Job Hunting

According to Lynn Jenkins, director of an English Language Institute Schools in Seville, Spain, the TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) market is thriving, and career advancements are increasingly available. The English language is highly valued here, allowing teachers the opportunity to select from a broad range of schools. From the more prominent establishments such as International House centers to the smaller academies providing extra-curricular lessons to local school children, there are a variety of choices.

The optimal time to apply for teaching positions may vary depending on the city and region. Directors will typically work to fill the gaps from June onwards, but student numbers are not final until September, which marks the start of the major teacher recruitment drive. Madrin schools are eager to hear from new teachers in early September, so it is advisable to follow up the CV with a phone call to ensure its safe receipt. Nick Eperon, a TEFL teacher in Seville, stated that finding a good post in the city is increasingly challenging, and applicants require years of experience and qualifications. The Language Institute Schools in Seville begin reviewing CVs in May and June, and most candidates travel to Andalusia for the interview, taking a long weekend break if they are teaching elsewhere in Spain.

The internet and key TEFL magazines are the ideal places to look for job vacancies, and most large school chains have dedicated web pages. Local versions of the Yellow Pages are available for those already in town and in need of further research.

It is feasible to train as a language teacher in Spain. For some, it is more cost-effective to study for the Certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) at the International House in Madrid. September has the added benefit of creating opportunities for immediate work following qualification.

One significant change for English teachers new to Spain is adjusting to the shape of the working day. The ideal time to fit language lessons in is around day-time work or schooling. The timetable can be unpredictable with some teachers finding themselves with early starts and late finishes. There is a Spanish law against employers asking people to work in such a way that denies them twelve clear hours off in every 24.

English lessons are in high demand among young adults, between 18 to 30 years of age. Most language schools cater to a diverse age range. After 4:30 pm, schools often receive a rush of school children following their main school day. Teachers should be flexible concerning the class format as parents’ associates may approach language institutes to arrange lessons. Similar arrangements occur with prominent businesses.

It is common to hear about people working illegally in Spain. The Partido Popular government aims to favor the liberalization of labor laws in favor of employers, but teachers can still have their contracts checked by a lawyer from a large union such as Commerciones Obreras (CC.OO). Most language school contracts only run from October to June, which means teachers cannot claim many Spanish employment benefits, such as sick pay. The contract should include holiday pay on a pro-rata basis (typical of three weeks), and teachers at Wall Street and OpenIng schools usually work year-round. Contracts should also contain provisions for the payment of finiquito, a small payout that is often missed unless explicitly requested.

Making Money

An effective method of increasing your earnings is to offer private lessons. These are in high demand during the months preceding crucial public exams such as those in December and May/June. The remuneration for private tutoring ranges from 1,700 to 4,000 pesetas per hour.

To enhance your proficiency in Spanish, setting up an "inter-cambio" might be a good option. This involves meeting someone who speaks Spanish, exchanging English conversation for Spanish conversation. These meetings usually take place in bars, with no monetary exchange involved and may even lead to a lifelong friendship. Look for ads in libraries, British consulates, university notice boards or equivalent publications such as "Cambalache" in Seville. However, it’s crucial to note that inter-cambios can be unpredictable, and it might be uncomfortable to cut ties with an unpleasing conversation partner.

While interviewing candidates for diploma courses, Paul Murphy frequently comes across individuals who have neglected their professional development. They usually undergo initial training and are left to their own devices, resulting in a "real career" crisis for many TEFL teachers. Although career opportunities for English teachers in Spain are limited, they are on the rise. Teachers might opt for several career paths, such as assuming administrative responsibilities, aiming for director of studies positions, or teaching training. International House Schools, for example, offer teacher centres that provide inset training to improve teaching knowledge and classroom skills.

One option is to work in private schools and eventually move into the mainstream education sector. Although this offers better pay, more secure contracts, and daytime work hours than the state education system, the contact time may be excessive (up to 30 hours per week in the classroom), affecting the quality of education. Private schools often set more evaluations, resulting in more marking for teachers. However, it’s almost impossible for an English person to work in the state education system in Spain due to bureaucratic barriers and strict requirements.

Living in Spain is distinct from life beyond the classroom with its laid-back atmosphere, warm climate, and outdoor leisure activities. The cost of living varies depending on the size of the town. Accommodation expenses consume approximately one-third of a teacher’s salary (45,000-60,000 pesetas, on average), but sharing a flat or compromising on location might reduce expenses. Nick Eperon in Seville recommends renting from local Exchange and Mart equivalents rather than letting agencies, which can be scammy. A deposit equivalent to two months’ rent must be paid upfront, known as the "sianza," and it’s essential to claim it while still in town to avoid losing it. Some schools offer loans to teachers for accommodation purposes.

Teachers often mention the vibrant nightlife in Spain that is notorious for starting quite late and extending into the early hours of the morning. In fact, some clubs may not even open until around 1 or 2am. Social life revolves around the lively streets as individuals congregate in bars to indulge in tapas and enjoy a glass of wine or copas with their friends.

However, it is important to note that it is common for individuals to appear distant or disinterested after a night of socializing. As Nick Eperon cautions, "Don’t be surprised if the person who was your best friend the night before seems distant the next time you see them. This is just the way of people in the south." Even after spending ten years in Seville, Eperon admits that this behavior still takes him by surprise.


  • kileybaxter

    I am a 34-year-old educational blogger and student. I enjoy writing about education and sharing my insights and experiences with others. I hope to use this blog as a way to share my knowledge and help others learn more about the subjects that interest me.

Country Of The Month: Spain


I am a 34-year-old educational blogger and student. I enjoy writing about education and sharing my insights and experiences with others. I hope to use this blog as a way to share my knowledge and help others learn more about the subjects that interest me.

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