Teaching English in Spain
It’s very rare to hear of ESL Teachers who have tried teaching English in Spain and who didn’t enjoy it. The ready availability of work combined with the rich Spanish culture, wonderful countryside and friendly population provides a lifestyle few teachers have difficulty fitting in with. In recent years Spain suffered particularly badly from the worldwide recession, but is now slowly recovering. Unemployment is still high, but Spanish businesses need English speakers and there is again a growing demand for English teachers.
Education programs vary regionally and are constantly changing, but all Spanish children are taught English in state schools. Formal language exams (e.g. Cambridge First Certificate) are frequently taken by university students and this drives a constant demand for private tuition. Outside of state tuition, there are plenty of opportunities to teach English in private language schools.
Qualifications and work permits
To teach English in Spain, non-EU nationals will need a work visa, and these are not always easy to arrange. In order to obtain a working visa to teach English in Spain you need to find an employer, a school, employment agency, or company, that will apply for your residency/working papers on your behalf.
Under current rules, the employer needs to demonstrate that a Spanish citizen or EU national is not available to do the job. This puts English teachers from the UK and Ireland at a huge advantage and means most employers are unwilling to invest time and effort into getting visas for non-EU teachers. Some schools will employ teachers illegally, without documentation, but this number is rapidly decreasing.
To work in the state system you need a degree, a TEFL certificate and experience, but many private schools will employ EU citizens on the basis of experience.
English teachers are not particularly well paid in Spain and salaries will vary according to qualifications and experience, and also regionally. In the bigger cities salaries of between €1000 and €2000 a month are typical, but in quieter areas they are likely to be around €1000-1200 a month. Living costs are predictably lower away from the major cities and, wherever you work, the payoff is the wonderfully rich and relaxed Spanish lifestyle. If you’re not out to save money, teaching English in Spain can be a truly enjoyable experience.