I spend several months a year in Spain as it’s where my parents spend much of their time now that they’re retired. On one of my trips last year, I toyed with the idea of moving there and getting a job teaching English, as I have seven years experience doing just that in Thailand. So, I applied for various teaching jobs at schools and language schools in south eastern Spain and was soon surprised to see how easy it was to get a job offer.
If you too are wondering about getting a job in Spain, even in the current bad economy, follow these tips for how to get a job teaching English in Spain and you too may be surprised at how fast you get one.
Look for a job in country – During all the interviews I had while I was looking for a teaching job in Spain, I was told the language school or school only hired in country. What that means is, if you are trying to find a teaching job in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia or any other Spanish city and you’re doing so from your home back in the US or elsewhere in Europe, you’re not very likely to find one.
Just like Thailand, most Spanish schools prefer to hire in person rather than over the telephone or Skype, so you may find if you try to get a job while still in your home country you won’t even receive a response to your resume, let alone an interview or job offer.
Go door to door – I started out with the language schools that were in the towns closest to where I was living, within a 30 minute train ride or so. Professionally dressed and carrying a packet of information that included my resume, letters of reference, a copy of my BA degree and transcripts, and my TEFL certificate, I dropped off a packet at every language school I could find.
At some of them, I was able to speak to someone in charge. At others I was only able to leave my information with the receptionist but, out of all of them, five called me for an interview and three of those tendered almost immediate job offers.
Scour internet job boards – Another great way to find a job teaching English in Spain, particularly once you are already in country is to look at various internet job boards. One of my favorite online EFL/ESL job boards is at Dave’s ESL Cafe, one of the best known websites for EFL and ESL teachers around.
Don’t forget the newspapers – Every time I’m in Spain, I notice advertisements for native speaking English teachers in the local newspapers, whether they are the daily on sale version or the free press. Look at all the newspapers in your area for the latest advertisements, and don’t miss the free newspapers targeted at tourists and English speaking expats as there are often teaching jobs listed in those as well.
Look at any time of year – When I started looking for teaching jobs in Spain, I was surprised to read a number of websites recommending teachers only look for jobs at specific times of year – namely September and January, the peak hiring times. I didn’t job hunt during either of those months but had no problem in getting job offers. That’s because, while sure there may be more teaching jobs in Spain during peak hiring times, the competition for jobs is also much higher.
If, however, you look for a teaching job in Spain during times when less people are also looking, you may just find there are more opportunities. After all, teachers leave jobs mid-semester or language schools suddenly realize they have more students than they planned and not to hire an extra teacher.
Get TEFL certified – Finally, and the most important tip of all, if you do not have a TEFL certificate get one before you even think about going to Spain. That is because it was the first thing I was asked for at every interview and every language school told me they did not hire teachers who did not have one. Make sure you have one before you board that plane, and you should find yourself in a job teaching English within a couple of weeks of arriving.