Living and Working in Spain
Spain has always been one of the most popular destinations for TEFL teachers. Most teachers head to the main cities of Madrid and Barcelona, but you will find language schools in many towns all over the country. Almost all recruitment is done locally, and most institutions require teachers to have either a Cambridge CELTA or Trinity CertTESOL as a minimum qualification. The main opportunities lie in teaching General English, Business English and Young Learners. The Cambridge exams are very popular, especially PET, FCE and CAE.
The academic year runs from October to June. In the summer, most schools offer summer courses or run camps in the countryside. Many classes run from Monday to Thursday with some work available on Friday. Also, as a first-year teacher, you may well end up teaching on Saturday mornings.
You could have a split shift timetable meaning that you work from approximately 8:30–10:00 am, a lunchtime shift of 2:00–4:00 pm and an evening shift of 7:00–9:30 pm. This can take some getting used to as your days are long and the travelling between classes can be tiring. However, once you have decided how to plan your free time between classes, you will have the benefit of being able to do that extra bit of preparation on the bus and get to the swimming pool when it’s less busy!
Expect to do around 20–25 hours teaching a week and earn around €1200 a month on average when you start out. This will increase after the first year, and you can supplement your income by finding private students.
The cost of living in Spain is still relatively low compared to other EU countries. However, the big cities are now more expensive. Expect to pay around €350–500 a month for a private bedroom in a shared flat in major cities. The Spanish lifestyle and opportunities for winter sports, travel, historic culture and the beach need no introduction. As an EFL teacher, you will not be wealthy but should find you have enough to enjoy what Spain has to offer. You will make enough to have a good holiday in the summer and live comfortably.
Comments from graduates
I will always think of Oxford TEFL with love. I am always happy to be a reference. After two years of teaching on exclusive resort islands in the Maldives, I am currently living and teaching in Madrid. I’ve been here for nearly a year and have taught many top-ranking officials in the Palacio Real and their children, in addition to the rich and powerful of Madrid. Unfortunately, those were contracted and while my boss was rich… I was not, by any means. With five years of teaching experience, I finally had the courage to go freelance and Madrid is a great place to do it. Some of my classes pay 35 euros an hour and are so much fun that they don’t feel like work. Life is a beautiful thing. Have a wonderful day! Saludos. – Willow Vanderbosch
I was concerned after completing the course that, as an American, I might be unable to find a job here in Barcelona. However, with the help of the careers service here at Oxford TEFL, I have secured some excellent teaching positions with good pay here in Barcelona. With their help, I am confident that I can remain in Barcelona for as long as I want. And, if I ever need help finding more work, I know that they will be here to guide me in my job search. – Mark Blohm
This is Steffi. Thanks for your update emails re jobs! I have settled in Valencia, and I love it here. I work in a small, friendly language school (I think their HQs are in Barcelona), I have small classes with 3 students max. and a very nice Director of Studies, who is helping me a lot settling into my new job. It is part-time, which is what I wanted, so there is space for being a musician. On Wednesday I performed in the Palau de la Musica accompanying a children´s choir… I live in a cool flat, a bit crazy and bohemian, and they don’t mind me practising—important! Anyway, hope you are well! Do give my kind regards to Anna and Jane and Violeta and Luke and Mark and everybody. – Stefanie Waegner
My name is Nicole Hooks and I completed the Oxford Barcelona course in July of 2006. I am still living in Barcelona and I am still teaching English. I have been teaching since I left the course and have really been enjoying it. As stressful as it can be at times, I really do love teaching English. The training and education that I received from Trinity have gone a long way and I really do value the course. I am constantly recommending the program to anyone who even mentions that they are thinking about teaching. I definitely think that I got my money’s worth and more. Cheers. – Nicole Hooks
I took the Trinity CertTESOL Course at Oxford TEFL in November 2007. After passing the course, Kate sent my CV out to over 100 schools. The next day I was inundated with job offers. I thought I would struggle to find work, but there are always hours going if you are prepared to look. I am still in Barcelona, now teaching at Oxford House and can see myself staying here for a while. – Darren Campbell