Teaching in Spain: 5 Best Places to Work
OFor those interested in a career in Teaching in Europe, Spain is an obvious choice. A relaxed lifestyle, long summers and tapas- what’s not to love! There is a great amount of work in Spain for TEFL teachers and a variety of cities to choose from. Tourism is the main industry and English is very much a requirement for many jobs and educational courses for locals- this means that there are lots of jobs for TEFL teachers! Within a few weeks you can go from filling out applications to teaching your first class!
What type of work can I get in Spain?
Language schools are the main source of work where you can teach children and adults General English in Spain. These classes mostly take place in the afternoons, with some schools offering morning work too. The school year generally runs from September to June and some schools might offer summer work with intensive courses for students. There are also summer schools or camps that take place in July where you can find work. August is normally a month of holiday in Spain with many offices finishing early and families taking holidays.
For those wanting to supplement their income, private classes are a good option and are available in every city. These might even be arranged through your school with your current students, or you can find your own students by advertising locally or on social media. These classes can range from parents wanting additional help for their children in English to in-company Business classes. The rate you set depends on the city you live in with business classes generating more income.
Where do I go in Spain to teach English?
Due to the need for teaching English in Spain, you can pretty much find work in any town or city. Even the smallest of towns have a local English academy and many adults want to learn English to take official exams which will help them with their work or to get into university. Life in Spain can vary- the north is colder with breathtaking landscapes and great food whereas the south can provide you with great weather and a cheaper cost of living.
Let’s look at the most popular places to teach English in Spain.
Jumping out at number one is the capital city, Madrid. Not only is there a lot of work teaching English in Spain, it’s a great city to live in too. It’s perfect for people who love bigger cities and being the capital, it’s well-connected to the rest of Spain, Europe and even Latin America for those explorers among us! Madrid is a very safe and clean capital too with lots to do- it even has an Egyptian temple! One of the most famous hangouts is Retiro Park where you can spend the day enjoying the sun.
One of the advantages of teaching in Madrid is the range of work– you can work in language schools, find assistant jobs in public schools and even do in-company work teaching Business English. You can also find lots of private classes where you can charge a higher hourly rate than the rest of Spain.
Madrid vs Barcelona- you’ll find everyone debating this, especially football fans. The two cities are quite different to live in. Barcelona is a natural second choice for the best cities to live in and may actually be a lot of people’s first choice! For those that like to be closer to the beach, Barcelona has it all- city, beach and mountains. Like Madrid, it’s well connected to the rest of Spain and Europe, and offers a lot of work for TEFL qualified teachers. Discovering Barcelona will not only allow you to get to know traditional Spanish culture, but also Catalan culture, and even language if you choose to delve into it! Barcelona is similar in opportunities to Madrid. Choosing one doesn’t have to mean you miss out on the other- the two cities are connected by train or bus and you can get between them in around 3 hours.
Malaga may not be the largest city in Spain in terms of area or population. But its economy is growing fast, meaning the need for English teachers is greater than ever. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Spain. There are plenty of English language schools scattered. Not only in the city, but along the coast too. For those who really want to take advantage of the warm Spanish weather. Malaga is the one to beat with some of the warmest winter temperatures in Europe.
The cheaper Andalucian cost of living allows you to live comfortably on your TEFL wage. It’s a great base to explore other cities in Andalucia (Seville, Granada, Cordoba!). If you’re missing the big city, you can hop on the high-speed train and be in Madrid in under three hours. If you’re looking for beaches and mountains, but don’t want to be in a city as big as Barcelona, Malaga is a good option.
The capital of Andalucia offers a truly enriching cultural experience. There’s lots to do and plenty of TEFL work in local language academies and lots of private classes available for extra work. At the weekends, you can explore the beautiful city which is truly unique. Seville is rich in Spanish culture and known for its flamenco tradition. Living and working here will give you a true sense of Spain and its central Andalusian location gives you the chance to explore Spain in your free time. It also has a very social international scene where you can meet people, learn Spanish together or take up a new hobby such as kayaking on the river! Seville is also home to some famous filming locations for Game of Thrones, Star Wars, Mission Impossible and more! See if you can spot where they were filmed on a weekend movie location hunt!
The Canary Islands
Are you an island person at heart? Do you dream of all-round sun and beach vibes? For a different feel to the other places on this list, you can teach in Spain in one of the Canary Islands. There are many different islands so it’s important to research which is right for you. Tourism is more popular than ever in the islands so English teachers are in high demand. The Canaries have the advantage of a mild climate in winter and amazing volcanic landscapes.
Living there you can also hop on a ferry to another island to explore. Each island has its own character and can offer you a different experience. Tenerife and Gran Canaria in particular have an increasing amount of TEFL work. Find this work in local language academies. The cost of living is relatively low. At the weekends, you can hang at the beach and take up a new sport like surfing or paddle boarding. The Canaries are not just full of tourist resorts as you might think, they have breathtaking landscapes, great hiking and mountain views.
Before moving to Spain as a TEFL teacher, here are some things to keep in mind:
- Although English is used daily in the bigger cities. Learning some Spanish will make things a lot easier teaching in Spain. Speaking the language allows you to immerse yourself. As well as help you with your students. If you don’t have time to learn before you go, you can sign up for a language course. Take private classes or go to some “intercambios” (language exchanges). A lot of schools will see it as an advantage if you can speak some Spanish. You will be able to communicate with parents and the younger students who don’t know a lot of English.
- Always be sure of the conditions of the job before you start. Many jobs advertise “take-home” pay but always double-check, don’t get caught out at the end of the month.
- You should also be mindful that some regions have their own languages. (Catalunya, the Basque Country, Galicia for example). While you can use Castilian (traditional) Spanish everywhere, it would be good if you also took the time to learn some phrases in the other language if you are living in these regions.
- The Spanish lifestyle can be more relaxed than perhaps where you are from. This often extends to administrative processes. Things can take a little longer to process (residency, bank applications etc). Ensure you organise your documents. Don’t leave anything to the last minute in case of any delays.
- The school year runs from September/October to June. Academies often start recruiting from May onwards for these positions. You may also find some jobs advertised around December/ January for mid-year vacancies. This often means that the previous teacher has left and you will be replacing them.
If you’re not sold on the places on this list, you have plenty of other options to choose from. Other places worth looking into are Valencia, Santander and Cordoba. Life in Spain can offer you a relaxed lifestyle and the opportunity to get to know a diverse country.