As an expat who’s lived in Spain for a number of years now, in terms of teachers, I’ve met three types of new arrivals:
1) those who use the excuse of teaching English in Spain as a sort of “paid vacation”
2) those who have come to be serious teachers
3) those who try to do both.
Those who try to do number three above are the ones who go home broke and crying in a few short months, and I will tell you why in a minute. For now, let’s try to figure out what kind of teacher you are and how, being this type, you can have a good experience teaching English in Spain.
1) If you come to teach English in Spain as a paid vacation, – in other words, you want to party and make a little money during the day – then make sure you realize this as a clear goal. Bring plenty of money (as much as if you didn’t have a teaching job) and be HONEST with your private students, telling them from the get go that you are in it for the very short term.
Otherwise, frankly…you’re an asshole. I’ve met this type of teacher before. “Paid Vacation” teachers tend not to tell their students that they are in if for the short term, thus screwing students who become accustomed to them (especially if they teach kids, who might even look up to them as role models) by taking off just like that when their party-money runs out. For the student, this situation is like constantly getting a new substitute teacher who doesn’t know them or their previous experience. Therefore, it makes it harder for them to advance their English level.
And of course, these teachers never take the time to prepare classes well in the first place. They’re the types who get to class 10 minutes late, ask for aspirin to control their hangover from the previous night, and try to wing the class.
So please, don’t be one of these teachers. You may have a good time wasting other people’s time and money, but you will be hurting people who are genuinely interested in learning a new language for many important reasons, for example, in order to be promoted or get a new job. So again, if you screw up their ambitions, you’re just an asshole, man.
2) Serious teachers – this is what you want to be if you want to teach English in Spain. Serious teachers do not come over here expecting some dramatic, idealistic, romantic sabbatical in a Mediterranean country where they will spend most of the time adjusting their beret while sitting in cafes, drinking wine, and nibbling on cheese (that kind of mentality will have you in tears – see number 3 below).
While there is certainly a good time to be had teaching English in Spain, remember, it is a JOB. You are coming here to WORK. You should also come to teach English in Spain realizing that it is not as common in this county to switch jobs frequently, so when you acquire a new student, they are expecting that you will be their teacher for more than just a couple of months before abandoning the country.
Serious teachers who strive to be real educators get the most out of their experience: they learn to feel comfortable speaking in front of groups, to act with authority, to give clear instructions, and to be creative and innovative in presentations along with a plethora of other benefits.
These teachers get recommended by word of mouth and become in demand, eventually earning much higher rates. This comes with great rewards, as Spain is a great country to live in if you have a little extra money to throw around. Let’s put it this way, if you are a serious, responsible teacher throughout the week, you deserve a typical Spanish weekend of staying up until dawn – just keep it to the weekends!
3) Finally, we have our disaster stories: people who have a romantic ideal of teaching English in Spain who come over not sure if they want to party, travel, work, or whatever. I’ve met many teachers like this who come start out with a TEFL course, teach part-time but not “too” much because they want to spend time traveling or they have the idea that “I didn’t come all the way over to work as hard as I did in Chicago.”
These teachers do not work the 20-25 per week hours you need to really survive (remember, you need to spend A LOT of additional time preparing classes). Rather, they teach a few hours a week, spend weekdays in the park before suddenly realizing, “shit, I’m outta money!”
These teachers then find themselves scrambling after any available private classes at unstrategic locations all around town – probably for lower pay. Having to work so hard to pay rent burns them out quickly, and I’ve met more than a few who went back home crying.
So remember, when you come to teach English in Spain, do it for the right reasons. They are, without a doubt:
1) To learn more about Spanish language and culture
2) To become the best teacher you can be while learning important skills for the future
3) To realize that teaching English in Spain does not pay anything near to what you are probably qualified to earn back home. However, that is not the point of teaching English in Spain. The point is ….
Well, you decide.
- There are no comments yet