qualification and am hoping to secure a role in Spain for around September this year with a view to moving out there around that time.

    I’ve never taught abroad before so I have a couple of queries and would be most grateful for any advice anyone was able to offer.

    Firstly I was wondering whether anyone had any thoughts to share with regards to the state of the economy in Spain and to what extent this is affecting the TEFL market in Spain? Sadly I’m not a 20 something traveller, I’m 32 and am viewing this as a more long term option, so I need to make a sensible decision re destination. I’ve been learning Spanish for the last year and love it so of course I’m keen to go to a Spanish speaking country and am totally in love with Spain.

    Secondly, one of my concerns about Spain is the summer periods when most schools are closed, I was just curious to know what TEFL teachers do during the summer to ensure that they are able to continue to pay their rent etc? I will certainly be making an effort to build a network of private students.

    Finally, I’m actually more keen to work in Northern Spain and I was wondering whether anyone could advise where the hot spots are for English language teaching? I’m not too sure about Barcelona as the primary language is Catalan, just don’t think I can manage trying to learn more than 1 language at the same time. I also have 2 cats who I am hoping to take with me and so a bustling city centre may not be the best environment for them.

    Many thanks, any advice will be greatly appreciated.

    Sophie

    Mariele
    Participant
    28 January, 2013 at 22:54
    • Total posts: 1

    Reply To: Seeking advice on Teaching in Spain for the first time

    Hi Sophie,

    Unfortunately, I’m new to TEFL so I don’t have the answers to your questions. However, I have pretty much all of the same questions as I’m hoping to teach in Spain as well!

    I did read that many places start recruiting/hiring teachers in the summer months to prepare for September or October, so if you don’t have a job lined up, maybe it would be helpful to move down there a bit earlier – this is what I’m hoping to do, though I’ll have to wait another year. Anyway, I thought I’d share that with you.

    And now that there are two of us on this post, maybe someone will reach out with some answers. =)

    Best of luck!

    Mariele

    misssoffy
    Participant
    4 February, 2013 at 14:48
    • Total posts: 3

    Reply To: Seeking advice on Teaching in Spain for the first time

    Hi Mariele,

    Many thanks for your reply, it’s nice to get at least one! It’s also nice to know that we are both in similar positions, and thanks for the info you provided.

    Yes let’s hope someone will be willing to share some answers with us soon! It’s all very exciting but as I’m hoping to go this year I’m feeling a little anxious to ensure I’ve thought of everything.

    Best of luck with all your preparations for teaching in Spain :)

    Sophie

    ClaireJane
    Participant
    5 February, 2013 at 0:40
    • Total posts: 1

    Reply To: Seeking advice on Teaching in Spain for the first time

    Hi Sophie and Mariele,

    I’m in the same position. I’m 35 and would like to move to Spain long-term and teach. I’m also wondering about the summer and when to go. Hope some experienced teachers come along with some good advice! :-)

    Claire

    stevem
    Participant
    7 February, 2013 at 9:11
    • Total posts: 6

    Reply To: Seeking advice on Teaching in Spain for the first time

    I’d be interested to hear replies to this question as well. I’m 33, and planning on doing my CELTA course later this year with a view to moving to Spain next year to teach. I only have one cat though.

    Briona
    Participant
    10 February, 2013 at 16:22
    • Total posts: 52

    Reply To: Seeking advice on Teaching in Spain for the first time

    Hello one and all,

    The good news is that despite the recession, the EFL market is thriving, especially in the big cities. I’m currently in Madrid and there is no shortage of work here for qualified and experienced teachers.

    You can maximise your chances of finding work by investing in a reputable qualification, such as the CELTA or Trinity CertTESOL. It is possible to find work with just an online TEFL certificate but an ever-increasing number of employers will insist on you having a CELTA or Trinity CertTESOL. Note that jobs tend NOT to be found from abroad. You really need to be in-country handing out your CV at the right time, i.e., September or very early January.

    Contracts are fixed for 8-9 months after which, as you have correctly guessed, you will need to figure out what to do for the summer. Some schools offer intensive courses in July and September, but these jobs will always go to the longer-standing members of staff. Private students are OK but you are unlikely to make enough to live on from them, not least because Spain practically shuts down in August as the country goes on holiday. Another option is working in a summer camp, but these are fairly poorly-paid and tend to last just six weeks.

