Fair to say that any job has its pros and cons and language teaching is no different.
Teaching English in Spain can be a rewarding experience but it can also be a bit of a nightmare if you are not prepared for some of the challenges you'll have to face on a regular basis.
I teach English in-company in Madrid, Spain's capital and biggest city. It has a population of about 4 million and it's where all the action takes place. All the largest public institutions are here as well as most of the important companies.
That also means that it has all of the advantages and disadvantages that are associated with living in big cities - there are a lot of things to do and see but you have to put up with traffic, crowds, pollution, etc.
In the 20 years that I have been here I have never been out of work and it has not been difficult to find classes, either through language companies or on my own, so that would be one of the pros .
Con #1 - Public transport
If you are planning to come to teach English in Madrid, be prepared to spend many hours on public transport. Chances are you are not going to be living close to your work, so that means Metro, buses, or Cercanías (trains).
And if you are planning to teach in-company then you are going to become very familiar with public transport.
The good news is that public transport in Madrid is clean, efficient, and can get you from A to B fairly quickly. It's also reasonably priced. A monthly travel pass costs about 55 euros .
When I first started I would average about 2-3 hours per day on metro and buses. This was because I would work in different places all over the city.
It sounds like a pretty crappy job but I didn't mind it. I got to know most areas of Madrid well and it kept me fit. No sedentary lifestyle for an in-company English teacher in this city.
My work schedule back then was:
8am - 9.30am company class (Arturo Soria)
10am - 2pm Spanish army (Argüelles)
2.30pm - 4.30pm company classes (Arturo Soria)
6pm - 7.30pm company classes/private classes (Centre)
Typically, I would wake up around 6.30am, and get home around 8pm. They were long days but I got used to them.
Pro #1 - Plenty of free time
This is one of the biggest pluses you'll find teaching English in Madrid.
There are two main kinds of English language teaching in Madrid and Spain in general - company classes and neighbourhood language academies.
Company classes are usually the best paid but the schedule is normally first thing in the morning, lunchtime (2-4pm in Spain), and afternoon/evening.
So, a teacher quite often finds themselves with a lot of free time on their hands.
This is either a pro or a con depending on what you do with your free time.
Personally I like having time of in the middle of the day as you can do the shopping without the typical crowds.
I also use the time to plan and make videos.
However, I can understand that many people prefer to have a continuous work day.
If that is your case, I suggest you find work in a neighbourhood language academy that will normally give you block hours from 4 - 9 in the evening.
Con #2 - Long days
A lot of teachers I know have really long work days. 8am starts are common and your last private class could finish as late as 9pm.
The Spanish are really active from 6-10pm. Many shops and language schools close at 10, so be ready for that.
Pro #2 - Active social life
If you come to live in Spain get ready for an active social life. The Spanish are famous for their fiestas and their siestas and both go hand in hand.
Madrid is Spain's most liveliest city and you can find a party most nights of the week. When the weekend comes around, watch out.
Although most places close noways at 3am, you can alway find a place to kick on until the wee hours of the morning.
If going out at night is not your thing, then Spain's big cities are full of things to do during the day. Museums, galleries, monuments...the list of things to do is endless.
And don't forget the local town fairs. If you are living in a regional capital here in Spain, be prepared for 7 days of solid partying.
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Melanie Evans (Wednesday, 05 June 2019 10:55)
I am moving to Granada Province on a permanent basis from the UK at the end of July / beginning of August. I will be living in a town called Illora - 35 mins down the road from Granada. I would like to teach English in Granada or in the town where I will be living, if indeed there is any call for it there, and have decided to take the 4 week training course in Granada instead of doing it here before I go as I feel it will be much more rewarding that way.
My questions to you are 1: is there still a large demand in Spain for teaching English and 2: I am 51 years old and so would this be a drawback in finding work as most people doing it seem to be young and I notice that quite a few advertisements ask for a young person.
I have a BA (Hons) degree in Social Sciences that I took many years ago.
I would love to know your thoughts on this. My email address is email@example.com. I am very much enjoying your videos and podcasts and finding them very helpful and realistic.
Thanks very much.