A brief guide to teaching in Spain
For those of you wanting to know the ins and outs of a TEFL teacher’s life in Spain we’ve prepared a short guide highlighting some of the major aspects:
High Demand for TEFL teachers in Spain
Hundreds of thousands of Spaniards take English classes, making the market probably the largest in Europe.
Demand seems to be pretty uniform across Spain, whether it be small coastal towns which live from tourism or the large cities.
Obviously, the bigger the population, the more English teachers are needed, which is why Madrid and, particularly Barcelona, offer the most employment opportunities.
As Spain is an attractive place to live, TEFL teachers have traditionally flocked here in numbers, even so, in recent years the demand for English classes seems to be amply exceeding the supply, with schools and businesses hard-pressed to find quality teachers with a recognised TEFL qualification.
Your employment options
Teachers typically choose between working in Language schools (“academias de idiomas”), in-company courses, or giving private classes. It’s also possible to combine all three.Teachers who have just obtained their TEFL qualification and want to teach in Spain tend to start in the language schools or with the agencies who provide in-company classes as it takes time to build up a base of private students.
When will I teach?
The working week
Students fit classes around work or school/university and a teacher’s timetable is very much conditioned by the Spaniards working day, typically from 8/9am to 7pm with a long lunch break from 2 to 4pm. As a result, most language schools start their English classes in the afternoon (5pm) and will often go on until 10pm! Adapting to life in Spain can be a bit difficult for TEFL teachers used to the Anglo-Saxon custom of having dinner at 6 or 7pm!
In-company classes will generally be first thing in the morning (as early as 7am, but usually 8am) or, more usually, during the lunch break (2pm).
Terms and Seasons
Language Schools and In-company classes follow the traditional academic calendar, with the year starting in September/October, finishing in June and being divided up into 3 terms (trimesters).
Most classes will stop for summer (July and August) and many TEFL teachers then choose to teach in the hundreds of children’s camps which spring up around Spain; a godsend for working parents whose own holidays are much shorter than those of their children!
I should add that Spain more or less closes down for the whole of August as the locals head off on holiday, so, outside of the children’s camps, there really isn’t much TEFL work in this month.
Who will I teach?
Students tend to fall into two main groups: Children and students taking extra English classes, and adults who very often need to use English at work.
Whatever the group, teaching TEFL in Spain tends to be an enjoyable experience as the Spanish are usually an open and sociable bunch who participates in an active and lively way. There are always exceptions, however!
TEFL in Spain: Recruitment Processes
In Spain, the TEFL recruitment processes tend to be relatively informal. Schools may advertise vacancies but, more often than not, will find new staff by word-of-mouth or contacts (TEFL Barcelona students can take advantage of our job guidance service and our contacts) As a newly qualified teacher, simply getting your CV/Resume into the right hands will often result in a job offer, if not immediately, then sometime in the near future.
The Recruitment Timetable
With the exception of the summer months, particularly August, there are TEFL employment opportunities in Spain virtually all year round. Peak times tend to be before each of the trimesters, with particularly high demand in September. However, vacancies appear and need to be filled, all year long.
Get in touch
Where are we
While our administrative office is in the cute Mediterranean municipality of Vilassar de Mar, all our courses are centrally located in the Eixample area of Barcelona. Once enrolled, along with your study schedule, we will provide your precise classroom locations.
You are of course welcome to make an appointment, would you like to visit the school and meet your future TEFL certificate tutors.