Now, if you are a TEFL Teacher who doesn’t speak Spanish, you won’t know how to respond. If you are a TEFL Teacher who does, on the other hand, what do you do? Remember, you are in that class to Teach English. It’s what you’re doing in Spain in the first place. So, with regards to the most frequently asked question, “Do I need to speak Spanish to Teach English in Spain?” The answer is no. “Does it help to speak Spanish to Teach English in Spain?” The answer is yes.
Why is that? Let’s begin this two-part explanation with why it isn’t necessary to Speak Spanish.
Thinking professionally, you are in Spain to Teach English. That is your job description. After assessing your student’s abilities, it’s on you to deliver the classes that they need in order to improve. During the class in question, there may be certain choice individuals paying attention. Family (mothers, father, sisters, brothers), friends, and depending on the location, other teachers. Before, during and after classes, they do talk amongst themselves, and if they (specifically the family) see that the students aren’t showing progress despite the teacher’s presence, they will seek another teacher. If the student is able to communicate with the teacher in their native Spanish, then you’re not doing your job. Pure and simple.
Why do they want immersion with their TEFL classes? Think about it. How did you learn to speak English? They want their children to experience English instead of simply learning the mechanics of the language. They want their children to be involved with the language as their minds develop. It’s a challenge for everyone learning English in Spain, no doubt about that. The sooner they develop that understanding, the sooner they can actively use and create language independently. The methods that we use to Teach English is done in English, so speaking Spanish to TEFL Students is strongly advised against.
Many parents in Spain who want their children to learn English primarily want them to go off to University, find good jobs, and be successful. While the younger TEFL Students might be a little reluctant to learning a new language, they will begin their language journey a bit younger than their parents. What this means is that you will likely meet parents who speak no English at all. Why is this a problem as it pertains to the original question? This is where speaking Spanish in Spain can certainly be helpful. If you, the TEFL Teacher, are able to communicate with the parents without the use of Google Translator, you will almost instantly gain rapport with the parents, and as time goes on, you will build trust with them. TEFL Teachers in Spain actively contribute to Spanish society, so that communication can, and will almost certainly be a key in building that necessary bridge between worker and client, between one culture and another.
It’s also helpful outside the classroom as well. Remember, you are not in your home country when you wake up in the morning and go to work, so having that basic knowledge of Spanish can help you get around, order food at restaurants, and have even the most basic of conversations with Spanish locals.
A yes and no answer to a question can almost certainly be complicated unless both parts to the answer are effectively explained. The question of Speaking Spanish while Teaching English in Spain is no exception. It’s a good idea to Speak Spanish to be able to converse with the parents before or after a class, or with locals outside the classroom. Nobody wants to be lost, or feel that there is no one that they can talk to in any situation. It’s not a good idea to Speak Spanish as a TEFL Teacher in Spain because your students are paying you to teach them English, and the best way to do that is to do so in English. Grade your language accordingly, and this will help them understand.