TEFL Madrid – To Be a TEFL Teacher in Spain
Like any major decision that you make in your life, making that big jump to Teach English in Spain is not one that should be taken lightly. What are some of the things that you should be thinking about before you book your ticket and come over here to experience a new chapter in your life? Here are a couple of things to consider
- Hiring – When do TEFL Academies do most of their hiring, and how will that affect your plans? The beginning of the school year, and after Christmas Holidays are your best bet.
- Visas/Legal Information – What are the legal barriers that you need to consider before you commit yourself to becoming an English Teacher?
- Location – Where in Spain do you want to Teach English? We will weigh the pros and cons of the most popular cities in Spain to be an English Teacher
- Interviewing – It’s a fun job, but it’s still a job, and you need to be prepared. What do TEFL Academies in Spain look for in potential candidates for English Teachers? How do you prepare for the interview?
Every one of these aspects is crucial to your success. Going over each of these steps will not only help you make that decision, but make the transition to life as an expat a lot smoother, help you find a job, and pave the way for the fun and excitement that you’ve always dreamed of. So, let’s take a closer look at what the country (and in some cases, common sense) asks of you before you can begin!
When TEFL Academies hire
This pretty much goes without saying, but it will only work to your advantage if you arrive BEFORE the beginning of the school year. The school year starts in October, so if you come over here towards the end of the summer or even towards the second week of September, you should definitely have all the time that you need to find a good TEFL Course or even a job. For those who don’t have a TEFL Certificate before coming here, arriving in August should definitely give you all the time that you need.
The next peak hiring period in Spain is in January, after the Christmas Holidays. Schools are back up, and it’s not unusual for certain teachers to have decided to return to their home countries, or even somewhere else entirely.
One of the things to take into account is that private companies, parents, and teachers are always looking for teachers to give private lessons, and they could be looking for people like you right now. In fact, it’s a very popular way for teachers to make a little extra income while they handle the work load of a contract, as well.
After the holidays, summer camps look for and hire teachers in the spring. By the time April rolls around, they’re completely staffed.
Visas and The Right for English Teachers to Work in Spain
Citizens of an EU Country are legally entitled to live and work in Spain, so obtaining a visa is not required. If you’re a UK Citizen and have obtained a Residency Card and have been legally resident in the country, a visa will not be required.
As for the rest of the world, here’s your situation: You’re in the country, and you want to stay here. You need a legal status. There are several avenues that you might want to consider. If you take a TEFL Course as soon as you arrive, the school that you do your course in can help you apply for, and obtain a Tourist Visa, which gives you the right to live and work in Spain. The TEFL Academy in question (depending on where you take your TEFL Course) will also provide the support you need to getting an interview, and landing that all-too-important job that enables you to stay in the country for an extended period of time. Another way to do this is to enrol in Spanish classes. That would make you a student, and hence eligible for a student visa. With that student visa, you are allowed to work up to twenty hours per week. These are definitely important points to consider when you’re contemplating your decision.
The Auxiliares Program is another popular option for would-be English Teachers in Spain, and provide successful applicants with student visas. One of the major things to take note of is the fact that if you’re thinking of going this route, you will have to apply months in advance before you think about buying the plane ticket.
Another good possibility if you’re a National of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand is that Spain has a work agreement organized with each of these countries. If you’re from one of these countries, you are eligible for a Working Holiday Visa, which would also give you the legal right to work in Spain.
The Best Place for TEFL Teachers in Spain
Spain may certainly not be a big country by any stretch, but you certainly have a good share of options to consider where you want to work. Take into account not only what you want to do, but what you need. The larger cities in Spain, for example, will more likely fulfill the end of finding work.
Spain’s capital and largest city not only has the largest number of TEFL Academies, but they also have the largest number of public and private universities in the country. This will certainly expand your possibilities in terms of looking for work, and keep your options open as to the type of work that you’re looking for. For instance, because there are more universities in Madrid, you will more likely find students who require Exam Preparation Classes, along with Grammar and Conversation. From a legal standpoint, while authorities have cracked down on those in the country with an expired visa, there are options that are available. Some schools might hire an American, and send him or her to the student’s place of business to conduct a class. It’s another one of the options that makes Madrid an attractive option. However, it’s still highly recommended that you obtain that legal status if you decide to come to Madrid looking for work. Another great thing about the city is that you can get a student visa at accredited TEFL Academies and work legally. One less thing to worry about.
Unlike Madrid, Barcelona is less open to English Teachers without a visa or legal status than Madrid. If you decide that you want to go to Barcelona to Teach English, that recommendation is emphasized in Barcelona.
The Andalusian Capital is probably one of the most attractive of all Spanish Cities. The culture, the food, the nightly shots of flamenco, and the history are all enough to get anyone to book a plane ticket. Before you do, there are a few caveats to keep in mind. Sevilla is not as large a city as Madrid, so you don’t get too many options for work after the TEFL Course, and while cost-of-living is lower, so is your monthly stipend. On the other hand, many summer camps in Spain are in Andalusia. It isn’t unusual for a TEFL Teacher to complete a course, and look ahead to getting work secured for the summer time, which is when work becomes scarce in the country. Then, they would top it off with a contract for the school year and get right to work. Besides, having picturesque towns like Cordoba, Granada, Cadiz, Ronda, and Malaga within close reach doesn’t hurt, either.
The Interview Process
In a country where the demand for English Teachers is always through the roof, it isn’t unusual to come across the director of an English Academy, talk to him or her for a few minutes, and get offered a job on the spot. However, it wouldn’t hurt to have options. Approach your pursuit to finding that teaching job the same way you would looking for any job: With preparation and professionalism. You won’t get any job without both. While most people get the job interview by e-mailing C.V.s to potential workplaces, they ultimately land that job by meeting the employer. You may be one to send your C.V. to the academy, but always bring a hard copy of that C.V., a copy of your TEFL Certification in Spain, and maybe a lesson plan or two to give them an idea of how you work as an educator. This will give your employer the message that you take the job seriously, and it will also show them how you work as a professional. Because of the high demand for English Teachers, don’t be surprised if you have several interviews a day when you’re looking for a job. Bring several copies of your C.V., and TEFL Certification when you go to each of these interviews. This is very important.
There are a couple of resources to think about when you’re looking for a job. There are online websites like lingobongo, or tefl.com. One of the things that is best practice is to branch out. Make use of as many options as you can. The more you put yourself out there, the more likely, and the more often you will get a response. Look at all of your options ahead of time, and be professional, and you’ll be in for an experience unlike any other.