Hello everyone. My first post, so a little bit of information about myself. I am 23, and in my final semester of university here in the UK, and will graduate in June with an Honours degree in Spanish and French. I was originally studying for a Secondary PGCE, which was integrated as part of my language degree, however I failed 2 placements and was told I was not suited to teaching in state schools in the UK. This was despite the fact I had worked as an English Language Assistant in France for the British Council, and completed a 3 month summer TEFL internship in Valencia in a language school, thus I have the luxury of being able to say I have TEFL experience, and have prepared students for all types of exams i.e FCE, TOEFL, IELTS, PET, CAE, etc. I also have an accredited 150 hour TEFL certificate.
A couple of weeks ago, I returned to Valencia to see some friends I made whilst living there, and also more importantly for a TEFL job interview in an academy which I had applied for online, starting in September. I had e-mailed the manager and told her I was planning to visit Valencia to see friends, so we arranged an interview. The interview went well, I tried my best to sell myself, and switched between English and Spanish. She said the minimum salary is 900 euros per month , though if I wanted to do overtime, by teaching in the morning it would obviously be higher.
I was a little taken aback at low it was, though a few of my friends told me the average salary in Spain was around 1000 euros p.m due to the crisis. I liked the look of the academy; it’s in a quite suburb of the city, and the students vary from infants to teenagers, as well as adults. The manager said she wanted to see me again in July after I graduate to make sure we agreed on everything, and to possibly get a contract drawn up for September.
My question is would this be enough to live on in Spain/Valencia specifically?( I know I lived there before, but I had my student loan and money from my parents to support me). Bearing in mind, I need to pay rent, pay for food and start to repay my UK Student Loan. Also, at the weekends I don’t plan on living like a hermit; I’m young and like to go out for a drink to socialise and meet people. Is it good enough to start off with? I see Valencia as somewhere I would like to live and work permanently , and make a career in TEFL. I don’t plan on becoming rich, I just want enough to live on comfortably. I thought the whole idea of having a university degree was it would be of some kind of financial benefit. I really want to teach, but obviously cannot do so in the UK, though I have a passion for TEFL and I love Spain. Any replies would be very much appreciated.
900 is a little low, but there are not many TEFL jobs with language schools in Spain which pay much more than 1000. Unless you work freelance that is, in which case you can start to earn more once you build up your business. Bear in mind though that as freelance you’re responsible for paying your own social security which can be about 250 (I think?) a month.
As for cost of living and rent, it all depends of course on the type of apartment you choose, whether you share or live alone, and so on. I’d Google "cost of living Valencia" – there are a few sites which will give you a fairly good idea of how much your monthly outgoings are likely to be.
As for the financial question, TEFL will not make you rich, and for many, even living comfortably is a challenge, especially with loans to pay off, etc. But it depends on the country, on what you consider "comfortable", whether you want to buy a house, have the expense of kids, and so on… There are opportunities for promotion in some language academies, routes into Director of Studies jobs which pay more, opportunities for freelance or cash-in-hand work… Many people make it work and live as comfortably as they need to be.
I hope it works out for you – good luck!
When I worked in Andalusia in 2012, I earned about 1300 Euros gross for 24 hrs per week teaching hours. The cost of living down there is possibly much lower than in Valencia, I was paying 350E per month rent for a modern 2 bed apartment, plus expensive electricity/water bills, but was able to live very comfortably. As you’re in your 20s it might be an idea for you to get a starter job whilst gaining more experience in Spain, and share accommodation with others so you also have a ready-made social life. Why take the first job on offer? Keep sending your CVs to the various EFL sites (I am a bit of an expert, know of several if you want me to PM you) and give yourself some options. Suerte!
Hi, Gary. Maggie May has the right attitude. The last time I taught in Spain I was earning 1300 euros per month. It was in Melilla, a Spanish enclave in Africa, and rent was higher than Maggie describes-a single apartment would have set me back 500 euros per month, because Melilla has limited space, being shut in by a giant fence.Accommodation will also vary in price within Valencia, and may be cheaper. I feel that the school in Valencia is being a bit mean. Maggie May is right. If you shop around, you might get a job for 1200 euros a month, full time. . It should also be possible to do private one-to-one lessons, charging 20 euros an hour, but you will have to be very professional and very consistent to do this, and build up a good rapport with your students. That is essential.
What is the income threshold for paying off your student loan? If you earn less than that amount, it won’t need to be paid till later.
With regard to PGCE, where exactly did you “fail”? You might want feedback from the college where you did the PGCE to see where you went wrong and think of strategies to correct the mistakes. This won’t help you teach in a U.K. comprehensive, especially not a bog standard comprehensive, but you ought to try to improve in those areas. Why? There exist programmes that place native speakers in Spanish state schools, e.g. MEDDEAS. They have jobs in the Madrid area. There is an ad on tefl.com about short-term teaching in Valencia: it may be helpful (unless of course you just finished working for them). If you get to work with them, you can teach on the side and do private classes AND CHARGE 20 EUROS PER HOUR.
Your exam experience-FCE, IELTS, etc. looks good on your CV. I have lots of experience but it took time to get that kind of experience. It would impress some employers. Bear in mind that you are also eligible to teach in a state schools in South Korea. There is a lot of bureaucracy to get the visa, but accommodation is free, and the nightlife in major cities is as good as in Spain. I know. I’ve been there.
@Wonkavite. Thanks for your advice. The feedback I received from the PGCE Placements was teaching in a UK state school is about much more than just teaching your individual subject, yet I considered myself to be a mere provider of information about French and Spanish language. My head of department told me that I was speaking to the kids as though they were a group of adult learners in an evening class. I was told that I needed to work on classroom management in terms of building up stronger relationships with pupils.
I went for my second interview in July, and the director asked me to teach a mock class, with her taking the role of the student which I only had ten minutes to prepare. She told me that she would be in touch, and asked me when I would be able to start my training in September, so I assumed I had got the job. However, she emailed me today telling me she had finalised her staff list for 2015-16, and my application was not included. I have applied to other academies in Spain, however have not received any replies. If anyone knows of any EFL jobs in Valencia or any other city in Spain (I’m willing to go anywhere) a reply would be very much appreciated.
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