7 Things You Didn’t Know About Teaching English in Spain
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Sunshine, sangria and siestas, what more do you want from life, am I right? It’s not really surprising that Spain is not only one of the top tourist destinations in the world but also one of the most popular countries to teach English as a Foreign Language.
In fact, you’ve probably considered moving there to be a TEFL teacher, haven’t you?
Of course, you have – we all have.
If you’re still weighing up your options before making a decision on where to go, have a read of these seven things you probably didn’t know about teaching English in Spain.
1. It’s not only Young Learners
Because Spain is not an English-speaking country you might be tempted to think you will find yourself teaching Young Learners in a state or private school. While that is most certainly a very real scenario in Spain, there are also a number of other TEFL options available to you.
There are tons of language schools dotted around the main cities in Spain. From Berlitz to the British Council to Wall Street there are bigger chain schools as well as smaller boutique schools. These schools offer after-school or holiday lessons to children and teens, but they also offer evening and weekend classes for adults. These students might need English for their jobs or because they want to live and work or study abroad, so they enrol in a language skill to improve their English or maybe take an exam.
Read more: What Job Can I Get with a TEFL Certificate?
2. You might be a teaching assistant
Many TEFL teachers in Spain are actually teaching assistants, or, more specifically, Language and Cultural Assistants. The Spanish Ministry of Education runs a programme that places Canadian and North American TEFL teachers in primary and high schools across the country as teaching assistants. While they are not the main teacher, they are still involved in planning and co-teaching the English lessons. They also help the Spanish teachers in other lessons.
Teaching assistants work 15 to 10 hours a week and earn between €700 and €1 000 a month. Their job is to help with the teaching of the English lessons, but also introduce cultural knowledge to Spanish students. In this way, the students will become familiar with the North American culture while also learning English.
Read more: Co-Teaching in the EFL Classroom
3. You can live with a host family
Many TEFL teachers come to Spain for the cultural experience and what better way to appreciate the Spanish culture than by living with a Spanish family. It’s quite a common practice, as many families agree to host a TEFL teacher in exchange for English lessons for the family. Your accommodation will be free – and possibly meals too – and while you won’t earn a salary you might be given a monthly stipend.
One of the benefits of a cultural exchange like this is you are not strictly speaking employed, so you don’t need to have a certain passport or the right to work in the country – a massive bonus to non-EU TEFL teachers. Also, living with a family is the best way to learn Spanish. If you are surrounded by Spanish in your daily life, it’s much easier for you to pick it up. But if you live alone there’s a good chance you’ll find friends who want to practise their English with you, which means you won’t be forced to use your Spanish. So if you are serious about learning Spanish and experiencing the true Spanish way of life, this is an option you should definitely consider.
4. Spanish students like to talk!
Of course, we try not to generalise but one thing you’ll notice immediately about your Spanish students is that they can talk the hind leg off a donkey. Teaching methods that incorporate participation and interactivity are generally preferred to note-taking and listening to lectures. This also means you might need to be mindful of controlling the lesson so you don’t get side-tracked too often. And don’t forget your sense of humour at home – Spanish students also love to laugh!
5. Punctuality is relative
Time is relative anyway, isn’t it? This is just something you need to accept and expect: your Spanish students are going to be late. Your lessons are going to run past their end time because they will probably start late. Students might arrive late for class and not be very apologetic about it. This is not something you can hold a grudge for, because, to be honest, it’s a losing battle, but rather just something you need to accept and incorporate into your planning. Having said that though, as the teacher you are still expected to always be on time!
6. Spanish is not always Spanish
You might already know that the Spanish spoken in, say, Argentina is different to the Spanish spoken in Spain. But did you know that many Spaniards speak more than one language? Castillian Spanish is the most widely spoken language in the country, but some Spaniards also speak Catalan, Galician or Basque, depending on where they live. Two other languages which are spoken are Aragonese and Asturian but these are not recognised as official languages. And while they are all unique languages in their own right, they are quite similar, so don’t be surprised if you can’t differentiate between them!
7. Siestas are a thing
It might sound too good to be true but Spain really does stop for a couple of hours every day to have a nap. Schools generally have a two-hour lunch break in which the students and the teachers can go home for a long rest, or they might start early and finish their day at lunchtime. You will find that many shops and restaurants close at that time too. On the flip side, nobody eats dinner before 8 pm – 10 pm – which means you’re in luck if you’re a night owl!
It usually doesn’t take much to convince someone to visit Spain. There are so many reasons that make living and working in Spain a very attractive option. Luckily for us, TEFL jobs are plentiful all over the country, so if you are looking for a Spanish adventure, there really is nothing stopping you.
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LAST UPDATED: 6th June 2022
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Personal information used for direct marketing
If we are using your personal information to send you direct marketing, you have the right to object at any time. If you exercise this right, we will stop processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes. However, we may keep your information on a “suppression list” to ensure your information is not added to any marketing lists at some point in the future.
Automated decision making and profiling
- ‘Profiling’ is the automated use of personal data held on a computer to analyse or predict things that have a legal effect, or other similarly significant effects, on the individual. Examples would include economic situation, health, personal preferences or interests and location. You have the right not to be subject to a solely automated decision (that is, a decision made electronically, with no human intervention), and this may include profiling (although there is no general right to object to profiling). If you are concerned the Everything TEFL Ltd has made a solely automated decision about you, you can object.
- Please note, Everything TEFL Ltd is allowed to carry out automated decisions with no human intervention where you have given your explicit consent to this processing (although you have the right to withdraw your consent).
- We are also permitted to make automated decisions with no human intervention in the following circumstances:
- The automated decision is necessary to enter into, or perform a contract, or complete a contract involving you and the Everything TEFL Ltd.
- The automated decision is allowed under a law passed at the European Union level, or at the level of the European Union or EEA member state level (i.e., is allowed under national law). The law will provide safeguards to protect your rights and freedoms.
However, you still have a general right to object in both of the above circumstances, providing reasons why you think the processing is having a negative effect on you. If you do object, we will carefully consider your reasons, and decide whether to review the decision-making process in your specific case.
Right to data portability
- If you have provided your information to Everything TEFL Ltd, you have the right to request and receive a copy of that information in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
- You also have the right to ask us to send the information we hold about you to another organisation.
- There are some situations in which the right to data portability does not apply. For further information, please contact us.
Exercising your rights concerning the processing of your personal information
If you wish to exercise any of the above rights concerning the way in which we process your personal information, please contact:
Risk Management Team
Everything TEFL Ltd
28 – 32 Pembroke Street,
Republic of Ireland
Telephone: +353 (1) 554 6227
Email: [email protected]
Your right to complain to a national data protection regulator (data protection supervisory authority)
- If you think we have processed your personal information unfairly or unlawfully, or we have not complied with your rights under GDPR, you have the right to complain to a national data protection regulator.
- Complaints about how we process your personal information can be considered by the data protection regulator.