Teaching English in Spain

Posted on January 19, 2009 by

Night view of Plaza Mayor, Madrid

While we’re on the topic of Making the Big Move, I thought I might share with you how I started teaching English in the saucy and vibrant capital of Spain, Madrid.

Sassy and spirited, Madrid is just like a sultry Flamenco dancer – full of energy, passion and thirst for life. Teaching English here gave me an insightful peek into the enchanting world of the Madrileños and a complete cultural immersion in the typical Spanish lifestyle of Fiestas, Paellas and Cervezas.

Enjoying a Paella


Teaching English is one of the most popular and accessible way of setting up a new life abroad, be it Japan, South America or anywhere else in the World. Almost anyone can do it- as long as you have a moderate level of education and speak English as your native language, AND you like your language! Truth be told, many fellow English teachers I know in Spain do not exactly enjoy the notion of teaching, but it gets them by and gives them a fantastic opportunity of getting to know the culture and spirit of a whole new world!

It might sound a little too practical for you to handle, but let’s face it, only 21.7% of Spaniards speak English, they’re more than happy practicing the language with a young native speaker, than facing a thick old textbook. They love getting to know you and your culture, and you in turn, get to learn more about their Spanish roots from head to toe!

It truly is the best way of cultural immersion and even, finding more about your spiritual self. Through my teaching days in Madrid, I’ve gotten to know my students very well – from Professional Executives in their 50s to hip fashionable teenagers, some have become my friends and taught me more about life than anyone else could.

How to get started:

  • Learn the language – It can get really tough not knowing Spanish in a country where pretty much nobody on the street speaks a second language.
  • Book yourself on the next flight to Spain! – Nobody really looks at your CV until they know that you’ve already moved here.
  • Brush up on your skills – Who can blame you for forgetting what ‘Phrasal Verbs’ or ‘Abstract Nouns’ are… Pick up the next Grammar book, and you’ll be on your way.
  • Get TEFL certified – Not absolutely necessary (I don’t hold a TEFL cert), but definitely helps you get an English-teaching job easily. It might cost you US$2000 thou.
  • - http://www.cactustefl.com/ – Teach English as a Foreign Language certification

When to go:

  • Anytime is a good time to go, there’s high demand for English teachers in Spain all year round, but peak period would be Summer.
  • Summer camps – best time to seek temporary teaching positions in Children’s camps
  • - http://www.lenguaventura.com/ – Fun and exciting experience to teach and explore

    Eastbourne Summer Camp
    *I had the best Summer while teaching in a Summer camp for Spanish teenagers, based in          Eastbourne, UK. I was lucky to get a generous remuneration and paid airfare, homestay and all meals.

Where to hunt for jobs:

  • Pick up English magazines (InMadrid) in cafés and bars for listings
  • Check out websites that provide potential job sources:
  • http://segundamano.es/ – the best online source for job ads – the Spanish ‘Craigslist’                http://www.mundoanuncio.com/ – everything from job ads to apt rental                             http://www.madridteacher.com/ – online English teaching community

How much to expect:

    The standard rate for Business English teachers are close to 15euros/hour. Try not to accept anything below this rate.

So now, armed with a bit more confidence, you’re all geared up to take this BIG step, what else are you waiting for except jump right in, to the extensive pool of English teachers in Spain?!

About Nellie Huang

Nellie Huang is the co-founder of WildJunket. As a professional travel writer with a special interest in offgrid destinations and adventure travel, she scours through the world in search for a slice of undiscovered paradise. In her quest, she's climbed an active volcano in Guatemala, swam with sealions in the Galapagos and built a school in Tanzania.

34 Responses to “Teaching English in Spain”

  1. Kate January 21, 2009 4:13 am #

    Hi there!
    I have always been playing with the idea of going to Spain and teach English.
    This article has tons of information!
    Thanks a lot!

  2. Emily January 21, 2009 8:45 am #

    I used to teach English is Spain, and I really enjoyed it! Madrid has got so much to do, and so much to see! Besides, my students were really fun and active, and made the classes interactive and enjoyable for me too.. I'm just thinking of going back to teach again…

  3. Gary December 11, 2009 8:02 am #

    Hi, i would totally recommend to anyone who is thinking of giving this a go. It's a brilliant way to earn money, see new cultures and meet great people along the way. My bother did his tefal in England and then moved out to Barcelona, he's still there 6 years later. He has really maked out a career for himself and now he's trying his hand at translation whichcan potentially provides a really good income. I thinking of getting on a course in the New Year, Car pa diem!!!

    • Michiel December 16, 2009 5:08 pm #

      see … this guy wants to do it – he can't even spell right, but sure, he's ready to teach … yeah, right!

  4. Michiel December 16, 2009 5:06 pm #

    yeah, i hear ya, but I'm actually living in Phuket, Thailand (lots of people teaching English here) and the average TEFL'r I've met so far is just a wannabee, a runaway, dreamers, anarchist etc. mostly people who just don't want to deal with reality … if i get somebody for an interview and I see TEFL in their resume I already get nervous … to me a TEFL on your CV is not a good sign

    you're right that having experience in another country looks good on a CV, as it usually means you are indeed let's say more mature, you haven broaden your horizon etc., but unfortunately the reality is many times just different …

  5. TEFL March 25, 2011 8:27 pm #

    Last time i was in Spain i just didn't want to leave the country. I have made such wonderful friends in Spain that i am just look for another opportunity to go back. :-(

  6. Delfina Mayette May 6, 2011 2:16 am #

    Hey I was just looking at your site in Chrome and the image at the top of the link wont show up right. Just thought I would let you know.

  7. Fedora May 19, 2011 6:15 pm #

    Every body dreams of teaching in Greece, Italy, France or Spain but except if you are an European Union (EU) citizen it is complicated to receive these positions. The additional frequent positions are obtainable in Eastern Europe in locations like Romania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Ukraine and Russia. These positions do not shell out quite nicely but they deliver lots of chance for travel although not teaching.

  8. Mathew March 22, 2013 11:41 pm #

    A work mate recommended me to this website. Thnx for the resources.

  9. tefl london February 19, 2014 7:28 am #

    Having a TEFL certification will certainly help you check out numerous locations of the globe. You certificate will certainly be accepted in colleges no matter where you go. You will be happy to constantly go to brand-new areas

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