TEFL Madrid – Life Beyond the TEFL Coursetoeflmad
Meet Allen, a TEFL graduate who’s been working in Spain for the past three years. Allen earned a TEFL Certification in Spain, and is now working as an English Teacher in Madrid. TEFL Madrid got in contact with him recently to get the inside scoop on what he has been doing since he made the big step from his days in Canada, how Teaching English in Spain has been treating him, and how work and life is treating him after completing his TEFL Course.
What did you do before you took your TEFL Course?
I worked in security and retail property management, but I didn’t particularly enjoy the work. I travelled for a little bit in 2013 in Europe, and really enjoyed myself. I wanted to come back and make a living, so I decided to take the leap, and subsequently take a TEFL Course here in Spain.
What was the deciding factor that led to you taking a TEFL Course in Madrid?
Apart from the desire to travel more and work in Europe, I really enjoy helping people reach their goals, and I enjoy working with, and learning my own language (apart from others, of course!). I did some creative and technical writing while going to University and while actively engaged in my career in retail property management, so I felt that this is where I could be of help the most. When I was working security, I also had the opportunity to train new recruits, and I was often looked to when Upper Management needed a proof-reader or editor to gave certain documents a second read. I knew that I had the training I needed, and that was when I decided to make the move to Spain to do my TEFL Course. When I was doing my research, I found that TE Madrid not only provided the necessary support in the classroom, they also gave students teaching practice, and a qualification that helped teachers find jobs not only in Madrid, but elsewhere in Spain if they desired. TEFL Madrid seemed like a one-stop shop for training and job placement.
Was there anything about taking your TEFL Course that seemed to take you by surprise?
I couldn’t believe how much of my own language I wasn’t aware of. It heightened my perception of the language I innately knew, and thus helped me understand what those innate secrets were so that I could effectively teach learners.
What would you say is the most valuable experience that you gained?
I would say that, apart from the unique language insight, the helpful nature of the teachers who were with me, guiding me through the process of being a TEFL Teacher in Spain. Being in that course was reminiscent of going to University, but everyone was very encouraging. They were happy to guide me through everything from the teaching process, to understanding how things work in Spain, to how I could apply for and attain Residency. It’s a stark contrast to how things are in Canada, so I made sure to pay close attention to what I needed to do.
So… you finished your TEFL Certification. What has been your experience as a TEFL Teacher?
I didn’t come to Spain with a job, so it was important for me to get myself employed as soon as I finished my TEFL Course. I didn’t have any income. One of the things I did immediately after I completed my course was compose a CV, and send it out to as many academies, on as many platforms as I could. I went to Dave’s ESL Café, and Lingobongo, and really pounded the pavement. I met someone who included me in the Auxiliares Program here in Madrid, and got me my first job in the Madrid Public School System. While I was doing that, I started taking on private students, and putting into practice what I learned before I got my TEFL Certification. I worked privately for a little while, and saw that I was gradually shifting my focus to Exam Preparation. For the last couple of years, I’ve been able to successfully help my students get jobs in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
Was it difficult for you to find a job as a TEFL Teacher in Spain?
When I came out here, I was aware of the job market, and the unemployment levels, and I was a little hesitant, I won’t lie. Then, I saw the demand for English Teachers in Spain, and I went for it. After my TEFL Course, there was a good couple of weeks where I wasn’t working, but fortunately, I had a good amount of money saved up. I wasn’t too worried, and with a little persistence, I was able to find a job without any problems.
Did you notice anything beneficial of taking a TEFL Course when applying for teaching positions, and ultimately carrying out the job requirements of a TEFL Teacher?
I found that people will be more receptive to your application if you have that TEFL Certification in Spain. It is one of the things they require if you want a job over here, even though I do know people who were able to do so with only their Bachelor’s Degrees. I did see that my training went a long way to enabling me to do my job effectively, after having completed my TEFL Course. I knew about eliciting responses, and concept-checking questions. Showing an added awareness of the language I was teaching helped me not only do my job, but I gained valuable relationships with families I still work with to this day.
What advice would you offer for people looking for teaching jobs in Spain?
It’s like looking for a job in any field at any time. The more CVs you send out, the more responses you’ll get. The more responses you get, the more interviews you’ll land. The more interviews you land, the more likely you’ll find a job. If you look hard enough, and through many avenues, you’ll definitely find something. Don’t just rely on academies like TE Madrid. Be proactive, and look for opportunities on your own. It’s an admirable characteristic.
How has being a TEFL Teacher changed your life?
I can honestly say that working as an English Teacher in Madrid has been an incredible experience. I’ve been able to travel to much of Europe and Northern Africa. I’ve been able to my French and Spanish, and I got to know some wonderful people that not only became students, but became friends.
What advice would you give someone who is doubting the TEFL Course offered at TE Madrid?
If you trust your abilities as an English-speaker, and you want to be a TEFL Teacher, I always recommend giving it a try. The experience of learning more about your language is invaluable, and it’s one of the great things about taking the course at TE Madrid. You work with people who have experience teaching English in Spain. If you really want to pursue working as an English Teacher in Spain, one of the things I would also recommend doing would be to use Exercises at the Advanced and Proficient Level as practice for your own growth. If you can demonstrate that you’re able to effectively pass the toughest of English exams, your advice will be invaluable. You’ll be surprised how many Native English speakers are working as teachers, but can’t pass these difficult, but necessary tests. Never stop learning your own language, just like you would never stop learning your trade in any other job field.