Guest post written by Anne Dawson.
If you have just obtained your TEFL qualification and you’re keen to share your knowledge with keen students in another country while broadening your own skills in a foreign language, you may be thinking about heading for Spain. The land of flamenco, paella and Picasso has much more to offer than what you may think, and you’ll probably find the experience to be deeply enriching as well as plenty of fun.
Follow these tips and you should feel at home in no time at all:
• Obtain an Official Teaching Qualification
Most reputable academies in Spain will require a TEFL qualification; this can be obtained in a few weeks and will definitely stand you in good stead, since you need to ensure you are using the right tools and teaching methods to make a real difference to your students’ learning. If you are working or studying full-time and don’t have a few weeks to spare before you leave, there are excellent online courses offering online training and testing. These companies provide an official certification if you pass their examinations.
• Choosing a City
Spain currently has a high unemployment rate (around 24% though the rate varies according to season), Although the country is no longer officially going through an economic crisis, recovery has been slow in many areas. The south of Spain has a higher unemployment rate than the north, which is why many foreign workers opt for big cities like Madrid and Barcelona. However, if you are set on the south, fear not; English language teachers are highly in demand in private schools and language academies alike throughout Spain, so you can pretty much take your pick when it comes to choosing a city. Those after a place with great weather and a fun youthful atmosphere often select the seaside city of Málaga, which boasts an endless coastline, sunny weather for most of the year and an ample cultural offering which includes a plethora of museums and stunning exponents of architecture, from ancient Roman to contemporary.
• Choose a Reputable School
The soaring demand for English classes in Spain mean that many new academies pop up every year in major cities and smaller towns alike. Make sure that the school you choose has been up and running for a while, and that everything is legal and upfront: legal pay slips, established working hours, etc. For a full-time teaching job, you should be earning a monthly salary of between €1.200 and €1.800; if you stick around and work your way up the ladder (e.g. taking up a post as Head of Studies or in Sales), your salary will improve considerably. You can also consider giving private lessonsto up your monthly income. Most private teachers fetch between €15 and €20 per hour, depending on experience.
If you hail from the European Union, you can use your European Health Insurance Card, which will entitle you to the same medical treatment as a Spanish national. If you are a non-EU or EEA national, you may have to provide proof of private health coverage before you are granted a visa. Some non-EU nations have agreements with the Spanish government so visit the consulate or embassy to find out your rights. Some companies also provide private health insurance for their workers, so if you find an academy that is providing this for their teachers, don’t hesitate to apply for a post. The public social security system in Spain is well renowned as well, though, and most companies do not provide private healthcare for employees.
• Go to Recruitment Fairs
Attending a recruitment fair will allow you to put yourself out there to prospective employers and provide you with vital information regarding teaching in Spain. Every year, organizations like Spainwise hold jobs fairs, providing information on how to get qualified and apply for jobs. Experts will also let you know of any vacancies available, provide reviews of schools across the nation, give advice on how to adapt to life in Spain and most importantly, discuss legislation which may be relevant to you.
• Mingle with the locals
If you only hang around fellow teachers, there is little chance that your Spanish will improve significantly. Make as many local friends as you can and suggest language exchanges with people you meet, in which you agree to converse in English some days and in Spanish on others. Make sure to accept any chances to attend social events, since this will provide you with the opportunity to hone your skills at one of the world’s most spoken languages.
Don't forget to check our offers for Teachers in Spain and everywhere else in Europe.
Oct 5, 2015 by The ELJ Team