The beautiful beaches, the Mediterranean climate, the weeklong fiestas and the afternoon siestas… it’s not hard to see why when people want to TEFL they head off to teach English in Spain.
The economic crisis in recent years has only grown the demand for English teachers in Spain as the unemployed look to improve their CV with language skills and parents want to make sure their children can compete in a competitive job market. The academic year in Spain runs from September to June, with the most active recruitment times being May and June with schools and academies looking to get English teachers in place for the start of the next year.
With only 18% of Spaniards able to speak conversational English, the demand for teachers is high and there are plenty of opportunities for those looking to teach English in Spain. The majority of these opportunities are at private language schools – of which there are 6,000 in total in Spain. However, many TEFL teachers offer private lessons for children, and as you can charge around £12/$20 an hour, it’s a great source of extra income. There are also plenty of opportunities during June – September to teach English at summer camps – perfect if you want to test the waters of teaching abroad, but don’t want to commit to a full year! Many of the teaching opportunities in Spain can be found on online jobs boards and jobs sites, and there’s even a teaching in Spain conference called Spainwise!
You'll need a minimum of an i-to-i 120 Hour Online TEFL Course, although our 420 Hour Advanced Diploma is recommended if you have no teaching experience. You don't have to have a degree to teach in Spain, but having one will always boost your application.
Get your free guide to teaching English in Spain and find out more.
The cost of living in Spain is comparable to that in most other Western European countries and is also somewhat dependent on the strength of the Euro. If the Euro is strong, Spain’s tourist economy means that things get slightly more expensive. Below is an outline of some average costs for an English teacher in Spain:
A central studio apartment in Madrid or Barcelona = £500/$700 per month.
An average grocery shop (purchased from the local 'mercado') = £40/$60 per week
A cup of coffee in a local coffee shop = £1/$1.70
Tapas and a glass of wine at a local Spanish bar = £10/$13
Entrance to local outdoor swimming pool = £2/$3
Train ticket from Barcelona to Madrid (off peak) = £35/$50
Spanish food is popular worldwide, but arguably the best place to find Spanish food is of course, in Spain! Paella is a very well-known typical Spanish dish, which originated in Valencia and is traditionally made with seafood, although there are now chicken dishes available.
Tapas is well-loved with the Spanish, consisting of several small dishes of different types of food, which can be hot or cold. Popular dishes include cured meats such as chorizo, and potato dishes like Patatas Bravas, where the potato is fried in oil and marinated in a spicy tomato sauce.
A favourite Spanish dessert of many is churros, which are stick-like doughnuts, and taste amazing dipped in chocolate sauce!
No Spanish meal is complete without Sangria; a mix of red wine, lemonade and fresh fruit, and is the perfect drink on a warm summer’s evening. If red wine’s not your thing then try Cava – the Spanish equivalent of champagne – originally from Catalonia, you can pick up a bottle for about £8/$13 in Spanish supermarkets.
As an alternative to alcohol, try Horchata (locally known as ‘orxata’). This is the ultimate hot summer’s day drink, made from ground almonds, tiger nuts, water and sugar, with a refreshing, velvety taste.
Spain is well-known for its warm weather and beautiful sunshine, and the cities of Madrid and Valencia can reach up to 40 degrees Celsius in the summer, with Barcelona a more bearable 28 degrees. The winters can be quite cool though, at around 9 degrees in the winter.
Unlike some other countries, when you get a job to teach English in Spain it’s unlikely that your employer will provide accommodation. You will find your own accommodation, although your employers will help point you in the right direction and will often have a list of accommodation providers that you can use. Housing standards are similar to what you will expect at home, although you’ll notice slight differences in the interiors, such as tiled floors rather than carpets to keep the temperatures cooler. A lot of apartment blocks also have communal pools – always a bonus!
With hundreds of cities and towns, the potential places to teach English in Spain are quite literally endless, although the majority of opportunities lie in the capital Madrid, and the larger cities of Barcelona and Valencia.
Consider yourself as quite cultured and into the arts? The historical capital of Madrid will definitely have plenty to keep your occupied during your evenings and weekends! Spend your days getting lost round the winding cobblestoned streets, gaze at the impressive Royal Palace (the largest in Western Europe!) and enjoy your evenings at an authentic flamenco show.
If you see yourself as sophisticated and glamorous, then without a doubt Barcelona is for you. It’s world-renowned for its amazing shopping, with a mixture of high street stores, quirky vintage shops and luxury boutiques; it’s every shopaholic’s dream! The nightlife is pretty great too – to party like a local, head to the El Born district: just be sure to dress to impress, these sophisticated bars have a strict dress policy!
If you’d prefer to spend your free time lounging around on a sandy beach, then Valencia – boasting two beaches – is the ideal choice. The pace is much more relaxed here than in Madrid and Barcelona (in the day at least); and in the evenings you can either opt to sip coffee at one of the many late night café’s, or head to the area of Barrio del Carmen with an abundance of bars and clubs spilling out into the streets – Valencia truly offers the best of both worlds.
The public transport in the majority of Spanish cities is modern and easy to use. The larger cities of Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia are served by buses and metros and a one way ticket costs an average of £1.20/$2 – very reasonable!
If you’re planning to travel around Spain in the school holidays, Iberia Airlines offers frequent internal flights. You can travel from Madrid to Barcelona in just 1 hour 20 minutes for £75 per person one way – the same amount of time it takes to jet off to Palma, Majorca!
If you’re looking to teach English in Spain but don’t want to commit to a long TEFL contract then why not consider teaching in a summer camp? Mostly located in the north of Spain, you’ll spend your days singing, dancing and acting in English!
The Spanish eat dinner late on, with many provincial restaurants not serving meals until 9pm – so turn up before then and you’ll just have to wait!
Bullfighting is a sensitive issue in Spain, so avoid bringing it up in conversation unless directly asked about it. While many Spaniards dislike bullfighting, they don’t want it banned as Catalonia has suggested, as they believe it is more of a move to ban Spanish tradition rather than protecting animal rights.
If you're keen to find out more about teaching in Spain then you'll want to check out the i-to-i TEFL free guide. You'll find out loads more useful information on finding your first job, where you can teach and how to negotiate the best salary package.
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