    I actually go back to the UK for the summer and work in a summer camp there, partly because it’s residential, and partly because I can earn twice as much money there as I can in Spain. Obviously if you have cats this won’t be an option. As I much as I wanted to keep my beloved cat, I just couldn’t see how I could do it and still survive. So she has been rehomed with my aunt and uncle.

    Hope that helps. If you have any other questions, please ask.

    Briona

    careerchange1989
    Participant
    11 February, 2013 at 21:23
    • Total posts: 1

    Reply To: Seeking advice on Teaching in Spain for the first time

    You can maximise your chances of finding work by investing in a reputable qualification, such as the CELTA or Trinity CertTESOL.

    Hi Briona,

    Thanks for your post, I found it really useful.

    I am looking to enrole on a CELTA course, preferrably in Madrid. I have no previous teaching experience at all but an eagerness to start a new career.

    Can you recommend any reputable CELTA provdiers in Spain. I have seen so many and cannot decide which would be best and wondered if you had any suggestions.

    Cactus TEFL have many options but i just dont know!!!

    Many thanks.

    Lu.

    Briona
    Participant
    13 February, 2013 at 12:40
    • Total posts: 52

    Reply To: Seeking advice on Teaching in Spain for the first time

    Hi Lu,

    Glad to be of assistance.

    To find a CELTA provider, go to Cambridge’s own site (http://www.cambridgeenglish.org/find-a- … ng-centre/) and use the drop-downs.

    There are currently just three CELTA providers in Madrid – Chester, International House and Hyland Language Centre. If you wanted to do your CELTA in Madrid, I would say that Hyland was the best choice. However, this is based purely on hearsay as I did mine near Barcelona.

    I chose my provider based on the fact that at the time it was the only provider in Spain offering a five-week course as opposed to a four-week one. As it happened, I was very happy with my choice. The tutors were friendly and supportive; the input sessions were, for the most part, interesting, and the course was intensive but manageable.

    If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

    Briona

    dan
    Moderator
    13 February, 2013 at 20:03
    • Total posts: 768

    Reply To: Seeking advice on Teaching in Spain for the first time

    Hi everyone

    First of all, I second everything Briona said in her first post. My experience was in Barcelona, not Madrid, but everything she says applies there too. If you end up doing the CELTA in Barcelona, I can recommend International House.

    Just a couple of things to add about summer work – there are some schools who operate for 11 months rather than 8 or 9, so you may get lucky and find one of those. if not though, summer school in the UK is definitely a good option – you can earn good money for a couple of months. Bear in mind that you won’t earn much more than 1000 euros a month teaching in Spain (although I’m not sure if Madrid is higher – Briona?) so the chances of saving enough to tide you over for 3 summer months without work are small.

    Dan

    Briona
    Participant
    13 February, 2013 at 22:18
    • Total posts: 52

    Reply To: Seeking advice on Teaching in Spain for the first time

    Bear in mind that you won’t earn much more than 1000 euros a month teaching in Spain (although I’m not sure if Madrid is higher – Briona?) so the chances of saving enough to tide you over for 3 summer months without work are small.

    In Madrid salaries are a little higher (€1,100-1,300pm) but, rather unsurprisingly, so is the cost of living. I estimate that my basic outgoings, which include rent*, bills, phone top ups, food and a monthly metro pass, set me back about €600pm.

    *I rent a room in a shared flat. A single flat in Madrid costs anywhere from €550pm (plus bills) upwards.

    misssoffy
    Participant
    14 February, 2013 at 13:12
    • Total posts: 3

    Reply To: Seeking advice on Teaching in Spain for the first time

    Hi everyone,

    Firstly many thanks for all your replies, it is all very useful information.

    I’m curious to know how bad exactly the pay is for the summer camps in Spain, or how it fares against normal TEFL salaries? Also are they based all over the country or in certain locations?

    Given the state of the economy this is a long shot but I was wondering whether there were any non-teaching work opportunities that could be snapped up over the summer months? I wouldn’t be fussy, within reason of course :)

    Thanks!

    Sophie

    Briona
    Participant
    15 February, 2013 at 10:29
    • Total posts: 52

    Reply To: Seeking advice on Teaching in Spain for the first time

    Hi there,

    Summer camp wages vary with the very worst ones offering voluntary (slave labour!) positions and the better ones offering up to €550 per fortnight. I suspect, although I don’t know for certain, that that wage is gross not net.

    The majority of the camps are based around Barcelona and in Andalucia. Note that camp positions tend to be residential, which may cause problems for you if you have pets.

