Teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) in Spain has been in high demand in the major cities for a long time. However, the great news is that in recent years learning English has risen in popularity spreading out to rural and smaller towns. Learning English has now become so popular in these lesser-known areas that academies are busy, Cambridge exam centers are booked up, conversation classes are set up everywhere, companies and corporations are having in-house classes.
TEFL is Making an Impact in Smaller Towns and Rural Areas
After studying and passing my TEFL certificates 11 years ago in 2008 I didn’t actually find contract work until 2014! I was shocked at the negative attitudes of parents and children towards learning English in the area of Aguilas, Murcia where I was living at the time. Over the past few years in these less well-known towns and rural areas small academies, summer camps, immersion and hosting companies have sprouted up enabling qualified TEFL teachers to find work without having the expense of living in a major city.
So, what type of jobs are out there today? What legalities do I need? How much can you earn?
How can I improve my C.V?
Note: All workers in Spain need an NIE Certificate. However, with most contractual jobs the employers will organize this.
My Start in TEFL
My first contracted TEFL job was a case of being in the right place at the right time. I had moved areas so I joined a female in the business lunch club. (I was a freelance writer at the time) The job was in a totally different classroom environment to how I’d studied.
A rather new concept, it was a kind of summer camp from Monday to Friday in an immersion environment for children from 9 to 16 years. The Children and their teacher/teachers come out of schools in Murcia and Alicante regions for a school week as part of their English program. They stay in a specialist center offering classroom facilities, sports facilities on an all-inclusive basis.
The classes were PowerPoint-based from 9am till 1pm and consisted of introducing the various United Kingdom cultures, musical activities, animation/film, grammar-based quizzes, pair work, games, and discussions. As a teacher, you had the freedom to introduce TEFL games as and when you felt the children needed a change of pace as long as they were enjoying the class. The classes were dynamic and as a teacher you didn’t stop, it was a great classroom experience with around 15 per class.
During the afternoon the children would take part in a variety of team sports and games plus an evening and entertainment program which included a film night. The weeks were very positive and for many of the children, it was their first time away from home so you felt a little bit more than a teacher in lots of ways.
The only negative aspect of this job was that it wasn’t guaranteed every week and occasionally schools had to cancel so I needed to supplement my income.
A Brief Insight into Private Academies
Academies are now all over Spain and are geared towards students achieving Cambridge exams. These are where most of the contracted work lies so teachers must be knowledgeable in all the exam requirements from Starters (pre A1) to A1 Movers, A2 Flyers and Key (KET), B1 PE , B2 First for Schools, C1 Advanced, C2 Proficiency and IELTS (International English Language Testing System). The IELTS certificate is what most employers look for around the world where certain jobs require English proficiency. You can also train to teach IELTS as a specialist in this area but be prepared to go deep into grammar.
Since the boom in bilingual schools in 2010/2011and a higher enthusiasm from the children and parents, there has also been a rise in private academy attendance in rural and smaller towns. This has created many jobs for TEFL teachers while at the same time seeing more Cambridge exam pass marks.
Whether you prefer to work with young learners, teenagers or adults, having a TEFL certificate is a recognized qualification around the globe today. To improve the look of your CV and your chances of work it is worth taking a variety of courses to add to your teacher status as I did.
After at least 1 year of teaching experience, many teachers take advanced courses to improve their TEFL career and move into management roles or specialized areas like teaching business English. Please click on the link to find out all you need to know regarding qualifications and courses.
Salaries in academies in Spain are on average 1100/1200 Euros per month for around 25 teaching hours per week. This also includes your Social Security contribution which also gets you your health (SIP) card. Many academies expect you to prepare lesson plans within the core curriculum of each coursebook and structure of the exam the students are aiming for. You must also be prepared to work unsociable hours, especially when teaching school children as most schools in Spain close at 2pm or 3pm so classes generally commence from 4pm until 9pm.
Have Fun at Summer Camps and Network
Summer camps have been around for a long time and are a great way to spend a month or so in Spain in a fun environment, stay all-inclusive and enjoy great weather. These jobs also give you a great opportunity to make new contacts in the TEFL teaching industry and meet new fellow teachers.
I know some teachers who return year after year to the same camps and usually extend their stay and enjoy a holiday after their hard work. You must be prepared to be on the go all day until around 10pm and I highly recommend getting fit a few months before you go if you are not already.
Business English In-House with some Major Companies and Corporations
Teaching in-house at companies and corporations is becoming more and more popular and the hours are generally more sociable than in academies. Usually, companies and corporations like the Guardia Civil and Vodafone have an in-house classroom where certain hours are scheduled for the employees and management to attend classes during the day.
You must be skilled at lesson planning unless the students are studying for exams, therefore you can prepare activities in conjunction with their course books. If you are successful this is a great way to get a reputation, get referrals and gain new clients. Pay is usually negotiated between the human resources department and the teacher as the companies and corporations generally have a budget purposely for staff education. Teachers in these environments are generally self-employed freelancers.
Be a Host with the Most
Finally, living in Spain has brought me opportunities to be a host family for students from Spain, France, Italy, and other European countries. As Spain is renowned for having a huge amount of British communities, people from other European countries find it more attractive and cheaper to come to Spain for an immersion experience.
I have hosted many students of all ages and all walks of life. I offer lessons as well as immersion with activities and outings to local cities and places of interest. Some hosting companies do farm out teachers to give lessons so you don’t have to be a TEFL teacher but I would recommend that you do a TEFL course as guests generally want the full package. This is also a self-employed option and you will receive a contract from a reputable immersion or host company to prove your income.
15 years More Por Favor!
Living in Spain for me after 15 years is still a great experience and lifestyle. I am always finding new places to visit, fall upon hidden gems and enjoy meeting new characters. The cost of living is low and at least twice a week I go for a great value ‘Menu del Dia’ for 10 Euros including a small glass of wine, small beer or soft drink.
It can sometimes be cheaper to eat out than in. There is less traffic on the roads, free parking, less crowded streets and shopping centers even in the height of summer. Apart from the beautiful beaches, the climate being more favorable than the UK and a less stressful lifestyle, Spain has an amazing health care system.