Thursday, August 7, 2008

TESOL Jobs in Spain

General Information

Prospects for English teachers have long been good in Spain, with language schools catering to the needs of high school, university students and business people. Spain has undergone a major transformation in economic growth since the Barcelona Olympics and continues to be Western Europe’s fastest-growing economy. This has meant that more and more employers are requiring English skills from prospective employees, and business-specific academies have sprang up to meet the needs of multi-nationals seeking to improve the language skills of their employees.

Teaching English

Anyone wishing to teach in a state or private school can expect to have a degree, a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education and a TESOL qualification though you should check with your prosepective employer first.

With language institutes expect to find yourself teaching high school or university students. Specialized business schools aim to cater to the needs of large multinational corporations and in this sector any sort of business background is an advantage. Motivation to speak English is high and is still increasing due to the added number of E.U. countries that must do business with each other.

Getting a Job

When trying to get work in advance it is useful to contact the British Council in Madrid. They will be able to advise you as to where in Spain the British Council has offices. In general they keep a list of language schools, both private and state. In addition to that the on-line Yellow Pages should be searched using the term academias de idiomas. If in the UK, then consult the Guardian on Tuesdays, and other academic press, since it is not unusual to find Spanish positions advertised in the English press.

With this said, the vast majority of positions are filled on the spot, and, as ever in Spain, right at the last minute. The corollary to this is that timing is a very important issue. Most language schools shut for the summer, so September is a really good time to arrive and look for work. In addition to that there is often a spike of recruitment activity in January, when teachers fail to return to work. Month to month September to June there are constantly opportunities coming up, but in the summer you are best off doing what everybody else does, and head down to the beach.

It is a good idea, before setting off, to contact your local Spanish Embassy to see what materials they have available. Most consulates have a one page document entitled ‘Teaching English in Spain.’, and the consulate in the UK has a list of institutes, though it may not be up-to-date. It is worth contacting the Federation Espanola de Centros de Ensenanza de Idiomas (FECEI) which is an organisation of the better, more established language schools.

There is a recruitment agency, and Irish or British nationals with an undergraduate degree and a TESOL qualification may consider contacting English Education Services, Alcala 20 2, 28014 Madrid, Tel (91532 9734).

English language newspapers included The Metropolitan in Barcelona, and In Madrid, in Madrid. Not to be ignored is the vogue for Irish pubs that seems to have swept the nation. A good place to meet expats, and to find out what is going on locally in the English language world.

Visas and Regulations

Some state schools are not prepared to go through the difficult process of hiring native English-speaking teachers from outside of Europe. However, in some cases it is easier to place teachers from the US than from other countries, such as Australia and New Zeeland. Non-EU citizens should check with the Spanish consulate in their native country to look for language exchange programs, etc. Americans may wish to contact Interexchange,, of New York, who run an exchange programme.

Most individuals working for institutes are self-employed, or ‘freelance’. Therefore, they are responsible for paying their own tax and social security. New arrivals are required to register with the police, organise a bank account into which their wages will be paid, and get a tax number from their local tax office.

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