    Unfortunately, the likelihood of finding non-teaching work during the summer (or indeed at any other time) is slim to none. Officially unemployment stands at around 27%, and at 50% for those aged 18-25; unofficially it’s much higher. The few jobs there are will be snapped up by desperate Spaniards.

    Perhaps now you can understand why I choose to give up my flat (though admittedly it’s not a particularly nice one) and take a summer job in the UK where six weeks’ work brings in just over £3,000. Obviously, this is not something I will do forever, but until I can figure out how to comfortably survive the summer in Spain, needs must.

    Briona

    maggiemay
    Participant
    16 February, 2013 at 16:51
    • Total posts: 8

    Reply To: Seeking advice on Teaching in Spain for the first time

    Hi Sophie and to all the other potential new teachers,

    There are many jobs being advertised now, some for the remainder of the academic year, many for September/October starts. I am not sure if I can post links on here, but put tefl jobs in your search engine and the most popular sites will come up. I was very lucky in that I worked in Andalucia and was paid 1200 per month before tax for 24 hours teaching. My rent for a lovely 2 bedroom flat was between 375-400 a month including bills (depended on the climate), so it is possible to have a good standard of living in some parts of Spain. Don’t worry about your age, you are a spring chicken, and I found the Spanish to be very friendly people. As for summer camps, if you do your research now, you might take a job in a place which enables you to do local summer camp work, so you can keep your accommodation. I agree, rates are not great, but it is still possible (in my experience), to live comfortably on little, especially in the South, and after teaching on a summer camp you may well be too tired to go out and spend any money earned :D The only downer I would say to you and the other new teachers is that TEFL can feel somewhat insecure, particularly as you get older. However, if you find a really good school which takes care of you, it can be a really good experience. Good luck, am happy to answer any more questions. mm x

    SunSeaSpain
    Participant
    7 May, 2013 at 14:38
    • Total posts: 8

    Reply To: Seeking advice on Teaching in Spain for the first time

    Hello all,

    I just want to put Valencia forward as a great place to work at the moment as well. Its a great city, warm climate, cheap, yet it has the charm of Spain that may well go unnoticed in cosmopolitan environment in Madrid and Barcelona.

    It may be the economic meltdown in Spain (although judging by full bars and cafes, you’d harly notice it) but the EFL teaching is booming.

    Everyone wants to learn English, although German is becoming very popular too.

    If you’re "thinking about" making the move, just do one thing…buy that Ryanair ticket and let the reality kick in. Too many people I know have been "thinking about it" for about years….

    Richardavie
    Participant
    21 May, 2013 at 11:54
    • Total posts: 24

    Reply To: Seeking advice on Teaching in Spain for the first time

    I would ditto all the comments so far, but I was under the impression that summer camp jobs were quite well paid? I’ve not had any personal experience but many people have told me they earned up to 2,000€ in one month?? It does sound a little exaggerated…

    From my experience in Barcelona if you look for a job you’ll find a job, simple as that. You just have to manage your expectations and maybe not expect a full time job straight away, but build up your timetable from various part time jobs.

    I wouldn’t be dissuaded by not being able to speak Catalan, it has never affected me or English/Spanish speaking friends. Learning Catalan is great but only absolutely necessary if you want to work in the public administration.

    SunSeaSpain
    Participant
    25 May, 2013 at 7:42
    • Total posts: 8

    Reply To: Seeking advice on Teaching in Spain for the first time

    As a beginner in TEFL I decided to teach in a summer camp in Spain a few years ago and was paid 1600 euros for 6 weeks.

    This is typical of what you can expect but bearing in mind you work 24/7 as you usually live on the campus and share other responsibilities (don´t expect to teach and then just go to the beach after), this is really not good money.

    So moneywise, it really wasn´t worth it although I had a great time there.

    Despite the lure of being in sunny Spain, if you want to earn money in a summer camp then work in the UK.

    steven.smyth87
    Participant
    28 May, 2013 at 16:38
    • Total posts: 1

    Reply To: Seeking advice on Teaching in Spain for the first time

    Hey all, I recently completed a Celt course but I have no experience of teaching, well apart from assessed teaching practice during the course.

    I have my flight booked to go to Valencia in July, what are the chance of getting work over there? Where is the best place to start?

    dan
    Moderator
    30 May, 2013 at 7:41
    • Total posts: 768

    Reply To: Seeking advice on Teaching in Spain for the first time

    Hi Steven – have a look at this post about jobs in Valencia: viewtopic/t-300

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