I wouldn’t have chosen to teach English in Spain for almost seven years if I didn’t think it was a great place to live. Yes, I may have had my moments when I’ve wanted to jump on the nearest ferry to Morocco for an adventure or swim back to England to escape the blistering heat, but it’s a great place to TEFL!
Life in the classroom
Spanish kids and teenagers are not the best behaved in the world: they can be pretty chulo (cocky), and it might take you a while to get your classroom management up to scratch, but once you get to know them they are a decent bunch.
Why teach in Spain – The youngsters
I live and teach in Seville, a city in the south of Spain, and I’m in my sixth term with the same academy. So yes, I do love my job! My normal hours are from 4 pm to 10 pm, Monday to Thursday, where I teach kids and teenagers. This year I have 90 students spread across 8 different classes. That’s a lot of Maria’s and Pablo’s to remember, and plenty of reports to write after the exams, but I like the working environment of an academy.
We prepare students for the Cambridge Certificates: KET, PET, FCE, and CAE, which helps them get into University or find a job. Demand for English is high and business is booming. It’s great seeing the kids grow up through the years.
I’ve got some 18-year-old students that I’m preparing for the PRE First Certificate at the moment. I first taught them when they were 13. Helping them achieve their goals brings great job satisfaction.
Despite following a syllabus, we have freedom in the class. We use ebeam whiteboard technology, which is great for creating dynamic and interactive classes. The kids love getting involved and over time it has become a necessary tool in my working life.
I love showing YouTube clips and getting students to answer follow up questions. I also use funny photos of their favourite pop stars or actors and take the mick in class. I have one group who love (and hate) Justin Beiber, who I call Justin Beaver. A photo of Justin’s head attached to a beaver’s body went down quite well with most of the class.
What about the adult students?
Times are hard in Spain and the standard TEFL wages of between €1,000 and €1,200 is enough to get by, but I do extra business classes in the morning to bump up my pay packet. Teaching adults can be more chilled, mainly because you’re not constantly telling them to stop checking WhatsApp on their phone.
Adults are generally keen to learn and have a fun sense of humour. Conversation classes are popular and they love being corrected. I’ve banned talk on the current economic crisis though; it’s a bit depressing first thing in the morning!
I’ve had a few ‘dry’ groups over the years where classes tend to float by like a slow boat on the Mekong river. You would have thought that every Spanish person has loads to talk about, but sometimes getting them to speak is una lucha (a struggle).
If you’re a first time TEFL teacher, beware: you need to know your stuff when it comes to grammar. Spanish adults want to know ‘why’ for everything. My first two years were tough; I always thought I was prepared, but there would always be a student who would find that extra question that I didn’t have the answer to. “Err, I don’t know actually, I’ll tell you next class,” would be my typical answer. Make sure you do though because they have excellent memories!
Life in the real world
Let’s be honest; teaching English in Spain is great because you get a lot of free time. You tend to teach between 20 and 24 contact hours, with a few more for planning, so you have time to live.
In Seville, we get over 300 days of sun a year. When it rains, it absolutely chucks it down for a couple of days (or a couple of months which it did two years ago), but in general, you can plan trips away at the weekend without worrying about the weather. Saying that it rained on my wedding day last September and it NEVER rains in September.
Each region of Spain has its own culture and list of things to do. I’d recommend researching before you choose a destination. I picked Seville because I wanted to be in a large city near the beach, which ruled out Madrid and learn Castellano, which ruled out Barcelona. Learning Spanish is a great feeling. After 6 years I’m pretty good; my pronunciation still needs a bit of work because I can’t roll my r’s, but I’m almost fluent in reading and listening.
One great aspect of living in Seville is the places to visit in Andalucia. You have fantastic beaches in the south near Cadiz, historical cities to explore like Cordoba, pretty paths to walk along in the countryside in Aracena, mountains to ski down in the Sierra Nevada in Granada, flamenco shows to watch while drinking sherry in Jerez. And if you fancy it then crazy nights out to be had with the drunk Brits on the Costa del Sol.
Don’t forget the public holidays! Two weeks at Christmas, a week during Semana Santa at Easter, Ferias – fairs, and random bank holidays spread through the year. The Spanish aren’t lazy, they work really hard, but they do appreciate a good day off.
You never know, you might meet your future esposo/esposa like I did. My wife used to be my student, and I’ve got a dog too, called Pepa, who loves walking by the beach.
So life as a TEFL teacher is pretty good in Spain. Are you thinking of going to Spain? Which destination grabs you most? I’d be happy to answer any questions if you want to leave a comment. Suerte.
Baz is currently TEFLing out in sunny Seville in Spain, the lucky dude, but has previously taught English in Ecuador, Brazil, Australia and Thailand, so he’s most definitely a TEFL expert! If you’d like to get a taste of TEFL in Spain why not check out our Spain TEFL Job Guide!
