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  :: Cactus TEFL Jobs, Spain



Living in Spain has long been the dream of many people because of the climate, the relaxed attitude to life, varied culture from region to region, street life in pavement cafes where you can watch the world go by, fiestas, food and wonderful history and architecture.

The EFL industry is well developed: many language schools have been in existence for 30 years or more and teachers have experienced both booms of high salaries and plenty of work available through to lean times. There are hundreds of language schools of all kinds, ranging from small, family-run set ups to huge organisations with over 100 teachers. Schools vary tremendously too, from ‘cowboy’ to extremely professional. The teaching population consists of many who have made their lives in Spain, marrying and integrating into the culture and the way of life, along with people who stay for a year or so and move on.

In the big cities getting a job is more competitive due to the appeal of places like Barcelona, Madrid and so on as attractive places to live. There are many schools in smaller towns, however, which find it difficult to get the teachers they need: it is well worth considering such places to get your first job, after all the smaller towns are more the ‘real’ Spain than the busy cosmopolitan cities.

Salary and hours
The typical hours in a language school are between 4p and 10pm, which is when most students take classes. There is some morning work, such as company classes, but you must expect most of your teaching to be in the evenings, and Saturday mornings are also very popular. Students usually study only three hours per week, typically on two evenings. Salaries vary little, you can expect to earn around 1,100 euros per month gross on a contract salary or 18-20 euros per hour. Deductions are only around 15% at the moment.

Type of teaching
Most teaching is general English in private language schools. You will be teaching a combination of adults and young learners, sometimes from as young as age 6; you are normally expected to teach at least two children’s classes in your timetable. 20 to 25 hours is a normal full-time timetable, though many teachers work part time, supplementing their incomes with private classes. There is a fair amount of in-company teaching arranged by schools, so you may find yourself heading out to factories and businesses around the city. The vast majority of classes even in the companies are general English, though some specialised business teaching does take place. It is not easy to find employment as a school teacher within the national schools system.

Most teachers find their own accommodation, often in shared flats, though you may get help from the school when you start out. Accommodation is not cheap in comparison to salaries, and in the big cities it can be a little hard to find a suitable reasonably priced apartment.

Start of school year/best time to look for work
The academic year in Spain goes from late September/early October through to the end of June, so most employment takes place any time from May onwards to start in October. The busiest time for recruitment is September, when directors of studies are completing their teacher quota.

Red Tape
European citizens are legally permitted to work in Spain. It is a simple matter to get the NIE (foreigners identity number). Due to the lack of reciprocal work agreements between countries, non European citizens will find it hard to get a work permit, and many thousands work illegally.

Miscellaneous advice
Most reputable language schools in Spain will expect you to have a CELTA or Trinity Cert TESOL qualification, and while they prefer to employ experienced teachers, they will take recently qualified teachers when they need to. Many schools will encourage and even fund their teachers to attend professional development events such as conferences and seminars. There are a number of conferences, including TESOL Spain which is held annually in different cities, and local teachers’ seminar days. Some schools such as International House hold regular seminars which are open to teachers from other schools.

Lonely Planet Guide - Spain