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
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.
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.
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.
Planet Guide - Spain