120 hr online course for i to i TEFL and I am going to Costa Del Sol for 10 days in early January. I am hoping to use this time to talk with some private schools and maybe secure some work. I have got a list of the schools in the Andalucia region from Spainwise.com and I’m going to use that list. Can you offer me any advice. Your help would be greatly appreciated Fiona
Hey Fiona, Congrats on completing your TEFL course! I think that you might find reading the following useful – http://www.onlinetefl.com/teach-english-abroad/spain/ It’s a guide to teaching English in Spain specifically and covers everything from the cost of living to what to expect from the public transport. In terms of jobs in Spain, it seems you’re well prepared (we recommend Spainwise as a recruiter on our jobs board so you’re in good hands)! How long were you looking to teach in Spain for? If you’re looking for a short term contract we could recommend a few summer camp organisations that our TEFLers have worked for before! Best of luck with your adventure!
I am retiring from my job as an administrator at a university at the end of June 2015 (at 64), and am looking into doing a 140hr course in order to be able to teach and live somewhere close to Barcelona. Are there any other kids of the ’50’s out there doing this? Kind regards, Hendrine
Hi Hendrine, there aren’t any specific age guidelines for Europe, and it will largely depend down to each school. If you get TEFL-qualified and then search for a job while in Spain (visiting schools, handing out your CV etc), you’ll be much more likely to find a job though, as employers will be able to see you in person. Another option to look at could be teaching English online – you can request a call back from one our expert advisers here http://www.onlinetefl.com/contact-tefl-team/call-me-back.html if you want to talk through your options, or have any more questions!
Hope this helps!
I have been really wanting to teach in Spain after I finish my university degree and have my 140hrs of TEFL but… I only see jobs that are for EU passport/citizen! I am Australian, are there any jobs in Spain where I don’t need an EU passport??
Hi Ben, it will be down to individual employers, so I would contact employers directly and ask them – there will be jobs out there for non EU citizens, just maybe not quite as many opportunities. Good luck with your job search in Spain!
Hi I am currently still in high school (11th grade) and its always been my dream to teach English in Spain, and I have been on the TEFL website looking at job oppurtunities, and I know ithat it is a bit early but I can’t wait…..but I have really only seen jobs where being a EU citizen or having a EU passport iOr being a USA citizen is a requirement….I am South Afriican. Are there any English teaching jobs in Spain if you are a South African?
Hi Callan, it’s so nice to hear you’re looking forward to teaching overseas! While it’s easier for EU nationals to get jobs in Spain as it means the schools don’t have to sort out visas; there are opportunities for South Africans to work in Spain and the rest of Europe too. We’d advise you spend some time in Spain when you’re ready to start teaching there, as you can visit schools personally and hand out your CV. Hope this helps!
Finished the 140 hour course and am starting a job in a private school just outside Bibao in a month. I’ve never taught a class before and am really nervous so how can I prepare to the max so I don’t get sacked? Also any advice on accommodation would be helpful.
Hi Kevin, first of all, well done! Second of all, I’m sure you won’t get sacked! It’s natural you’ll feel nervous, but the 20 hour classroom course you’ll have already completed will provide you with the fundamentals of teaching. You may find a copy of our Essential TEFL Book useful – it has hundreds of activities and lesson plans which you can use for your classes, and base future lesson plans on. We also have a range of specialist modules that you may find beneficial – one of them being Teaching in Spain, where you can learn about the classroom culture, and the specific issues Spanish students face when trying to learn English. We also have short modules in Teaching English to Young Learners and Teaching Large Classes, so depending on your circumstances, they may be good for you too. You can see all of our specialist modules here: http://www.onlinetefl.com/tefl-courses/specialist-tefl-modules.html or alternatively, if you give us a call 0800 093 3148, our advisers will be happy to help and answer any questions you may have about teaching in the classroom.
With regards to accommodation, that would be something to discuss with your employers, as they may well help you find a place. Hope this helps and good luck!
I think one of your advertisings triggered my browser to resize, you might want to put that on your blacklist.
Wow, just ended reading this blog. Very great information you got there. Surely following your site! Thank you very much.
Good day Ellie. Would you please contact me so that I may ask more questions about TEFL in Spain. Kind regards, Francois
Thanks for getting in touch. If you would like more information about our living in Spain you can read our Spain Job Guide by clicking here or you can give our office a call. Our TEFL experts will be able to answer any questions you might have.
Your i-to-i team
Hey Baz! Thanks so much for sharing your article about your experiences teaching English in Seville. My boyfriend and I are looking at moving to Granada in September to teach English and it would be great to hear a bit more about how you got into it and any advice you might have with applying etc. Looking forward to hearing from you!
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