Teaching English In Spain Upon my investigation of obtaining a


Upon my investigation of obtaining a position teaching English as a foreign language in the country of Spain I discovered a bit of vital information. This being that it is rather difficult for an American, or non EU resident, to find work. Though it's not impossible, the red tape and the jumping through hoops to get the required visa cause employers to look to their native English speaking neighbors in the U.K. and Ireland to fill positions. However, the demand for teachers is high, and if you have the time, money, and patience, eventually something will turn up. There was a common sentiment, and lots of sound advice in the articles I read, which was all very enlightening and, for the most part encouraging. With a little diligence it can be done.

Firstly, something I wish I had known more about before I left the States is getting a work or student visa. Both require a lot of waiting time and preparation before even leaving the U.S. Also, the before mentioned leaning toward to hiring of English and Irish teachers is due to the fact that visas are not required for them, which means no hassle for the employer. However, 'working illegally has few disadvantages. It means you don't sign a contract, and in theory the stability factor is lower. But, it also means you don't pay taxes. In some cases you will be paid in cash, while some schools and agencies will give you a monthly pay-to- bearer check cashable at a'.bank.' [1] Still, not having the proper work could mean an 'automatic rejection' from certain schools. That being said, there is an abundance of English schools and a high demand for teachers, not to mention plenty of opportunity for giving private lessons. In fact, the latter is likely to be the most lucrative.

'A private teacher can charge more per hour than he or she might earn from a school. Most private teachers in [Barcelona] charge in the range of 12 to 20 euros a lesson.' [2] It is a good idea to get certified in the field, as you can start out at a higher rate per hour. The only real obstacle is getting to know the area and the people in it, which means spending time there during which you are unemployed. However, there is high level of interest in learning English here. 'There are two major factors that contribute to this. First of all, people'seem to know how important a good knowledge of English is to getting ahead in today's world. Second, about 70 percent of the local population is completely bi-lingual, already adept at two languages.' This added enthusiasm is very much a plus for teachers, as a willing learning is an attentive one.

Something that was stressed throughout all of my reading was the importance of actual experience. In Spain, although a TEFL certificate is valued, your hiring potential is greater if you have already spent time in the classroom. Employers want to know that you are capable of handling yourself, and won't fall apart in difficult situations.

It seems that teaching in Spain proves to be more difficult than a lot of other countries, and a lot of preparation is required. 'Students will most likely have been studying English for many years, so they know the difference between a teacher who is prepared and one who isn't. They also aren't afraid to speak up if they are unhappy with the class or think the quality is lower than it should be. This means that you, as a teacher, need to be able to answer [the] student's questions (even the complicated grammar ones), plan lessons, come to class prepared, motivate your students, design interesting and relevant activities, and be enthusiastic about teaching because your students will expect all of this and more.' [2]

All in all, if you're up for a challenge, the benefits seem to far outweigh the struggles. In the end, it all builds character anyway, which will make for a better teacher.

Source #1: www.transitionsabroad.com

Source #2: www.expatriatecafe.com

Source #3: www.eslemployment.com